“Living is a process of regrounding ourselves. How can we reground ourselves and in what, where, whom?”
When I came across David Bowie's philosophical interview, it put context and dimension around his list of must-read books. Conversations have the power to do that.
Leadership coach and friend Constance Goodwin says:
As human beings we spend a lot of time talking….are we having conversations? In my view, something that generates or engenders transformation or a transformative atmosphere is a conversation. We articulate our conversation through language; our thinking takes place in language. Yes, as a dancer/athlete/artist/businessperson, I am intimately familiar with non-verbal communication, and yet those inputs are made sense of through language, through their symbolic linguistic representations.
In a conversation we had early on, we discussed how we are more or less familiar with the distinction between talking with someone and talking at someone. In some cases, it is tempting to be formulating a response to what a person is saying while that person is speaking to us. The question was:
What do you think are the causes that take people away from focusing on the conversation they're in?
We get attached. Fundamentally, we like our thinking, our reactions, our conversations with ourselves. It could range from a mere preference all the way to cognitive narcissism. And, people may not realize what the conversation is…
That is also a basic role of leadership. Leaders should be defining the conversation. First, do you know the conversation you are in, and secondly, what it the conversation that is necessary to forward a strategy, an initiative, a meeting, a proposition, a relationship? Are you talking symptomatically or are you conversing fundamentally?
Actually, people might consider defining the conversation and the content will follow. Generally, the content distracts the conversation. How many times do we actually ask: what is this a conversation for… before we start talking. Hmm….
Have you ever been in a conversation and found yourself counterpointing everything that is said? Whether you actually say anything is not the point, but you can hear yourself saying…” but don’t you think…or she didn’t do that as well as he did, or I did that as well as she.” I would say that you are seeing or listening from argument.
Could you consider listening/seeing from someplace else? Inquiry perhaps? Or have you ever heard yourself saying…”this is not what I expected”; consider that you might be listening from resentment waiting to be manifested. Fundamentally, do you know the conversation you are in inside any conversation?
Are we paying attention and what are we focusing on? Is our curiosity engaged?
In a twist of fate, why we believe weird things became post number 3,000 on Conversation Agent just shy of ten years of writing here. A very apt topic —believing one can make a difference by talking and thinking together about important ideas, thinking out loud, linking to resources was (a well-documented) a leap of faith.
As with everything, it worked in some ways —in the early years the comment thread was very active— it can be better in others. It has been a learning and fluid experience, as engaging today as it was ten years ago.
What is after 3,000? Where to from here?
We're fascinated with the question of “what's next,” yet we spend so little time appreciating “what is now.” Which goes well with us spending so much time “connecting” in all kinds of ways, yet so little of it engaged in a good conversation.
Why “where from here?”
This is still here and now, and much to learn about so we can continue to reground ourselves, as Constance says. In line with this thinking, the level of posts and diversity of topics will continue to evolve.
Learning Habit issue 62 is going out Sunday with a digest of recent thinking, what I'm reading, along with a curated list of articles and resources for making sense of different perspectives and issues. Topics range from business, technology, culture, creativity, philosophy, psychology, and more. It is an exploration of the connections between the arts and the sciences and how they enrich our lives.
As we debate the role of technology in our lives and whether they help us connect or make us feel dis-connected, we are also facing an enormous shift in the types of jobs of the future —near and longer term. It's hard to pin-point exactly which jobs we'll have, aside from those we are creating right now.
Thus the idea is to become whole in our thinking, no matter where we work.
The everyday benefits of this approach include learning to ask better questions, expanding our imagination to apply to problem solving, and appreciating empathy to build a shared understanding.
We hear about the value of agility, flexibility, and creativity in our work. We can learn to navigate the uncertainty of context by grounding ourselves in a core set of values and principles we can use to be resourceful and resilient in the face of volatility.
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