The other day I read a really great article (long after it’s 2012 publication date) that talked about a phrase companies like Google and IDEO employ to get brains thinking creatively and collaboratively.
As in, we need a new solution and we are open to it.
We are open to big ideas, off the wall ideas. We’re removing the ‘dumb idea’ option from the table. Let’s think big.
Together. We’re building this together, inherently.
To this point, how might we foster spaces, dialogues, and communities that truly embrace the ‘how might we’ prompt?
… By asking it of ourselves every time something doesn’t work.
The dark side of individuality is the practice of acting as though our emotions are the only, or most relevant reality. If how we feel trumps everything else, we risk habitually convincing ourselves of a hugely selfish way of interacting with the world.
Our emotions are symptoms. They’re not “how things are.” And really, how could they be? Any one person’s emotions are the product of one intersection point with reality. It’s hardly consensus.
That said, what should our emotional symptoms tell us? What process should ensue as the result of noticing our emotions and unpacking their origins?
Perhaps the way we feel really isn’t that important.
Perhaps it has more to do with how our feelings affect the way we live. After all, two conclusions can certainly lead to two totally different actions.
If productive mental states open the door for productive realities, we could be well served by parsing emotional symptoms from the realities we ascribe to them.
We’re often looking to prove a hypothesis, or more aptly, a deeply held belief, as opposed to just letting the data tell us what’s going on.
That’s because we’re all biased in one way or another, and that’s not a bad thing, but it should color how we think about expanding our worldview.
What’s more, there’s no political leaning when it comes to people undercutting answers before they ever hear them. That happens on the left as much as the right.
We can find proof for anything, but is that really the point?
Only if planting your feet in wet concrete sounds promising.
“This just in…” is a phrase we hear every day. It both relates to the insanity of our 24 hour news cycle, and the rapidly increasing pace at which the universe expands and reveals itself.
As we think we have the full picture, there’s more to consider.
In that light, conclusions are really just springboards for more springboards.
And that’s precisely the suspicion held by those of us who’d rather not ask the next question. We’re timid in the face of uncertainty. We fear the possibility of receiving more than we bargained for.
But if we understand that we’ll never have the whole picture, we automatically make our work more focused and our lives more practical. We can look at everything as a test in which we’re open to the results, as opposed to hellbent on proving something.
Being willing to ask a question entails being prepared for the answer, but if springboards lead to more springboards, we risk a lot less.
And we stay on our feet.
- They never last.
- They never have.
- They close us off to people, ideas, places, and better ways of being.
Let’s be suspicious of our own conclusions. The future has a funny way of providing relevant data.
We’re all armed with stories… but maybe our stories should really disarm us…
We possess tales of caution, irreverence, disappointment, and victory. It’s that breadth that can make gaps hard to bridge.
Being honest with ourselves about our stories and the perceptions we bring to certain ideas, places, and types, can help decipher why we each play the role we tend to play.
If we’re armed with stories, the connotation is one of battle.
But our stories should do the opposite for us. They should give us a better understanding of our place in the world, not a default reaction to provide.
Our stories don’t yield the universal truths we so often like to ascribe to them, but they do tell us something about ourselves.