LeadU presents From Nowhere to Now Here


From Nowhere to Now Here

Autobiography in Five Short Chapters
I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in. I am lost. I am helpless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don’t see it. I fall in again.
I can’t believe I am in the same place.
But it isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there. I still fall in. It is a habit.
My eyes are open. I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

I walk down another street.

~ Portia Nelson

Chapter 1
From Nowhere to Now Here

If you could be, do, have, or become anything you wanted, who and what would you be? Most people have probably asked themselves that question at least once.

Caution, what comes next may be hard to swallow!

Chances are that if you were naturally suited to be, do, have, or become what you think you want, you would probably be doing it right now instead of reading this book.

So why are you reading this book?

Are you looking for that one miracle to solve all your problems, to make you a better person? Are you hoping that someone out there can tell you how to get the things you think you want out of life?

You might as well keep looking, for you won’t find those answers in this book. This book is a challenge. It is a call to stop looking “out there” for someone to tell you what to do and who to be and what to want, and to begin the journey of finding you.

You are probably thinking you’ve heard it all before, but keep reading. You’ll see that what’s in this book will shake the foundation upon which you have built during your life.

So many of us are driven by the belief that we can be anything we want to be or do anything we want to do, and should want that. That belief in its current form is mostly attributed to a theory of mind that was espoused by John Locke in the late 1600s.

Locke believed that our minds do not contain any innate knowledge when we are born; rather, we are “Blank Slates.” He suggested that all knowledge is acquired through experience (namely, our environment as we grow).

Centuries of interpretations of Locke’s ideas have resulted in a theory of human being that assumes every person is born with the same potential and that if only our circumstances (environment) and opportunities were right, we could be, do, have, become, or contribute anything we wanted — hence, we are Blank Slates, tabula rasa . . . to be written upon.

Yet, ideas resembling Blank Slate have been around for millennia. They’re even found in some of the world religions, which tell us that we are all alike, of infinite value before God, and infinitely held in God’s love.

@F-L-O-W™, short for Flawless Living Operating Worldview, does not call religious views into question. What may be the most important distinction we can make is . . . this condition of equality exists only in terms of God’s infinite regard for us, not as sameness of natural gifts and potentials.

The fundamental philosophy of Blank Slate became especially prevalent after World War I as emergent from the needs to program the illiterate into society. In the time since then, it has come to permeate our collective consciousness, as we are conditioned daily with some new aspect of this Paradigmatic Operating System (POS).

In fact, the Blank Slate paradigm is much like an operating system in computer language, it runs in the background and no one but the programmers see, and what’s more, use it. Yet, it is so much a part of the cultural fabric today that most of us unconsciously assume it to be true, irrational as it is in reality. We have been co-opted by a belief that leads most of us to value success over happiness, wants over needs.

It is an intuitive, often useful idea to think that if we just put our minds to something we can achieve it. No one wants to tell anyone that they can’t be, do, have, become, or contribute something. But have you ever given much thought to why you want the things you want in the first place?

In most cases we want what we want because it’s what society deems desirable, or it’s what other people have. Often, having it, or wanting it, confers social status and prestige or it makes us rich and powerful.

We constantly use other people to gauge our success and decide what we could, or should, be. In a world where we are judged by the house we live in, the car we drive, the job we hold, and the clothes on our backs, it is no wonder happiness and success are the most sought after but elusive states of our existence.

So what’s the problem?

Let’s start with the theory of Blank Slate. Did you ever play the game “telephone” as a kid? You know the one where everyone sits in a circle and the first person whispers something to the next person and so on around the circle until the last person says the phrase out loud?

By the time it gets around the circle, whatever was whispered at the beginning has been completely lost and some other “interpretation” has taken its place. This is what appears to have happened with Locke’s ideas about the human mind. Locke’s ideas have gotten lost in translation.

Locke, among others, recognized that there are differences in people with regard to how their minds work. There are no innate ideas “stamped upon the mind” Locke writes in An Essay Concerning Human Understanding (Book II [1:5]). Locke used the word “ideas” to refer to the things we think about.

In Locke’s theory, we have no innate ideas but we have “innate faculties which perceive, remember, and combine all the ideas that come to it from without.” In this sentence Locke acknowledges that people have innate “faculties” or inherent capabilities with which to think about ideas.

If we each have different inherent capabilities, then we cannot assume everyone having the “same” experience (the experiences that would shape them into happy and successful people), and therefore knowledge, we would all be able to use that knowledge in the same way!

We assume that knowledge is knowledge; that if we possess it, we can use it, and we can be anything we want. But, there is a difference between what we think we know, what we actually know, and what we can do with what we know — in all of us, a knowing-doing gap!

Over the past 50 years, because of the assumptions made by Blank Slate (BS), more and more people have found themselves having to trade what I believe is their ticket to innate happiness to get into a bigger game of success. You hear this bigger game analogy all the time!

This happens because we force ourselves, or try to force ourselves, to change to fit the life we think we want (or the life we think we should want based on our entrainment by BS) without knowing whether our deepest needs or intrinsic gifts are really suited to the life represented by those irrational wants plunked into our system by clever, albeit often well-meaning manipulators.

NOTE:You will be given the rest of Chapter 1 next week, or, of course you could just buy the whole book. smiley   https://livingatflow.com/book/

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    We hope you pick up valuable insights, ideas, and tools during this process, which you can use for your own development as well as your work and leadership with others.

    You, Me, and We @F-L-O-W

    Mike R. Jay is a developmentalist utilizing consulting, coaching, mentoring and advising as methods to offer developmental scaffolding for aspiring leaders who are interested in being, doing, having, becoming, and contributing… to helping people have lives.

    Mike R. Jay
    Leadership University

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