Saturday, November 28, 2009

Controlling the Flow

"I don't like your rules, so I'mma make my own!" is the statement many of us harbor when confronted with situations that don't mesh with the beliefs we hold dear, whether it's business or personal matters. We often either rebel against these things by not performing them, or go along with them and hope that the flow caries us towards what our heart desires. As those who travel either path know, that often leads us even further away from what we want than where we began and hones thoughts of doing the opposing option, repeating the process and increasing the distance. From what I've learned, the way to make your hopes into something tangible is not going with the flow, but to have the flow go along with us. In doing so we add not only our energy towards achieving an end, but also the energy of the forces besides us, ready to push forward and make things happen. For that to take place, though, the initial reality must be accepted, that we cannot control every single detail within our life and must relinquish such things to time and nature.

There are many versions of the saying "Different strokes, different folks" but most of the time we do not see the message lying behind them all: Their work plan may not go with the way our's functions, nor would they want to change it, so it can. Because of that, countless moments of friction build up take place, and countless opportunities are lost to work as one and create a better world for all involved. The line between inner and outer control is a razor thin one we walk every single day, and to walk that means letting bit of tension flow away from us, in order to walk precisely, yet calmly towards the place we wish to be. In the world we live, this means putting all pettiness concerning opposing view points and approaches fall to where they belong:  in a bottle that's thrown to the sea, to wash away with the tides. That process begins by speaking to the people we oppose and working out the best way the two worlds can function together and create something that benefits all involved.

The greatest leaders of our time are seen as people who made their belief known and imposed on a scale previously unseen or unheard of at that point in time, and in my view that's not particularly true. Rather, I think they took the desires of the people around them and channeled them into their own, thus letting people connect with them on a deeper level and adding fuel to grow their fire. That much, I believe, is the key to both enabling and continuing the creation of the kind of world we envision; common beliefs are what let so many different kinds of organizations grow onwards in influence, in power and in size , after all. Why not harness that same power, and the world and everything in it come rushing to you, instead of you pursuing it as the greyhounds pursue the mechanical rabbit they will never catch? There's a reason the most idiotic seeming bosses can control people clearly smarter, more skilled and overall better than them, and the moment you realize that reason, the path of a world full of amazement and fulfillment can take root and grow.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Taking the helm of a ship among the waves

One of the most telling things about a person's future is how they conduct themselves when something goes awry and everything is pulling them in every other direction, thanks to no one being sure of what they plan was. It's under these situations adults are sifted from the children and brought to the forefront to help guide people back to the place they should be. This applies not only to personal matters, but professional and academic as well, and is something rarely taught by something other than life. It's often the case that life itself presents us these situations from out of the blue to test our mettle and have us show the world the stuff we're forged from, and whether or not it can withstand the kind of pressure present in everyday society. Recently, one of those moments came to me, in the form of my Japanese class. 

Last week the entire class was discussing when we should take the big test, and all of us agreed to the following Thursday, teacher included. What absolute none of us realized, was that the next Thursday was Thanksgiving, and that school would not be in session that day. The next Tuesday the teacher came in and announced she made a mistake, and that we were to take the test that day, with the fact that none of us were expecting it to happen so soon. There was much uproar within the classroom about this fact, and some were so upset that they actually began to cry. Some people wanted to delay it to next week, but the teacher said she wanted to do it today, and guarantee that everyone would pass, but if everyone wanted it next week, they would get it without the pass guarantee. Given how much this whole mix up and subsequent actions has affected everybody, I decided that it should be the class choice of where we go next. 

I, and one other held a vote on what we should do next, and by a overwhelming majority of 18-5 went with the initial option of doing it that day, under the condition every single person would be guaranteed a passing grade at the bare minimum, as she promised(unsurprisingly, the minority was the same few slackers who manage to consistently fail on the test and cannot see the beauty of having a GUARANTEED PASSING GRADE). I was so angered by the mix up that I decided I would get the results in writing and have the teacher sign it so no one could complain about the decision or debate it further when results come back. Since I had been drilling myself on getting the class homework done, the test came off as much easier than I had anticipated, and I ended up going home early, but for the rest of the class, I was glad to have given them the chance to decide their fate and choose the ultimately better option. It's this kind of take charge leadership I plan to take with me in my personal ventures, where my crew needs me to sheer the ship where it needs to be, wherever that may be.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Closing the Mouth & Opening the Ears to See the Heart

At some point in time, all of us face a moment of critical peril, where everything we know and cherish is put up against the fire. Having both seen people in this state and visited this place many times, one thing is always clear: the thing most needed isn't advice or being told where to go next. but to know that someone is there to simply sit and listen. Though I've known this well for many years, it's something I still relearn in new ways each time I come across someone in their hour of need. Truly understanding someone does not mean reading through information they may have put up here and there, then using that as a base for your actions; that information is static and can quickly become irrelevant as a person goes through their day and discovers things that could very well change their life. On the contrary, the best way one can understand another is to let the person simply tell it to you as they see it, and then seeing their world through their eyes.

Whether it's between a Psychologist and their patient or a child speaking to their parent, the most essential element to aiding the emergence and growth of the person during these times is trust. With it there the person feels they can communicate more freely and entrust them with the core of what troubles them, where then there may be a chance to show them something better or help them better understand themselves. The opposite of this occurs when that's broken either by telling others about it without consent, or not listening to them and merely spouting off random bits of wisdom in an attempt to guide them through hard times, both of which erode the rapport built up and break down lines of communication. No one ever likes to be judged or be treated like a machine can be fixed by approaching the issue in a prescribed manner learned through books and training, and doing so only further alienates people from one another. What people value most are those who would give them the opportunity to speak without being interrupted or judged, then, through understanding and careful guidance, being granted the tools need so they can do it on their own, and craft their own path.

These things are never easy for others to learn, and I frequently encounter new subtleties and variations to these age old ways. With that said, even the attempt to do such things lets other people how much you regard them, and grants them a greater measure of worth as a human being, something many of us needs reminders of now and again. Books have been, and will continue to be written about how to help people and what they should do about their concerns, however even the best of those can only offer basic advice to others about their specific troubles and concerns. There will never be a one size fits all solution to every person's individual issue, but through listening we can come to better know the person and how to best help them approach the situation. Listen to the person and be curious about the person and their concerns; don't tell them 'I'm listening' show them. In that, the process of healing and understanding can truly take place and begin to blossom in the hearts and minds of those involved