Posts Tagged ‘philosophy’

As the Paradigm Shifts #Q: Question Reality

by Rosie Kuhn on August 10, 2011

I read on the back of a car many years ago a bumper sticker that read “Question Reality!” Up until that time my life had been a mish mash of confusing circumstances, and it was a revelatory experience to take these two words deeply into my soul. I breathed deeply and felt as though I’d been given a sign that there was light at the end of the tunnel.

At this same time, the context of my life did not include any mechanisms, supports or guidance that would allow me to take on questioning reality as an overt practice. My parents raised me and my siblings as Catholic. It was a sin to question anything or anyone regarding the authority or truth of what was to be believed.

My context as a female in Middle America also didn’t allow me to ask questions that would potentially ruin my identity as a calm, submissive woman who could be wise but not too intelligent.

Going off to college gave me the opportunity to explore and witness realities lived by other people, however I continued to interpret these different ways of being based on what I still held as right, wrong, good and bad. At the same time, most of the preliminary courses in undergrad were taught by professors who also disallowed the questioning of the reality they were presenting.

Perhaps, all of these obstacles presented to me early in life provided opportunities to covertly practice the art of questioning reality. The value of that is that I wasn’t able to seek the wisdom of others to tell me what was real or true, so I had to do the research and experiment on myself. Today, in the field of research design, this form of study is called heuristic investigation. Here’s how Wikipedia defines Heuristic: “Greek: “Εὑρίσκω”, “find” or “discover”) refers to experience-based techniques for problem solving, learning, and discovery … This method includes using a “rule of thumb“, an educated guess, an intuitive judgment, or common sense.

What do you do when the world is presenting you with a reality that isn’t connected to common sense? What most of us do is conform and contort ourselves as best we can into the context of reality that is in front of us, rarely questioning or using educated guesses, intuitive judgment or common sense.

As the paradigm shifts, we see the dissolving and dissolution of the foundation of our economic reality. What do you make of that? We see the premier leaders of our financial, religious and governments fail to maintain systems that are literally bankrupt in their principles and practices. How do you make sense of that?

In the world of business – the buying and selling of goods and services, questioning reality means dismantling the whole kit and kiboodle and re-inventing based on reality; but first you have to question reality!

A year ago, I choose to end the transformational coach training program. I had designed and facilitated this program for 10 years in the Bay Area, in California. My intuition had been guiding me towards this for years, but I was finally ready to make the leap. While discerning the common sense of this decision it seemed totally irrational and illogical. This program had been my bread and butter. I’d developed a reputation and people were flying in from all over the country to participate in this one year training. What would possess me to give all of that up? Logic and reason were not the major players in this process, and I could do nothing else but question reality. Over the course of this past year I questioned everything and hardly recognize the me that I’ve become. My anxiety is virtually gone; I’m far more calm and peaceful, I laugh far more often and the work I bring into the world is fulfilling. I love it!

A House of Cards

It’s becoming too obvious that there is a dismantling of reality as we’ve known it. And, you’ve heard me say this before, but I’m going to say it again: You are required to play the game. You, me and everyone else in the Western World have built this house of cards we call our reality. Generations of individuals over hundreds of years have brought us to the last cards of the deck. It has culminated into this wonderful masterpiece. And, now, it’s time to dismantle the house either with deliberate consciousness or with a deliberate whack from the proverbial two-by-four. (Don’t you love it when the cards go flying all over the place?)

What I’m wanting is for you to question how you are being in relation to this current reality you call your life and your work? What intentions are being served by your current use of what you consider to be common sense? What flies in the face of this current reality that you hope will go away if you ignore it long enough?

I don’t know if we’ll be saving the planet. I don’t know if we can change the foundations of the current structures that have us think that we are safe from vulnerability. Earthquakes, real and metaphorically have shaken the very ground of being of reality as we’ve known it. Fractures, cracks, fissures leave us dumbfounded with where to begin. Tsunamis, real and metaphorically have washed away the shelters, vehicles and the livelihoods we’d depended upon. What is the reality that exists once we realize that it’s all gone?

Nothing Matters and What if it Did?

People with faith (not faith as in religion but faith as in people who put complete trust in a higher power) have something that is the true foundation of reality. I have no doubt they have questioned the reality in front of them and decided that there is a reality that holds this one in the palm of its hands. They are able to hold the bigger picture and make choices based on this larger paradigm. These people usually share kindness, generosity and compassion effortlessly. Their values dictate choice-making based on spiritual principles instead of social and institutional mandates. They live in integrity and dignity and are accountable for their commitments. Some of these people are my clients and they are managers, CEO’s and COO’s of businesses and corporations around the world. I’m learning from them that to question reality infuses the world with an innovative, higher minded reality that, if nothing else will allow them to empower others to fearlessly question reality. This is how every invention and revelation has come about. Why stop now?

Flexible Focus #59: The 8 Frames of Life: Learning

by William Reed on June 30, 2011

Learning is for Life

In the Mandala Chart, the 7th Frame of Life is Learning. The problem that has plagued both students and educators from the beginning of time is that learning is hard to come by. It doesn’t seem to stick very well. Perhaps this is because learning is often imposed on us more or less by force. The lucky ones discover that learning is not for school; learning is for life.

Learning by doing is the shortest route to retention. Once you learn to ride a bicycle, you will still be able to do it even ten years later without any practice. However, it is likely that you have forgotten most of what you learned for tests in school, often within hours of taking the test! The reason for the difference is contained in proverbial Chinese wisdom,

“Tell me and I’ll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I’ll understand.”

In his book, Outliers: The Story of Success, Malcolm Gladwell gives numerous examples of what he calls the 10,000-Hour Rule, for which he claims that the key to success in any field is largely a matter of extensive deliberate practice. It certainly makes sense in fields like music or the martial arts, but turns out to be true in just about anything we call talent. Even those gifted with a natural genius often turn out to have been at it in one form or another since they were small children.

Clearly though, it is not just a matter of clocking in 10,000 hours, or we would all be geniuses in our field after just 5 years of work experience. It isn’t about hard work, which is another word for hard won experience. It is the quality of experience and engagement that makes the magic happen.

You have already experienced mastery in speaking your mother tongue, for which 10,000 hours is the equivalent of deep engagement for 10 hours a day by the age of 3. Communication is central to most of our needs and wants, so we master it quickly to survive. And yet a lifetime is not enough to really master the art of communication.

The best way to increase your learning is to increase your engagement, and for this it is helpful to have a framework to understand the levels of engagement. As shown in the illustration, engagement occurs on the horizontal axis of depth, as well as on the vertical axis of involvement.

The deepest learning comes in performance as a player, where you fully physically engage. If you only engage mentally, that is as a spectator, you may enjoy and you may learn, but it will be passive and less likely to stick. Learning by doing starts by engaging the body in practice, and ultimately leads to mastery through performance.

The two axes meet with Art, which can also be understood as technique, or the knack of doing something well. This is the sweet spot in learning, where Mind and Body are joined.

Accelerated Learning

Much of what has been written about accelerated learning only brushes the surface of this process. While it is true that people retain more when they use imagery and visual thinking, this is only the beginning of engagement, and only one of the senses. Learning increases exponentially when you engage deeply, which is why it is easier to learn a foreign language if you live and work in a country where that language is spoken.

What if you do not have the luxury or option to engage in full immersion by moving to a foreign country? Can you still accelerate your learning of a foreign language through deeper engagement?

You could start by making a Wish List on what you want to do in speaking a foreign language. This will help you become very clear on why you want to speak that language, so that you can begin to think about how you will achieve it. If your wishes are vague, you are unlikely to take any action steps toward your goal, and the result is that you will learn little or nothing.

You don’t need to jump right into the deepest level of performance. Instead look for ways to increase your level of engagement in each of the quadrants, always mindful of what Art or technique can help you get more actively engaged.

You could start by enjoying the food and cultural events related to the language, and available where you live. If you can’t attend language classes, there are more options online and through Smart Phone Apps, than you could find excuses for not doing.

Deep learning occurs when you engage muscle memory, and the only way to do that is to practice. Of course, you will get better results if you engage in high quality practice, with good models and good coaching. The final hurdle is that the only way to get better at performance is by doing it. So practice as if you are performing, and perform as you practice.

You can also shorten your route to engagement by following one who has already mastered it at a high level. Learn from a master linguist such as Michel Thomas, whose client list is a gallery of celebrities, diplomats, and executives, all of who needed to perform at a high level. The Michel Thomas Method has been captured on CDs for many of the world’s languages, and it takes you right into the highest level of performance and engagement from the first hour, using no text book, no memorizing, no note taking. Just stimulating guided engagement with the language with the master himself.

If you search, you can find masters of their craft in almost any field imaginable. Use the Mandala Chart to organize your strategy, and you will fluent in that craft in no time, and more passionate about learning that you could have imagined.