Posts Tagged ‘WYSIWYG’

Flexible Focus #48: The Principle of Initiative

by William Reed on April 7, 2011

“With a brain in my head, and feet in my shoes, I can steer myself any direction I choose.” ~Dr. Seuss

What you see is what you get

One of the central insights of the Mandala Chart is that the world we see is actually the world as we see it, not a fixed reality to which we must succumb. While we share the same space, we do not see or experience it in the same way. Things do not look, feel, or taste the same when you are in love, as they do when you are broken hearted, because your heart and your mind are the lens and filter through which you see the world. Reality is subjective, but pliable. What you see is what you get. We are all co-creators of our world.

Your disposition determines whether you see the world in a positive light or cast a pall of darkness. This creates the quality of your experience, and it influences the experience of others with whom you share that space. In this way, some people  have the power to brighten a room and make others feel good, while others can sap the energy from the place itself.

That is why we choose the company of some people over others, choose to live in a certain city or work in a particular place. Sometimes the people we spend time with and the places we inhabit drain our energy instead. When that happens, we can succumb to it, get away from it, or choose to make a change from our own initiative.

Be proactive at the Edge

Interesting things happen at the edges. This is where we enter new territory, where you get the cross-fertilization of ideas, where cultures meet and discoveries happen. An edge is not just the outer limit of something; an edge is also an interface to something else.

The Mandala Chart also represents an edge, a bridge to a new way of seeing the world. That alone gives you an edge, compared to someone who is stuck in their perceptions. The word for edge in Japanese is 縁 (en), which is also used to mean connection, and in Buddhism it is the bridge between cause and effect.

When the West first encountered Eastern thinking in India, some people had the impression that the tone of the religion and culture was fatalistic, based on the misinterpretation of karma as some kind of predetermined destiny or fate. However, the word karma is better translated as work, or the action you take at the edge, which intervenes with and changes the direction of previous causes, leading to effects which are anything but predetermined.

A saying has it that there are three types of people, those who make things happen, those who watch things happen, and those who wonder what happened? Think of this as people who live at the edge, people who live away from the edge, and people who have lost their edge.

The Mandala Chart Principle of Initiative is about being proactive at the edge, being a player rather than a spectator. How you experience the game depends a great deal on whether you are out on the soccer pitch or sitting in the spectator stands.

The more you see how much there is to be done, and how much you are able to do, the less sense it makes to worry or fret over circumstances. What sense does it make to wring your hands, when you can go to work on your plan?

Pygmalion Effect

Pygmalion was a sculptor from Cyprus in Greek mythology who fell in love with a female statue he had carved of ivory. In the story his love brings the statue to life. The Pygmalion Effect is the name given to a seminal study in the psychology of education, in which it was discovered that students frequently performed to the level of expectations of their teacher, regardless of their abilities. It is also known as the self-fulfilling prophecy.

To paraphrase Henry Ford, whether you think you can or cannot, you will prove yourself right. And many people in the world of Positive Psychology would agree. The challenge is that it isn’t always easy to believe that things will work out, when negative circumstances are staring you in the face. The key is, don’t stare back!

Realizing that the world is as we see it gives you a fundamental change in perspective. You can use the Mandala Chart as a lens to change your focus, see deeper or farther, and select that which you want to focus on, so that circumstances become your servant, rather than the other way around. You don’t want to end up a slave of circumstance.

The Pursuit of Happiness

Many cultures have stories involving the pursuit of happiness, often symbolized as the Bluebird of Happiness, for its bright and happy associations, and for its elusive flighty quality. These stories start with a search far and wide for the elusive bluebird, and end with the realization that happiness was within them right from the start.

Variations on this theme abound, from the story of the Prodigal Son to the Wizard of Oz, in which there is no place like home. These stories are parables, metaphors for our journey, not advice to stay put and bloom where you were planted. Regarding the pursuit of happiness, Abraham Lincoln said it best, “People are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” That was good enough for him, and it is good enough for you and me.

With the music in your heart, you have a good place to start.