Embrace the fog of uncertainty.
“All the possibilities of your human destiny are asleep in your soul. You are here to realize and honor these possibilities.” ~ John O'Donohue
The great Scottish historian Thomas Carlyle once wrote, “Nothing is more terrible than activity without insight.” This is especially true today, as we grapple with the problems posed by continual change. Problems which make it difficult to foresee, let alone control, the near-term future.
In response, many leaders have taken an impulsive, fear-driven route. They ignore possibility and an inspiring purpose, and rely instead on machinations and command and control. And their people have naturally responded by going through the motions and camouflaging problems. There are no fresh perspectives, since a culture of fear stifles creativity and candid discussions.
I heard someone once compare a lack of organizational focus to hitting a thick fog while driving. We tense up and slow down. We become a two-fisted driver. We turn down the music and order people to be quiet. We lean forward to get a few more inches “out there,” looking for little markers to get us through the present “situation.” And what happens when the fog lifts? We relax and speed up to make up for lost time.
Well, here’s the problem: the fog is not going to lift this time. It’s now a permanent part of the business environment (kind of like South Scotland). You can either be timid and anxious and hope you “get there,” or you can embrace the fog, get the people on board, step on the gas, crank up the tunes, and enjoy the ride.
Which ride you choose is entirely up to you. I know which ride I’d choose.
Random information for June
* Ben and Jerry originally wanted to start a bagel company. The partners ended up in the ice cream business because they couldn’t afford a bagel machine.
* China’s greenhouse gas emissions are now higher than all other developed nations’ combined, according to a new analysis. In 2019 China’s share rose to 27 percent of the world’s total emissions—largely due to its heavy use of coal—compared with 11 percent for the U.S., 6.6 percent for India, and 6.4 percent for the 27 nations of the European Union.
* Kamala Harris will be the first US vice president to appear in Madame Tussaud’s. No luck with the Chucks—her wax replica will don the famous purple suit.
* Sweden is so efficient, only one percent of its garbage ends up in a landfill.
* New AI software from Veritone called Marvel.AI allows anyone to make a deepfake clone of their own voice. And so you know, a tiger did the voiceover for the MGM lion. The distinctive roar was added in the 1980s.
* A Japanese town spent ¥25 million ($228,000) in economic relief funds on a giant squid statue. Officials hope the cephalopod will encourage tourists to return.
* Americans believe social media does more to divide than unite. The sentiment cuts across party lines, a recent poll shows.
* Germs are cleaning Michelangelo’s sculptures. In the Medici Chapel in Florence, scientists and restorers are deploying bacteria to eat away at stains on marble sculptures.
* New Japanese vending machines sell only edible insects. The nine options include deep-fried or dried crickets, locusts, and silkworm chrysalises.
* Sufferers from post-traumatic stress disorder could get relief from MDMA, better known as the psychedelic Ecstasy. That’s the finding of a new study that involved 90 people with severe PTSD, including combat veterans, first responders, and victims of sexual assault.
* Microsoft makes $0 from selling Xboxes. Any profit comes from taking a cut of the games sold on its platform.
* JJ Abrams admitted that the last Star Wars trilogy could have benefitted from a plan.
* Taking LSD really does free your mind. The drug lets the brain make unexpected connections by weakening its means of filtering information gained from past experiences.
* Researchers found gut bacteria that can lead to Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. They also identified bacteria that counteract the effects of neurodegenerative diseases
* Brain implants allowed a paralyzed man to text his thoughts. A new technique taps into the cognitive signals associated with handwriting.
* A new bridge in Portugal will make you afraid of heights. The 1,700-foot (500-meter) structure claims to be the longest pedestrian bridge in the world, and, yes, it hangs over a canyon.
* Two whales were caught hugging. The rare display of affection was captured by a drone camera.
* An Australian politician must pay $1.2 million for ripping off a Twisted Sister song. The court just wasn’t going to take it anymore.
* Check out this beautiful odd couple.
Take a look
I’m often asked why I felt compelled to write my newest book, Your Brain on Story. I’ll often say something like, “To help people feel free to do what they really want to do with their lives. To live in a state of both peace and possibility.”
It strikes me as strange, but my response doesn’t really grab people. Instead I’ll get a shrug and hear, “Yeah, okay.”
Perhaps this short film will shake the shrug out of you and help you see what I see (and why I wrote the book).
I certainly hope so. And if it doesn’t, then here: amuse yourself. :)
Think about this
“You talk when you cease to be at peace with your thoughts.” ~ Kahlil Gibran
“I can’t be a pessimist, because I’m alive. To be a pessimist means that you have agreed that human life is an academic matter.” ~ James Baldwin
“Now that your worry has proved such an unlucrative business/
Why not find a better job?” ~ Hafiz
Please let me know if there is ever any way I can help.
And, as always, I value your feedback: email@example.com. Or use the contact form.
Until next time, be kind.
P.S. Read some excerpts from my newest book (here’s a recent review):
“Read this book carefully, and you will be challenged both psychologically and intellectually in a new and life-affirming way.”