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Posts tagged quotations
Two quotes on HA‘AHA‘A, the value of humility
William Temple, once the Archbishop of Canterbury:
“Humility does not mean thinking less of yourself than of other people, nor does it mean having a low opinion of your own gifts. It means freedom from thinking about yourself at all.”
and from Frederick L. Collins:
Always remember there are two types of people in this world.
Those who come into a room and say, “Well, here I am!”
And those who come in and say, “Ah, there you are!”
Taken from: In search of the ultimate freedom
More on HA‘AHA‘A as a Hawaiian value is here.
David Allen: “The way out is through”
The way out is through
The heat is on. I’ve been noticing that the stress factor at senior levels in organizations is increasing. My coaching with executives lately has uncovered an increasing number of agreements that are real, but largely not consciously acknowledged or kept. We’re giving ourselves so much to do, and we’re taking on so much of what we expect others are expecting of us, that it would be virtually impossible to do even a portion of what’s on our plates.
Most of you reading this don’t even have time to finish to perfection your current set of projects, even if you stopped the world from giving you anything new, and you had several months or even years within which to do them.
It’s strange, but I work with people to define the work they are not doing. Unfortunately the resulting ambiguity of just halfway assuming responsibilities and commitments with ourselves and others, or just halfway clarifying and understanding what they mean and what needs to be done about them, won’t cut the pressure in half—it doubles it! So much of what people are feeling these days is the pressure to get things done, but there is universal resistance to defining precisely what that commitment and that work is. We have to really focus and think (which requires energy often in short supply) to clarify and define the outcomes and actions needed, on each and every thing that we might need or want to do.
You can only do one thing at a time, so at any point in time there is going to be a huge backlog of “work.” Much of what we must do, to gain comfort and control in our knowledge-worker worlds these days, is clarifying what all that work is, objectively, in a format that provides an easy overview. We must continually renegotiate those commitments with ourselves and with others; and that’s impossible to do, unless they’re captured, clarified, and organized in some systematic way outside our psyche.
There’s an old Gestalt theorem—the way out is through. Defining what we could do, and what we are doing right now instead—managing the triage strategically with ourselves and others, is a key component of managing ourselves and our workflow these days. You can only feel good about what you’re not doing when you know what you’re not doing. We have to loosen the grip of unclear agreements with ourselves to be free to follow our intuitive hunches and creative focus.
There is no catching up. There is only catching on.
Relevant Reading at Talking Story:
On the Art of Civilized Conversation
Within a book by Margaret Shepherd:
One person walks into a café, sits down to a cup of coffee in silence, finishes it, and goes back to the same old day. Two other people walk into that café, sit down to two cups of coffee, have a good talk - and go on their way with fresh energy, comfort, and insight. Simply by connecting them, conversation has changed them. And that’s the definition of art. Civilized conversation is an art that transforms everyday life into something richer. It can engage your mind, excite your imagination, and expand your view of the world.
…civilized conversation is the Swiss Army knife of social skills that anyone can learn to use. Take it with you wherever you go, and you’ll be equipped to turn a seatmate into a confidant, an interviewer into an employer, and an acquaintance into a friend. As an accomplished conversationalist, you’ll be welcomed everywhere; everyone loves a good conversation because it is FUN.
…conversation lets you be an artist every time you open your mouth - or shut it. As Robert Louis Stevenson said, “The most important art is to omit:” the key to being a master conversationalist is to listen as much as you talk. Just as the other arts include pauses in a dramatic play, white margins around printed text, and space between a singer’s phrases, conversation is about silences as well as about words.
…good conversation is classy, humane, practical, universal, and, when well done, seemingly effortless. It can also be defined by what it is NOT - civilized conversation is not the same as reciting, confessing, negotiating, scolding, or interviewing. It does not involve notifying, debating, or issuing orders, nor does it include baiting, shouting, hurling personal insults, contradicting, grandstanding, or interrupting. It does not require a referee. It is most surely not what people hear on may television and radio talk shows: that is performance art of particular emptiness, and the worst example of how to converse.
…good conversation rarely occurs when one party is not paying reasonable attention. In fact, courtesy is crucial to the very existence of a civilized exchange. By that I don’t mean that you must always trot out the proper protocol or the perfect words, but you must connect somehow with the other person.
Agha Hasan Abedi via Marcus Buckingham