Wednesday, 3 January 2007

glass houses

It is said that fish are the last ones to recognise water. In the same way, we are the last to recognise the glass walls that constrain and contain our own lives. Consider:

“This is how we do things around here” is a glass house that contains our thoughts and our actions.

“I really need to be accepted by other people” is a glass house that inhibits self-expression.

“I have a rational explanation for it” is a glass house that limits our experience of life and the world.

“Oh, get real!” is a glass house that constrains our dreams + aspirations.

We spend every minute, of every day, thinking and, saying and, doing things that reinforce our glass houses. And if we do, perchance, happen to come across a different point of view – one that doesn’t fit, neatly inside the glass house – we chuck it.

The effect of this on the human spirit has been devastating. Inertia is commonplace, with most people feeling stuck-resigned to the fact that nothing will ever really change. We complain that life is no longer an adventure. Many people are dissatisfied with important things in their lives, even in the face of their successes.

The effect of this on business has been startling. Mediocrity and conformity is applauded and rewarded, with few people willing to really stick their necks out. Organisations have become a sea of sameness, where everyone thinks and behaves professionally and no-one thinks and behaves differently. Work for many has been reduced to a white-collar factory.

Fortunately, the glass house is not shatterproof. People are hungry to be challenged, self-expressed, and fulfilled. I have dedicated my work to throwing stones in the glass house. And while a stone thrown somewhere sideways and slightly upwards wouldn’t necessarily bring the whole house down, it might cause a tiny crack. Which, in time, might be the cause of a much larger and longer crack.


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