3 Reasons Why Writers Should Know About the Distinction Between Theory and Practice

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Alright, so I’m making my way through some Medium stories, and I get to this one, Meditation Is a Terrible Strategy for Self-Improvement, by the Cut.

As some of you know, I started practicing meditation about three years ago; taught to me by someone that spent 15 years in India. And it has been one of the most important developmental inquiries in my life. So, of course, when I read that title, I was like, wait, what?!

Of course I read it. And?

The writer completely missed the point of meditation. Further, the “expert” the writer draws examples from throughout the article is questionable, at best, as an authority on meditation.

Well, what followed then was an important distinction for writers that came as an insight of reading the article. The distinction? Yep, here we go.

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I’ve written a couple times about the importance of making the distinction and understanding the difference between theory and practice. The distinction between the two is paramount in organizational development and education.

Yet, what I’ve been reflecting upon more this past week is just how important the distinction between theory and practice is for writers. Yep.

As I’ve been writing for years, I think I’ve always understood this distinction, yet it’s really only been the past three years that I’ve really known about it. Did you catch the distinction? Ah, if you did, excellent, if not, never fear.

Before we get into the discussion of theory and practice, let’s define our terms.

theory

noun /ˈθɪəri/ /ˈθiːəri/,  /ˈθɪri/ (plural theories)

[countable, uncountable] a formal set of ideas that is intended to explain why something happens or exists

Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries

practice

noun /ˈpræktɪs/ /ˈpræktɪs/

[uncountable, countable] doing an activity or training regularly so that you can improve your skill; the time you spend doing this

Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries

Very good. Now, what do you see? Yep, it’s pretty straight forward.

Theory is about idea generation. About trying to explain something to the best of one’s ability by rationalizing the knowledge one has about a subject through their intellect. Yep, that’s about it. Practice?

Different. Practice is about doing something. It is about understanding a subject through the practice of actually doing that subject; and, then explaining that subject through the practical knowledge now possessed.

Now, both are needed. Yep. We need both intellectual knowledge and practical knowledge. However, theoretical knowledge can never supersede practical knowledge. Why?

Because no matter how much we know about a subject, we can never really know about that subject until we engage in it. Example? Sure.

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Let us say I want to create a new budget. One that will connect all of my daily spending to my bank accounts, which will then funnel back to a spreadsheet that I can track daily.

I can theorize about how a new budget system like this might work by reading about it, however, I will never really know if it will work for me until I try it. Simple, right? Yep.

Why, then, is this important to writers? Because when we write, and we are writing about something that we are theorizing about, we should own it.

We should let the reader know that the piece they are reading is a theoretical exploration, not a practical one. Why?

Alright, here are

3 Reasons Why Writers Should Know About the Distinction Between Theory and Practice

1. Transparent

Being transparent about the subject matter we write about is important. It’s important to our own development, as writers, yes, and as human beings; and, it’s also important to the reader.

When we write about a topic that we know intellectually, that’s fine, write about it that way. Letting the reader know that you are conducting a theoretical exploration is just fine, and needed.

Have you ever heard the phrase theory informs practice, and practice informs theory? It’s true.

When we theorize about how something might work, we will only ever really know if that theory will hold true by conducting an experiment, yes, or by simply doing it. Yep.

And, when we do something, like create the budget from the aforementioned example, we will learn things we did not, could not, theorize about; and, we can then recreate the theory in light of this new information. Finished? Nope, not quite. Why?

Because someone else might conduct the same experiment with the budget system, let’s say, and get a completely different outcome, or experience. Yep.

I once had an instructor that would say, show me any theory, and I can show you a mitigating variable for that theory. Meaning another idea that would change the outcome of the experiment, or experience.

Therefore, it is very important when writing to elaborate on the knowledge that we currently have, both intellectually and practically. It helps readers know where the limits of our knowledge is, and where they can pick up from, if they choose, and move that knowledge forward.

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2. Thoughtful

In owning the limitations of our own knowledge, whether it is intellectual or practical, we are being thoughtful. I love reading an article or a book about a topic where the author has been intentional in communicating the limits of their knowledge.

As a reader, this kind of commitment from a writer garners a whole different level of trust from me. And, I am more likely to read more of their work.

Being thoughtful about our own limitations is an important thing to do; though, it will probably feel awkward and scary. Human beings don’t usually like to own their own limitations.

Yet, I would argue that owning our limitations is not, in and of itself a limitation. Rather, owning our limitations is a starting point, a strength.

A place from where we can grow and develop. Learn more, both intellectually and practically.

And, in that growth, guess what? We learn more, which means we can do more, and be more. We can write more. More about what we know about. Both intellectually and practically. Fun.

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3. Truth

Of course. When we stand in our truth, we get back way more. Though owning a limitation feels scary, it is the only way we can ever grow and develop. If you have no limitations, or rather, areas to grow yourself, then there is nothing to ever read, or really do.

Life inside of that world, where we know all there is to know, is finite. That world is the limited one.

However, when we are truthful about our own developmental opportunities, we immediately become unlimited. Why?

Because we have now taken a stand to learn more, to develop more, and to possibly transform the person we are today into a whole new iteration. A new self that stands in the reality, or truth, about themselves. That is powerful. A paradox?

Yes, and no. The whole world is full of paradoxes like this one.

We are fearful of the exact thing that, when embraced, is the key to relinquishing that exact fear. That is life as a human being on this planet.

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Alright, so there are 3 Reasons Why Writers Should Know About the Distinction Between Theory and Practice. And, to be clear, this distinction is important for every human being. Really.

It is important in all aspects of our lives. When we are clear on the areas we want to develop and grow, we can engage with people in meaningful conversations and create contexts to move those aspects of ourselves forward.

We can learn more, become more, and then, yep, do more.

It has occured to me in writing this post that I can do a better job of letting readers know about the limits of my intellectual and practical knowledge.

Though the focus of my writing is, and will continue to be, on both my intellectual and practical knowledge, writing this post has brought a new awareness of this topic to the fore of my consciousness; and, for that I am grateful.

#beingunlimited, #development, #distinctionbetweentheoryandpractice, #growing, #onwriting, #owningourlimitations, #practice, #selfdimprovement, #theory, #theoryandpractice, #writing, #writingaboutpractice, #writingabouttheory, #writingandthoughtfulness, #writingandtrasnparency, #writingandtruth

The Social Construction Series Part 3: 7 Reasons Why Understanding Your Identity as A Social Construction is Important to Your Life

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Who are you, and what do you do? How much do you enjoy a typical exchange like this with another human being? Oh, hello, my name is, insert any name you like here, who are you; or, what do you do? Sound familiar?

We get these types of questions all the time. And, did you know that how you answer this question is, well, rather powerful? Why?

Because when we describe ourselves in language, we are, in effect, solidifying our identity as the person we are today.

Yet, what you may or may not know, or have only general cursory knowledge about, is that your identity, my identity, all identities are socially constructed.

Meaning that they are a product of socialization; they are productions caught in a particular time and place. Bound, if you will, in language to ideas we have about who we believe we are, about who we were told, and or are told we are.

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Yet, because identities, like all things, are constructed in language, and are embedded in particular geographic, cultural, and societal contexts, they are not fixed. Again, they are not fixed.

They are, rather, fluid, and understanding this fact is important to everyone’s development, and, yes, to our lives as well. Why? Well, many reasons, however, for now, let’s take a look at

7 Reasons Why Understanding Your Identity as A Social Construction is Important to Your Life

  1. Empowered – when we understand that our identities, like all of life and the world, are socially constructed, we are immediately empowered. Empowered to let go of preconceived notions of who we were told we are, are told we are, or think we are. When we subscribe to a fixed identity, instead of one that is socially constructed, we are limited. And, limitation is stressful. However, when we subscribe to the idea that our identities are socially constructed, we are unlimited, able to create the identity and person we dream to be.
  2. Engaged – when we let go of our previously conceived ideas about who we are, we also let go of the types of people that we are “supposed” to engage with, be friends with, and partner with. Also limited. Yet, when we let go of those limitations, we free ourselves to engage with anyone that sparks our interest. Anyone.
  3. Unlimited – when we get clear on our identity, both the identity we were handed, and the one that we created around that identity, we break the limitations that were handed to us, and the ones that we’ve created for ourselves. The only limitations we have are the ones we continue to believe in and the ones we continue to create for ourselves.
  4. Reality – reality becomes more clear. We can see where social institutions, like the family, government, and educational system, have placed limitations on our lives. And, we can make choices to break free from these pre imposed limitations. How? By creating a new life, a new way to conceive of the human being we are today, and the one that we want to become.
  5. Freed – when we can clearly see the limitations we’ve been living within, bound by stories we have about who we are as a human being, we can make different choices. Make different choices to free ourselves from those stories. When we are free from these stories, we can act in new ways, and become new. Seriously. We become a new iteration of the human being we’ve always been, living free from the constraints we were given, or created.
  6. Energized – when we let go of the ideas we have about who we are, we can create a more energized life. A life that is present to all that we have, and want to create. In this kind of life, you will be more often tired, yet, overall, you will have more energy, and feel more regularly energized.
  7. Loved – when we realize that we are not the human being someone has always told us we must be, we are free to love ourselves for the human being we are right now, and the human being we are going to become. And, guess what? When we begin to love ourselves more deeply, we can love others more deeply. We get deeper connections with those we choose to have in our lives. Pretty special.
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Phew, that went quick. Obviously, there are many more to add to this list, yet those are some of the most powerful reasons why understanding that your identity is socially constructed is important to your life.

You may be asking, okay, now what?

Well, you can, right now, begin to get clear on the fact that everything you know to be true about the world has been handed to you.

Handed to you by the various social institutions that make up any society or culture, such as parents, educators, friends, churches, healthcare, and the government, to name a few.

When we understand that all knowledge, thus all identities, are socially constructed, we have the power to let go, and create, learn, and recreate.

Let go of ideas and concepts that don’t help move us forward as human beings, and create, learn, and recreate new ideas and concepts that do move us forward as human beings. Fun.

Hard work? Yep, for sure.

Letting go of ideas and concepts we’ve held onto for years is extremely difficult. Yet, know that the reason it is so hard is that we, as humans, like habit, like patterns. We are comfortable with the known.

And, what we know, is how we think, and then act. Yet, when we act from a space of outdated ideas and concepts that no longer serve us, it is time to let go. And, guess what?

Though it is difficult, it does get easier. And, after time, you will wonder why you hadn’t made the choice to let go of those stories, ideas, and concepts much earlier.

No time like the present.

#development, #empowermentandidentity, #energizedandidentity, #engagedandidentity, #freedandidentity, #growth, #identities, #identity, #lovedandidentity, #realityandidentity, #selfdevelopment, #selfimprovement, #socialconstruction, #thesocialconstructionofidentity, #unlimitedandidentity

7 Things You Can Do to Develop Courage and Humility

What is the difference between courage and humility? Hm. Well, if you look courage up in a thesaurus, you will find that humility is an antonym for courage. Meaning different, yet is it, really?

I think they are more similar than they are different. And, I think understanding this similarity is important to our lives. Ready to take a look? Good, let’s go.

Let’s define these two, shall we. Here we go.

courage

noun  /ˈkʌrɪdʒ/ /ˈkɜːrɪdʒ/[uncountable]Idioms

the ability to do something dangerous, or to face pain or opposition, without showing fear

Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries

humility

noun /hjuːˈmɪləti/ /hjuːˈmɪləti/[uncountable]

the quality of not thinking that you are better than other people; the quality of being humble

Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries

Hm. At this moment, I’m actually quite surprised about how similar these definitions are. More similar than I would have even predicted.

Do you see it? Either way, it’s okay, let’s take a deeper look at both courage and humility and see what we get.

7 Things You Can do to Develop Courage and Humility

As I’ve written about previously, people often mistakenly believe that there are people that have courage and there are people that don’t. Like it is a developmental trait that some have and others don’t.

However, courage is like any other skill set. Meaning that it can be developed. Yep, it’s true. And, guess what? As you develop courage, you also develop humility. Yep, also true.

Here, then, are 7 ways you can develop courage.

  1. Develop a growth mindset – meaning, be available and open to learning all there is to learn. When you have a growth mindset you realize that there is much more to learn than is known, and you are eager to learn. The opposite of a growth mindset is a fixed mindset. Meaning unavailable and closed to learning. Think flexible versus rigid. When we are flexible, we go with the flow, receive what others have to give us, and then we give what we have back to them. When we are eager to develop a growth mindset, courage follows because contexts where growth mindsets flourish are about development and transformation.
  2. Grow your comfort zone – continuing to practice getting outside of your comfort zone is important. Important to your development, and to the development of courage. When we are outside of our comfort zone, in that moment, we are doing and modeling courage.
  3. Embrace and practice vulnerability – I’ve written several articles recently about vulnerability. Like your comfort zone, when you embrace your own vulnerability and practice being vulnerable, you are immediately being courageous. And, guess what? The more you practice vulnerability, the more courageous you become.
  4. Practice collaboration – collaborative contexts are naturally vulnerable contexts as they are about being open and flexible, learning, and development. When you are collaborating, really collaborating, you are practicing courage; and, the more collaborative contexts you engage in, the more courageous you will become.
  5. Create innovation – innovation and courage go hand in hand. They have to, because innovative contexts are imbued with vulnerability, growth, collaboration, and transformation. Innovative contexts are courageous in nature. The more innovation you create, the more you are being courageous, and the more your courage will grow.
  6. Take risks – though humans like predictability and habit, risk-taking is needed and necessary. Taking risks ensures you develop into the iteration of yourself where you can give the most back to the world. Really. Because humans like predictability and habit, risk-taking feels scary, so when you take risks you will develop courage. The more risk, the more courage will develop.
  7. Face your fears – every human on this planet is afraid. Yes, there is a continuum of fearfulness, yet know that you are not alone in being fearful of things. Fear is a natural part of being a human. However, when you face your fears, you develop courage. And, like risk-taking, or any of the others on this list, the more you face your fears, the more courageous you will become.

Alright, there we have 7 ways you can develop courage. Now, let’s make the connection to humility, shall we.

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Here then are

7 Reasons Why Developing Courage Will Also Develop Your humility

  1. Growth mindset – as you develop a growth mindset, you will become more present to just how little humans really know; and, conversely, just how much there is to learn. It is vast, and humbling.
  2. Comfort zones – getting outside of your comfort zone is hard work. Really. At times, very hard. As you get outside of your comfort zone, you will realize how tiring and depleting it can be. Rewarding absolutely, and very, very tiring, and humbling.
  3. Vulnerability – being vulnerable is extremely hard. Of all the items on this list, maybe the hardest. Oftentimes, just being vulnerable once in a different way will cause you to experience great humility.
  4. Collaboration – connecting with other human beings through true collaboration is lovely, and is also an experience where you get to see other humans in action, being vulnerable, developing themselves in new ways, being courageous, taking risks, and transforming. It is a wondrous sight, and very humbling.
  5. Innovation – any and all innovation is humbling. Just the idea of creating something new is a humbling experience. When I created the first iteration of this site, which took a long time, and was totally out of my range of expertise, I was tremendously humbled by the experience.
  6. Risk-taking – like being vulnerable, taking risks is scary. And, if you take risks often, especially while working alongside others, you will experience a whole new level of humbleness.
  7. Fears – facing our fears is extremely difficult; and, when you face them often, you become more humble. You sort of wake up to the reality that facing fears is hard for everyone, so when you witness someone do it, it can actually bring tears to your eyes. Shared humanity.
Photo by Everton Vila on Unsplash

Alright, there are 7 ways you can develop courage, and 7 reasons why developing courage will also result in more humility.

In the event you’ve been wondering, I picked the introduction picture intentionally. Why?

Because developing courage by doing any of the 7 listed above is about being in action, doing things, living your life the best way you know how by giving your all every day.

Sometimes people conflate courage with iconic pictures of the hero saving the day, which is very dramatic. Yet, I want to offer you a different way to think about courage.

Courage is about being human. Recognizing our fears, the current limits of our knowledge, and doing something to face them, and grow ourselves. When we recognize where we have opportunities to develop, we can then take the necessary actions to create opportunities for ourselves to grow.

And, yes, if you like, to even transform. What does it take?

A willingness to set aside the ego, a little at a time, one step at a time, and take a different action. Take an action you’ve never taken before, and see what you get back. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

#collaboration, #comfortzones, #courage, #developingcourage, #developinghumility, #development, #growthmindset, #grwoth, #humility, #innovation, #risktaking, #selfdevelopment, #selfimprovement, #vulnerability

3 Things Everyone Needs to Know About Building Relationships

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Photo by Liz Weddon on Unsplash

I originally conceived of this topic and the associated article as one for business. An article about how to create deep connections with the people we work with, and the people we’d like to work with.

However, after reflecting upon it throughout the day, it occurred to me that this topic is applicable to everyone. Why?

Well, relationships are the cornerstone of life. Really. Think about all of the people in your life. You have people that are very close to you, friends and family, work associates and colleagues, and, maybe a little further from you, aquantinaces, clients, and neighbors, to name a few.

And, connecting, really connecting with these people, all of them, requires understanding ourselves.

Understanding why we do the things we do, why we feel the way we do, and think the way we think. Knowing ourselves. Why?

Because in order to connect deeply with another human being we must know ourselves first. Then, we can know them; and, know them as deeply as we know ourselves. If, however, we only know ourselves on the surface, we will only ever know them in the same way. Not a deep connection then.

Alright, let’s take a look at three things you can do to build deeper connections with the people that are currently in your life, and the ones that will show up in the future. Ready? Let’s go.

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Photo by Mike Clark on Unsplash

1. Know Your Why

Remember being little where everything we saw, thought, and felt was done with a sense of wonder and amazement? Yep, me too. Well, does life still feel that way to you? If not, don’t worry, it’s not a demerit; and, you are not alone.

As we grow older, we lose some of that wonder and amazement. Yet, we can intentionally create opportunities to get it back. How?

First, we must get back in touch with the things that drive us. You know, the reasons that get us up in the morning. And, I’m not talking about intellectual reasons. Nope.

I’m talking about those things deep within us that make us the person we are today. Can you feel them? If not, don’t worry. They are there, and you can get back in touch with them.

In the post, 3 Reasons Why Creating Alignment With Your Why Is Important; And, 3 Simple Steps to Create Your Why, I walk through three simple steps you can take to create your why. If you’ve not created one, create one; if you have one, maybe take a look at it again. Why?

It’s important to connect deeply with that why, or to reconnect with it if it’s been a while. When we reconnect with the why of why we do what we do, we are actually reconnecting with the vision we have of ourselves as human beings. And, in that moment, we create new possibilities. Really.

Photo by Danica Tanjutco on Unsplash

When we know who we are, what we are up to in life, we can share that with others. We can touch someone else with the passion we have for life. Just like when we were little.

The reason people connect with children, watch them, smile at them, want to be around them, is that, to them, everything is a wonder.

They are a wonder. Everything is amazing. And, reconnecting with your why can move you in that direction.

Further, when you reconnect with yourself on that level, you can now connect with someone else at that level. Sharing something of yourself that, in some cases, as it was for me for a long time, was buried underneath other intellectual ideas, concepts, and pursuits.

Remember one thing. People are not moved by their intellect, or by their head, they are moved by their emotional-center, or ther heart.

Now, you may be wondering, alright, I’ve got my why, then what? Well, now you can create a statement about your why. Something that you can share with those close to you and those that are further removed from you. Anyone really.

Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

2. Create Your Personal Mission Statement

A personal mission statement is something you can create, which declares why you are doing what you are doing; it will also give the people you are connecting with a sense of who you are as a human being. Example? Sure.

Here is my why.

To increase access to higher education for everyone.

Right, yet there is more to it. Yep. Here, then, is also part of my why.

Develop leaders, inspire creativity, and assist with personal transformation.

Okay, so now lets fashion a personal mission statement. Ready? Okay, here we go.

To increase access to higher education for everyone, and to develop leaders, inspire creativity, and assist with personal transformation.

Hm, that’s not quite right. It has the components, yet is not really getting at the crux of the why. Let’s try again. Here we go.

To increase access to higher education for everyone, while also working with students and clients to develop their leadership skills, expand their creative potential, and assist in their personal transformation.

Closer. The point? That there is no one way to create a why, or a personal mission statement. They are yours, and should be created by you for you to share with others when you choose, and how you choose. Simple.

You must simply create from within you. Important. If you don’t, and it is something that you don’t really believe in, well, you will know, and so will everyone else. Believe me. They will know if it is not sincere.

And, really, the point is to deepen your connection with yourself, first, and then with other people. You want it to be real. Real from your heat to the hearts of others.

Alright, you’ve got your why and you’ve created a personal mission statement, now what? A reminder.

Photo by William White on Unsplash

3. Understand that Relationships are Everything

In the post, Creating and Maintaining Relationships: What else is there?, I write about understanding that every relationship in our life is important. All of them. That, in fact, everything we do, everything, is about the relationship we have with ourselves, first, and then with everyone else.

Remember the relationships system? Looks like this.

Pinterest

There we go. Alright, so as you can see from the above system, everything we do starts with us. Everything. And, then as you move from the center circle, out to each corresponding circle, all that we do, goes out to those closest to us, first, and then to those that are further from us.

And, what do they get from you? From me for a time, they got cynicism. Yep. Not a judgement, just the reality as it was, not as it is today. Today?

They get everything I can give them, just as I do for myself, including the why of what I do each and every day.

The coolest thing about sharing your why, your passion, purpose, whatever you want to call it, with others is that they then get to know you on a level that will inspire them. Really.

Think about the people in your life that inspire you. What do they do? I bet they are up to all kinds of cool things, creating change, transforming themselves, working at changing the world. One step at a time.

And, you know the second coolest thing about sharing your why with someone else? You get to learn about their why. Yep. You get to know them on a level that might not have been previously available.

These deep connections are what drive people together. Actually the more appropriate language here, would be that they pull people together. Pulled by inspiring ideas, yes, and by inspiring actions.

Inspiring people to be all they can be is a pretty cool thing; and, guess what? You can be a part of that kind of connection anytime. You can create it. Yep. How? Well, as I’ve mentioned it all starts with you.

Why do you do what you do?

#buildingrelationships, #creatingapersonalmissionstatement, #creatingconnection, #creatingdeeperconnectionswithothers, #creatingdeeperconnectionswithourselves, #creatingrelationships, #creatingyourwhy, #developinghighqualityrelationships, #development, #developmentandgrowth, #emotionalintelligence, #growth, #highly-effective-relationships, #highqualityrelationships, #huamndevelopment, #personalmissionstatement, #relationship-conversations, #relationship-development, #relationships, #relationshipsystems, #selfdevelopment, #transformational-relationships, #understandingrelationships, #workrelationships

3 Things You Can Do To Start Coloring Your Life Outside The Lines

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I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase color inside the lines. Maybe you were even told to do so. Well, consider that all socialization is about living inside the lines. The issue? Well, being socialized to live inside the lines means that living outside the lines, while possible, is hard to create.

Yet, it is possible. Yep. Let’s take a look at 3 things you can do to start coloring your life outside the lines.

3 Things You Can Do To Start Coloring Your Life Outside The Lines

Before we get too deep into our discussion, let’s define socialization. It’s topical to this conversation, and important.

socialization

noun /ˌsəʊʃəlaɪˈzeɪʃn/ /ˌsəʊʃələˈzeɪʃn/(British English also socialisation)[uncountable] (formal)

the process by which somebody, especially a child, learns to behave in a way that is acceptable in their society.

Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries

There we go.

Now, what does coloring inside the lines have to do with socialization? Well, socialization is the process of ensuring that children obey and act in accordance with particular expectations.

And, it is inside of these expectations where people learn to limit themselves again and again. How?

Well, as we mature we continue to repeat these acceptable behaviors into adulthood. And, often, in fact, probably more often than not, these behaviors actually work. We’ve learned how to make them work for us. Yet, they are still limiting.

Know that I am not arguing that socialization is a problem. Not entirely. I am arguing that socialization limits our creative potential. It keeps us inside of a very narrowly defined box (inside the lines) of what other people have determined is possible in this life, our life.

However, when we become aware of this fact, which can occur many different ways, we have the opportunity to learn to color outside of the lines. How, you ask. Alright, let’s look at a few.

Photo by Rohit Farmer on Unsplash

1. Ask Questions

One of the powers of language is the ability to ask questions. To question what we know, what we think, and what we are told. Socrates said something about asking questions. Hm. Let me see. Ah, actually it’s about knowing, and is still applicable. Here you go.

“The only true wisdom is in knowing that you know nothing.“ – Socrates

Goal Cast

Now, here is a great quote about asking questions.

“The best scientists and explorers have the attributes of kids! They ask questions and have a sense of wonder. They have curiosity. ‘Who, what, where, why, when and how!’ They never stop asking questions, and I never stop asking questions, just like a five year old.” – Sylvia Earle

Goal Cast

Now, you may be thinking, well, I’m not a scientist, or an explorer, so? Fear not. Everyone has the right to question. And, here is an invitation. Consider yourself an explorer, and your life an exploration. Fun.

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

2. Embrace Vulnerability

I’ve written a lot about vulnerability of late. Am very present to it, in fact. Why? Well, it was something that I avoided, or resisted, for a time, and now? I am embracing it more and more every day.

Here is a quote I adore about vulnerability.

“Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it’s having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome. Vulnerability is not weakness; it’s our greatest measure of courage.” -BRENÉ BROWN

Book Riot

Oh, and this one.

“People who wade into discomfort and vulnerability and tell the truth about their stories are the real badasses.” -BRENÉ BROWN

Book Riot

Excellent.

Learning how to embrace vulnerability is a necessity to develop and grow. It is. When you are vulnerable, you openly admit that you don’t know everything, that there is much to learn from everyone around you.

You also intentionally wade into uncomfortable developmentally appropriate contexts and conversations. Why? Because you are interested in growing, in developing.

Though uncomfortable, you realize that being in that context, in that conversation, is the way to increase your own resilience, and at the same time? Yep, grow your tolerance for engaging in vulnerable situations.

You also show that you know yourself enough to know that growing, stretching, and developing is something that you take a stand for; and, in many ways when you do this, you get back, yes, and? So, does everyone else. Really. You are modeling growth and development. Inspiring.

Photo by Sebastián León Prado on Unsplash

3. Ask For Help

Right now, you may be thinking, wait, what? What in the world does asking for help have to do with my development? I understand. Stay with me.

Asking for help has to do with modeling humility. And, humility is a developmentally important concept. Let’s define it shall we?

humility

noun /hjuːˈmɪləti/ /hjuːˈmɪləti/[uncountable]

the quality of not thinking that you are better than other people; the quality of being humble

Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries

There we go. Humility is important. When we show humility, we model the unknown. And, what have we learned about the known and the unknown? Well, factually there is much more to learn, than any one person, or even a collective of people know.

When we model the unknown, we model our support for development and growth. We show that we understand both with our head and our heart that we are just one part in the overall system of life on this planet.

We provide people around us with the knowledge that we are open, always actively seeking more information, more ideas, and more experiences that will help us grow and develop. And?

When we take action in this manner, we will get back way more from those around us. See, when we are open, people can see it, hear it, and feel it. Important. We create safety. Safety for them to be the human being they are. To share themselves with us; and, then we get to reciprocate.

We learn more. We become more. Fun.

Photo by Mimi Thian on Unsplash

Alright, there are 3 things you can do to start coloring your life outside the lines. Fun.

Remember, take it one action at a time. Meaning, when we are interested in coloring our life outside the lines, interested in developing and growing, in creating intentionally contexts to do so, it can sometimes be overwhelming.

Take your time. Take it one action at a time. Example? Sure.

If you usually don’t ask questions, next time ask one. Just one. Start from there. If you usually avoid vulnerable situations, next time you are faced with one, venture out and into that situation. See what you get back.

And, if you don’t ask for help, which is something I work at all the time, next time you are feeling overwhelmed, ask for help. Just try it once.

Developmental growth is a process, not a light switch. It takes doing things differently, creating that intention, and then acting upon it. One day at a time, one action at a time.

#askforhelp, #askquestions, #brene-brown, #developingourselves, #developingresilience, #development, #developmentalgrowth, #developmentandgrowth, #developyourself, #develping-resilience, #embracevulnerability, #emotional-development, #emotionalintelligence, #huamandevelopment, #self-development, #self-inquiry, #selfdevelopment, #socialization, #socrates, #socratesandknowledge, #vulnerabilityanddevelopmentalgrowth, #vulnerableascourageandstrength

10 Reasons Why Asking Questions is Important to Your Development

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To question, or not to question? Hm. How many times do you remember being in a class, with a group of friends, or in a work environment where you wanted to ask a question, yet didn’t? Yep, me too. Really, we all have those memories.

Many people are afraid to ask questions, to speak up generally. Why? Afraid of looking silly, asking the “wrong” questions, not being taken seriously, or being made fun of. Has happened to all of us at some point.

Yet, the ability to ask questions, to discern relevance out of a context that is unclear, to move toward more clarity, while acquiring more knowledge and adding to the knowledge-base within the context is really important. Why?

Well, let’s ask Socrates, shall we. Here we go.

True wisdom comes to each of us when we realize how little we understand about life, ourselves, and the world around us.” – Socrates

Goal Cast

And this one.

The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.” -Socrates

Goal Cast

Powerful. Simply, there is so much unknown about life and the world, that to not ask, to not speak up in a way cheats ourselves and all of humanity out of possible progress.

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The topic of questioning is so important. Important to life, the world, the production and eventual dissemination of knowledge, and, yes, it is also very important to our development. Why? Well, I’ve got 10 reasons.

Ready? Very well, let’s go.

  1. Learning
    1. Seems simple, yes? The more questions we ask, the more we learn. Though this concept is simple, in practice, many people struggle to ask the questions they have deep inside them. They do. As was aforementioned, though an extrovert, I too once struggled with asking my questions. The issue? When we don’t ask, we actually carry that question around. Literally. We have it within us, unanswered, which can cause us pain, and frustration.
  2. Knowledge
    1. When we ask our questions, we gain knowledge, and we also contribute to knowledge acquisition. Yep. In every question there lives the possibility of more knowledge. We know so little about life and the world. Yet, with every question that we ask, we create the opportunity for us, and everyone else, to learn more.
  3. Clarity
    1. The more questions we ask, the more clarity we have. And, the more clarity everyone else has. As we learn, so does everyone else. And, as we all learn, we transform the nature of the context we’re in, to a context where questions are possible. A context where those that are fearful of asking questions, as you are, or once were, will be empowered to ask their questions. Powerful.
  4. Collaboration
    1. Asking questions is also the breeding ground for collaboration. When we ask questions, we are naturally contributing to a collaborative context, where learning from each other is embraced. We are actually fostering a collaborative context by asking our questions. Seriously, it is true.
  5. Strategy
    1. Asking questions is also super important to developing and executing on strategy. Without questions, you will only ever produce what was produced yesterday. Questions are the birthplace of strategy. And, with strategy, both concepts and execution, we get movement, and with movement, eventual traction in whatever it is we are doing.
  6. Innovation
    1. Like strategy, innovation depends upon asking questions. Creation and innovation are intertwined with curiosity, and those that are curious ask tons of questions. They have to, they are curious. With questions comes the possibility of innovation, and new ways of seeing and experiencing the world.
  7. Vulnerability
    1. When we ask our questions, we are also being vulnerable. We are modeling an attribute that is a necessity for development. Developmental growth is dependent upon being vulnerable, and when we accept our own vulnerability, even enter into vulnerable spaces intentionally, we will ask our questions.
  8. Leadership
    1. Well, if questions are important to strategy and innovation, they are equally important to leadership. Leaders are interested in what others think, know, and feel. They have to be interested, it’s part of being a leader. And, to learn how people think, know, and feel, you must ask questions.
  9. Trust
    1. When we ask questions we also contribute to a context or environment of trust. When we are actively interested in someone else, and what they know, or how they feel and think, we are modeling trust. Especially when we get back questions from those around us, which by leading through asking questions, we will definitely get.
  10. Relationships
    1. Asking questions means that we get to learn more about those around us, which also means that we get to deepen our relationships with those people. It is inevitable. Learning about someone necessitates a relationship. And being in a relationship means knowing about that person, and to know, we must ask questions.
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Alright, there are 10 reasons why asking questions is important to your development. Let’s take a look at how they are interconnected. Ready? Here we go.

When we learn, we know more, and when we know more we have more clarity about our life, yes, and of the lives of those around us. Learning and knowing are part of development. And clarity is an output of learning and knowing more.

When we collaborate with others we get to know people better, and we also get to know ourselves better.

Knowing others better will always shine a light on the parts of ourselves that we want to develop. It is normal, and is also very healthy.

Within a collaborative context that embraces strategy, we also create the possibility of developing an innovative culture. And, inside of an innovative culture, we create more innovative possibilities, which also contributes to future strategies. All of which contributes positively to our development and growth.

Photo by qinghill on Unsplash

I’ve written in other posts that vulnerability contributes to and fosters innovation. Vulnerability is actually where the seeds of innovation will eventually grow. And, like innovation growing through vulnerability, we also develop and grow when we are vulnerable.

Relationships are created, in part, through trust. When we trust each other, we can be real, be vulnerable, learn more from each other, and grow together. When we are open to each other, we get so much more from each other.

Knowing that we, as Socrates might say, know so very little about life and the world. Knowing this fact is at the center of development and growth.

Leadership is dependent upon all of the aforementioned. And, I am not only writing about leaders in the traditional sense. I am also writing about every human on the planet. We all have the opportunity to lead. Lead from within, and from without.

When we lead by asking questions, we model our interest and support of contexts that are open to development and growth. We create more possibilities for ourselves, and for everyone around us.

Possibilities to learn, to know, to have more clarity, to build collaborations and strategy, which foster vulnerability, trust, and relationships; and, that is leading.

Ask your questions, and develop yourself and everyone else around you.

#clarity, #collaboration, #development, #developmentandgrowth, #growth, #growthanddevelopment, #growthmindset, #innovation, #knowing, #knowledge, #known, #leadership, #leadershipdevelopment, #learning, #questionsandstrategy, #questionsarestrategy, #relationships, #socrates, #socratesandknowledge, #strategy, #trust, #unknown, #vulnerability

4 + 3 = 7 Ways to Become A Transformative Change Agent Today

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Have you ever considered becoming an agent of change; or, considered, how to move yourself into the realm of transformation? How about considering what leadership, change agency, and transformation have to do with each other?

Well, right now I’m in the middle of the transformation video series, of which the post, Developmental Growth and Transformation: A Distinction is a part.

An important distinction.

Simply, the distinction is that transformation is internally driven, whereas development is externally driven.

And, of the former, becoming a change agent as a leader is transformative. Why? Because when we move on the leadership spectrum away from the status quo and toward becoming an agent of change, we create the possibility of transforming ourselves and everyone around us.

Alright, let’s take a look at becoming a transformative change agent as a leader. There are two parts to this conversation, and they are as follows.

  1. 4 things you can to do to move into the realm of transformation; and,
  2. 3 things you can do to become a change agent.

Ready? Let’s go.

Photo by Evie S. on Unsplash

4 Things You Can Do to Move Into the Realm of Transformation

1. Question All of Your Current Beliefs

When we are living in and for transformation, we always question what we know. Why is this important? Good question.

Because if we know everything there is to know about a particular topic or subject, we can’t learn more. And, when we are closed to learning more, we are also closed to transformation.

The entire realm of transformation occupies the unknown. Why? Because when we live today as we did yesterday, which is essentially what happens when we are closed to learning something new, we simply reproduce today as we lived yesterday. Not transformative.

However, when we are open, and question all of our beliefs, we immediately create a space where learning is possible. Yep.

Now, though learning is possible when we are open and we question our beliefs, we must also be willing to let go of our beliefs. Questioning our beliefs is the first step, and we must also learn how to let go.

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2. Let Go of the Beliefs that No Longer Serve You

When you begin to question your beliefs, the next step is to let go of those that no longer serve you. Can be difficult. Why?

Because we are socialized to think and act in certain ways. And, socialization is powerful. However, when you begin to question your beliefs, you will see there is much to learn. And, it is often necessary to let go of our previous views. It’s okay.

Letting go of beliefs that no longer serve you is not a problem. You don’t get a demerit for letting go. Know also it’s not a sign that those that taught you what you know, were wrong.

It’s not about right and wrong. It’s about knowing that letting go is a natural process of growing, first, and, second, letting go is necessary and needed to find your transformational path.

Once you question your beliefs, and begin to let go of those that no longer serve you, it’s time to begin re-creating your belief system.

Photo by Oluwakemi Solaja on Unsplash

3. Recreate Your Belief System as Often as Needed

People interested in transformation, are actively interested in recreating their belief systems. They are always searching for new ways to learn, to develop, and to be.

Though development and transformation are different, they are related. Development is a wonderful platform to gain the knowledge necessary to enter into the space of transformation.

Recreating your belief system simply means that you are open to doing the internal work necessary to transform.

When we are quiet and do the internal work necessary to question all that we believe, and then let go of the ideas, concepts, and emotions that no longer serve us, we automatically create the space needed to recreate our belief system.

Know that in a space of transformation this process is continuous. It becomes a daily practice. And then? Well, then you are ready to act from a new space, with new beliefs.

Photo by Grant Watkins on Unsplash

4. Taking Action From Your New Belief System

When we question our beliefs, let go of the beliefs that no longer serve us, and then recreate our belief system to fit our current transformative iteration, we automatically take action from that new belief system.

We begin to act from a new space and in a new way. Does it happen all at once? It may, yet often it is iterative, which simply means, as was aforementioned, that it is a continuous process.

Transformation is a continuous process of inquiry, investigation, and in some cases interrogation.

Old beliefs, habits, and patterns can be hard to let go of; yet, with practice, and guidance as needed, new beliefs, habits, and patterns can be created.

Yet, because these beliefs, habits, and patterns are so deeply ingrained within our beings, it takes being intentional.

Much like development, you must want to transform. You must create and set the intention to develop, and you must do the same with transformation.

Alright, once you’ve intentionally embarked into transformation, there are three more things to consider in order to see the connection between leadership, change agency, and transformation.

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3 Things You Can Do Today to Lead as a Change Agent

1. Create Your Future From Your Future

When we create our future from our future, we recognize that to do other, is to create our future from our past. Happens often. It’s not a demerit.

However, to really create change, we must move into a space where we let go of the past, and stand in a reality that is being imagined as a future concept of a reality we want to live into. Important. How, you ask?

Imagine. Dream. Create. Repeat.

You have within you all of the imagination and dreams that have been present for, well, possibly, your entire life. Time to let them out.

Once you have, you can begin to create the future you want to live into. Create? Meaning, you can begin to take ideas and put them into systems and processes to see them realized. Concept meets execution.

Three simple steps, ready?

  1. Put your imagination to work. Get those dreams out of your head and heart and into the world somewhere, anywhere. Write them down. Don’t limit yourself. Just write them down.
  2. Create a map of those ideas, connecting the ones that are connectable, and then categorize them, or prioritize them. What do you want to create first?
  3. Now, one at a time, create plans and associated actions to see these dreams into reality. Doesn’t matter how “big” or “small” these dreams are. What matters is that you put them into a system to make them a reality. Try it.
Photo by Tim Collins on Unsplash

2. Don’t Worry About Barriers, or People That Don’t Understand

People that actively work to create change in the world are often met with barriers, and people that say it’s not possible. Normal. Why?

Because the status quo is more comfortable, and it’s what people know. People are fearful of what they don’t know, and don’t understand. You will be met with resistance.

However, when you are aware of this, you can meet those barriers and people where they are at. No judgment. And, no problem.

Where there is a barrier, or a person that says what you’re doing is impossible, there is another path toward the realization of your dream. Truth. Often, there will be several other paths, you just need to be patient.

They will show up. How do I know? I’ve experienced it many times. When you are creating change in the world, you are in action, you are pushing on systems that have been in place, in some cases, for years and years.

Yet, they are changeable. All of them. With a little persistence without resistance, you can create the change you want to see in the world.

3. Be Persistent Without Resistance

In the post, Persistence Without Resistance: Getting Outside of Your Comfort Zone, I write about understanding an important distinction. Have you ever worked so hard at something that it almost felt as if you were forcing that something to happen?

Well, sometimes that force can also feel like resistance. Like we are resisting our current reality by trying to create something new to supplant our current reality. It can be subtle.

Or, have you ever just plain resisted your current reality? Maybe, more common?

Either way, when we resist our current reality, we are, in effect, creating more of that reality. Paradox? Yep, yet it is true. There is another way.

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Be persistent without resisting your current reality. Meaning, accept your current reality, just as it is, with all that you enjoy and dislike. Then? Begin to create from that space. A space of no judgement about all that is in your life. Can be difficult.

Yet, in a space of persistence without resistance, we have the best opportunity to actually manifest the reality we are working so hard to create. Yep, just like that.

Alright, so we’ve now discussed 4 things you can do to move yourself into the realm of transformation, and we’ve also covered 3 things you can do today to lead as a change agent.

And, there, then is 4 + 3 = 7 Ways to Become A Transformative Change Agent Today. As I’ve written in many other posts, we need more transformative change agents. In fact, I would argue, we need every one of us to step up, and work to create the change we want to see in the world. Why?

Simple. Because you deserve it, we all deserve it, the whole world does. We all deserve to live in a world where dreams, imagination, innovation, and positive change are regularly created by each of us, you and me.

A Question

What will you create next?

#beliefs, #beliefsystems, #changeagent, #changeandtransformation, #createyourfuturefromyourfuture, #creatingyourfuture, #developingourselves, #development, #developmentandgrowth, #dreams, #imagination, #innovation, #lettinggoofourbeliefs, #newhabits, #newpatterns, #persistence, #persistencewithoutresistance, #questioningourbeliefs, #recreatingourbeliefs, #selfinquiry, #takingaction, #transformation, #transformational, #transformational-life, #transformationalleadership

Storytellers and Meaning-Makers Part 1: 5 Ways to Create More Power Over Your Current Reality

Photo by Melanie Deziel on StoryFuel.co

I’ve written several posts about the fact that human beings develop narratives about what they know, what they see, and what they are told. All of us do. We are natural storytellers, and meaning makers. It is how we make sense of the world. However, there is an issue here. Can you see it?

As we create stories about our reality, about what we believe to be true about the world, we can get stuck inside of faulty thinking. And, inside of this faulty thinking, we can begin to create realities, which are not really real. Yep, it’s true.

Example? Okay. 

Right now, on the west coast of the United States we have a raging wildfire issue. At this same time, we are living in a pandemic, and have people all across the country in the streets, like they have been in Portland, OR, for months, protesting against systematic and institutional racism. The issue with the latter, of course, is not the protesting, it is the fact that systematic and institutional racism still exists.

Okay, what’s the issue with these issues, you ask? Hm. Let me explain it this way. Here you go.

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Connecting Disparate Events and Situations

I’ve talked to several people this past week that are connecting these disparate events, creating stories about the compound effect of this year. However, these issues, while severe and highly problematic, are not connected. They are separate, and are just happening.

Because we are storytellers and meaning-makers we create something more out of what is happening than is really happening. We make these connections. That we do this is not a judgment or a demerit. It is how we are programmed.

However, it doesn’t help our mental health when we connect disparate events. Why? Because when we do, we can go into overwhelm more easily, and start blaming these situations on other people, and, yes, even ourselves. It happens all the time.

Think about a time when you failed a test, or didn’t get a job; and, in that same week or during that same timeframe, a friend or coworker upset you, and then a family member did something you didn’t expect, which also upset you. Well, did you pull these events apart, or did you rather, like most humans, connect them? Important distinction.

If you did connect them, you are not a problem. You are human.

Understanding that our brains work this way instantly creates a new awareness, which can be used to our advantage. How? By understanding that when events happen, they just happen.

We may not like them, or understand them, however, that is part of life. And, these events that just happen are not connected to each other. They are separate.

When we fully grasp this, we have more power over our reality and our life. How? Hm, okay. Here are 5 ways you can create more power over your reality by understanding that disparate events are just that, disparate.

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5 Ways to Create More Power Over Your Reality

  1. Notice when you are making connections between events that are disconnected the first step is always to create more awareness about how our mind works. Knowing that all human beings are storytellers and meaning-makers instantly creates a new awareness. Now that this awareness is there, notice when you are making connections between disparate events. Just notice.
  2. Pull those events apart, separate them – when you start to create stories about your reality, which include connecting events or pieces of information that are disconnected, you can pull them apart. Separate them, and leave them that way. More power.
  3. Reorient yourself to the current reality – now that these events, situations, and or information have been separated, you can reorient yourself to the reality as it is, instead of the reality you’ve been creating. Be with that reality, connect with it, really see it as it is. 
  4. Notice the difference in how you feel – as you practice noticing your mind and how the mind connects disparate events and information, notice how you feel. How do you feel when you have the power to pull those events apart? Empowered, maybe? Excellent. If you don’t feel empowered right away, don’t worry, keep practicing.
  5. Repeat – building healthy habits, as has been aforementioned, takes practice. Humans also like patterns, or habits, so continue to practice noticing. It takes time. Know though that the only way to become experienced in this practice, like anything, takes doing it again and again. There is no one way, and there is not right and wrong. There is just doing. Again, and again, and again. And, you will get better at it.

There we go. Now what?

Well, if you are so inclined to do so, practice. If not, that’s okay. What I can say is that there was a time when I suffered from terrible anxiety. Much of my anxiety had to do with the stories in my head, which were, of course, not really real.

They were created through habitual thinking. Through connecting disparate events about the world, myself in the world, and about information contained in my head.

You do have a choice. Today, right now. You can choose a different path. One with more power, and empowerment. It takes time. Yet, anything worthwhile always does.

Be well. Choose well.

#connectingdispirateevents, #covid-19, #creatingmorepoweroveryourreality, #creatingpower, #developingnarratives, #development, #faultythinking, #growth, #growthmindset, #humandevelopment, #institutionalracism, #makingmeaning, #meaningmaking, #mindfulness, #psychology, #reality, #selfdevelopment, #stories, #storytelling, #systematicracism, #thepowerofchoice, #wildfires

3 Reasons Why Creating Alignment With Your Why Is Important; And, 3 Simple Steps to Create Your Why

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Have you ever thought about why you do what you do? Maybe you already know, and maybe not. Either way, know that knowing why you do what you do is very important.

You can think about your why as the part of you that drives you to be the person you are today. It is something emotional, not intellectual. It lives deep within us, gives us our sense of purpose, and it also gives people that we know the knowing of who we are as human beings.

Here is a great Ted Talk by Simon Sinek about why your why is so important.

Simon Sinek

Though Simon’s Ted Talk is framed as a leadership principle, it’s applicable to all human beings. To anyone interested in connecting with other human beings on a deeper level.

As I was thinking more about my why this past week, it occured to me that creating alignment with our why, connecting it to those we know, teams we lead or work on, organizations we work within, and communities we belong to is also very important. Why?

There are three main reasons.

Photo by Quino Al on Unsplash

1. Connection

When we connect our why to those closest to us, we create and have a deeper connection with them. We are able to better understand their why through the connection we see in our why.

And, the converse is also true. People can better understand our why through the connection they see in their why. And, this holds true even if they don’t know their why, or we don’t know ours. Really.

Further, we can also deepen our connections with people that know us very little by creating alignment with our why. Why? Because inside our why, they can see aspects of themselves. Really. Think about a time when you were moved emotionally. What happened?

Chances are you felt a deep connection with the person, company, movie, insert here whatever you were engaging with. When we are moved deeply, we can see aspects of ourselves in that which we are engaging with. Powerful.

Photo by Adam Winger on Unsplash

2. Relatability

Creating alignment with our why creates more relatability with those closest to us. And, when we connect our why through all of our relationships, the relatability connects us on a deeper level to everyone in our lives, including our teams, organizations, and community.

We instantly become more relatable as a human being. Again, this is so because people can see aspects of their own humanity in your why, or your story.

These deep connections keep us coming back for more. Really. Think about all the people in your life. Think about their why, even those that are unspoken, or unrealized. What do you see? Still thinking? That’s okay. Here is what I see.

I see that we are pulled closer to those we can relate to and understand. We are also pulled closer to those that move us, inspire us, and touch us in some way. Why’s are powerful.

Photo by Danica Tanjutco on Unsplash

3. Purpose

Simply, when we create alignment with our why through all of our relationships, our connection is deeper, there is more relativity and relatability, and we also create alignment with our purpose, or vision.

When you share your why with others, and intentionally create alignment with your why, you create a very special context. A context that welcomes a shared vision of a future that you are creating together. Whether that is within a relationship, a team, an organization, or a community. It works the same way.

Working within a vision is a much different experience than working without one. Truly. Visions are powerful. Visions are created from why’s.

3 Simple Steps to Create Your Why

If you’ve already created your why, awesome. If not, create one. It’s not difficult. Really. How, you ask? Here are 3 simple steps you can follow to create your why.

  1. Write down why you do what you do.
    1. Now, I’m not talking about pay, benefits, or some other intellectual reason why you do what you do. I’m talking about your emotional-self. The part of you that is inspired to create change in the world. Now, with this frame, answer why do you do what you do, and write down all the ideas that come into your head and heart. All of them
  2. Pick your top 3 reasons from the list
    1. Pick your tops 3 reasons from the list that resonate most with you. You know, the ones that send tingles up your arms and through your body. The ones that make you smile really big, giggle even, as you think about creating that outcome, or result. Yep, that’s it. Those are the ones.
  3. Create your why statement
    1. Now take those three reasons and fashion a statement. Sometimes it will be a single sentence, sometimes it will be a paragraph. Depends. There are no rules here, except that it needs to move you, inspire you, touch you in some way. If it does, it will move, touch, and inspire others. Trust me.

There you go, nice work.

Alright, that’s 3 reasons why creating alignment with your why is important; and, 3 simple steps to creating your why. Pretty simply, yet very powerful.

Next time we will take a look at 5 simple steps you can take to create alignment with your why.

Until then, keep creating. Creating your why, aligning your why with other why’s, and keep inspiring others to do the same.

#businessalignment, #creatingalignmentinyourwhy, #creatingconnection, #creatinginspiration, #creatingpurpose, #creatingrelatability, #creatingvision, #creatingyourstory, #creatingyourwhy, #development, #growth, #humanconnection, #humandevelopment, #inspirational, #leadership, #leadershipdevelopment, #organizationalalignment, #selfdevelopment, #simonsinek, #teamalignment, #vision

The Social Construction Series Part 2: 5 Reasons Why Understanding The Social Construction of Knowledge is Important

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In The Social Construction Series Part 1: 7 Reasons Why Understanding Social Constructions Is Important, I write about the need to understand how the world is actually socially constructed. All of it. Important.

One of the most important social constructions to understand is how knowledge is socially constructed. Numerous books and articles have been written on this topic, from both a theoretical and practical perspective.

Here, we will explore the social construction of knowledge likewise. Both theoretically and practically. Ready? Let’s go.

Let’s first define knowledge.

knowledge

noun ˈnɒlɪdʒ/ /ˈnɑːlɪdʒ/

  1. [uncountable, singular] the information, understanding, and skills that you gain through education or
    1. experience practical/medical/scientific knowledge
    2. knowledge of/about something He [she] has a wide knowledge of painting and music.
    3. There is a lack of knowledge about the tax system.

There we go.

Now before we go onto our discussion, let’s take a look at what two prominent philosophers had to say about knowledge, Jurgen Habermas, and Michel Foucault.

Habermas’s Perspective

“Habermas argues that domination is an obstacle in the pursuit of true knowledge” (Anttonen, Saila. 1999).

University of Leeds

Foucault’s Perspective

“Foucault, however, argues that all knowledge is constituted and socially constructed under conditions of power” (Anttonen, Saila. 1999).

University of Leeds

And, what prey tell, do both of these philosophers consider an obstacle to knowledge for some, and a boon for others? Power.

Let’s now consider the social construction of knowledge.

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How is Knowledge Constructed?

Knowledge is continually produced, internalized, and practiced, or acted upon. Though not always in this order. Sometimes intellectual knowledge precedes practical knowledge, and sometimes practical knowledge precedes intellectual knowledge. Depends.

Think about a time when you learned something through doing. For instance, learning how to drive a car. You can possess the intellectual knowledge about how to drive a car, yet until you actually drive a car, you don’t possess the knowledge necessary to drive a car.

You need both. And, in fact, some would argue, as would I, that practical knowledge outweighs intellectual knowledge. For it is in the doing, or practice, that we learn the most.

We accumulate the real knowledge about something when we do it.

Conversely, however, you can ask me to create a presentation on the social construction of knowledge, yet unless I possess the intellectual knowledge about the social construction of knowledge, I will be unable to create that presentation, try as I might.

Therefore, knowledge is constructed two ways. Through our intellect and through practice. Both.

Who Constructs Knowledge?

Everyone constructs knowledge. From a young child to an older adult, knowledge is continuously produced, internalized, and practiced. Knowledge is all around us. Everywhere.

Think about an interaction you’ve had recently where you learned something new, or taught someone something new. That is knowledge production.

Knowledge is produced, internalized, and practiced continuously, all day, every day.

Yet, there is some knowledge that is considered more illusive, more special, or maybe the more appropriate term is specialized. You typically go to University, College, or Trade School to learn about these types of specialized knowledge.

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Who Constructs Specialized Knowledge

Simple answer, experts. Yet, what does that really mean? Ah, good question. Someone is considered an expert when they have attained a reasonable amount of intellectual and or practical knowledge about a particular subject or topic. Simple. Why does this matter?

Because the humans that have constructed this knowledge, are just that, human. Meaning that they are like you, like me, and like everyone else. Full of strengths and weaknesses. Both

People often get caught up in the term, expert, thinking that because someone has a degree or certification in one specialized area or another, that they should know what is best for us, or know the best path to take in a certain area of our lives.

Yet, because experts are also human means that they are not infallible. Important. Additionally, because we know that the world and all knowledge within it is socially constructed, we also know that there are many, many ways to understand a subject or topic. Many ways. Not one.

Further, not all knowledge about a particular subject or topic has yet been discovered. Meaning that there is always something more to learn. Always.

Here is what Socrates said about knowledge.

“At the trial, Socrates says, “The only true wisdom consists in knowing that you know nothing.” Socrates put emphasis on knowledge all his life because he believed that “the ability to distinguish between right and wrong lies in people’s reason not in society.”

The Independent

Ah, wonderful. According to Socrates, then, it is up to the individual, each one of us, to distinguish between right and wrong. And that includes distinguishing between the right and wrong of what someone is telling us is true about our bodies, families, community, and the greater world.

Of course, that does not mean that we don’t need assistance from others, and access to the knowledge we need to make informed decisions and choices. Quite the contrary. More assistance and access is needed.

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How is Knowledge Disseminated?

Knowledge is disseminated in many different ways. We’ve covered some of them already, such as through Universities, Colleges,and Trade Schools. Yet, knowledge is also produced, internalized, and practiced in many other social contexts, which are typically referred to as social institutions.

Before we go further, let’s define the term social institution.

“Typically, contemporary sociologists use the term to refer to complex social forms that reproduce themselves such as governments, the family, human languages, universities, hospitals, business corporations, and legal systems. A typical definition is that proffered by Jonathan Turner (1997: 6): “a complex of positions, roles, norms and values lodged in particular types of social structures and organising relatively stable patterns of human activity with respect to fundamental problems in producing life-sustaining resources, in reproducing individuals, and in sustaining viable societal structures within a given environment.”

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Ah, helpful. Thus far, we’ve covered the social construction of knowledge within University, College, and Trade Schools, yet as you can read above, there are many social institutions that socially construct knowledge.

The issue? Same as with the socially constructed knowledge that Universities, College’s, and Trade Schools produce. When we internalize a socially constructed view of the world, and our place in it, we are receiving knowledge that has been produced within a very particular framework.

And, those frameworks include within them people that have biases, just like you and I. Yep. We can deny we have biases, yet we all have them. They are part of socialization.

All socialization, which just means the how, what, why, when, and where of all that you learned as a child, youth, and young adult has within it bias. It has to. It’s one way of viewing the world. Yet, it’s not the only way.

Now, choose any social institution you like, and we can discuss the problems inherent with the production, internalization, and then the eventual reproduction of that knowledge through practice, or action. What problems, you ask? Good question.

One of the largest problems, or issues, we have just discussed. Because we know that knowledge is socially constructed, and we know that all social institutions have within them a particular worldview (or bias) this knowledge then, which is often told as truth, is not truth.

This knowledge is, rather, a subjective interpretation of life and the world through one lens, or viewpoint.

However, when we internalize this socially constructed knowledge as truth, we limit ourselves. We limit that which we can really know about the world and life. If we are conscious of this fact, and continue to choose a limited framework, very well.

However, most people are unaware, so do not actively choose. They subscribe to a particular set of knowledge constructs because they were socialized to do so. Many people live their entire lives this way.

Hm. What to do? Before we get to that question, let’s take a look at obstacles to the acquisition of knowledge. Important.

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What are the obstacles to the acquisition of knowledge?

As we’ve discussed, Habermas and Foucault would both argue that power is an obstacle to the acquisition of knowledge. Meaning that with more power comes more knowledge. Or, maybe, it’s that with more knowledge comes more power?

Actually power and knowledge have a reciprocal relationship. Meaning that with more knowledge, you do have more power. Likewise, with more power, you have more access to knowledge. Truth.

And, then?

Well, those with power construct more knowledge, especially of the specialized kind. And, as we’ve discussed, accessing such knowledge is inaccessible for many people.

Therefore understanding how knowledge is socially constructed is important for everyone. Why?

5 Reasons Why Understanding The Social Construction of Knowledge is Important

1. Know matter how much you know intellectually, you must practice it

Practicing our intellectual knowledge is necessary to develop ourselves. When we learn something, and internalize it, the cycle of knowledge production is not complete.

We must practice that knowledge to really know it.

Once practiced, we know it through our entire selves, which is a very different experience than simply having intellectual knowledge about a subject or topic.

2. You can do something with that which you know, or are knowledgeable about

Knowing that knowledge is socially constructed, and that you are an active participant in constructing knowledge creates an opportunity for you to practice distributing your particular knowledge to others.

You are the only one that can educate someone on that which you know, just as you know it.

And, when you give out that which you are knowledgeable about, you will get back that which someone else is knowledgeable about. Meaning, that you will now have acquired more knowledge by giving someone your knowledge. Reciprocal learning.

3. Specialized knowledge is an interpretation, so question it

When we know that all knowledge is socially constructed, we know that questioning all that we learn is necessary and needed. We must question what experts tell us is true about our bodies, families, community, and the greater world.

When we begin to question other people’s truths, we create a space to develop ourselves more. Why?

Because we have created a space to learn more from the expert. Simple. When we don’t take expert knowledge at face value, we create a space to learn more about the subject or topic. Keep questioning.

4. Because bias is inherent in all socially constructed knowledge, be wary of limitation

When we accept knowledge as true, which is given to us by a social institution we limit ourselves. We limit what is knowable.

However, as was aforementioned, when we question that knowledge, we create the opportunity to learn more, and develop more. We don’t accept one worldview or interpretation of the world, which is limiting.

We know knowledge is socially constructed, so we question. We question the knowledge. We become unlimited.

5. Search for knowledge everywhere, both intellectually, and in practice

When we know that knowledge precedes and follows power, we can intentionally create opportunities to learn more. Acquiring more knowledge, both intellectually and practically, moves us forward as human beings.

When we internalize and practice what we learn, we also create an opportunity to produce something out of this knowledge. Of which this article is an example.

And, when we practice that which we know, we have more power as a human being.

In Closing: Question Everything

My final thoughts on the social construction of knowledge is to question everything. Really.

Question the knowledge you now have. Question the knowledge people communicate to you. Question all of it. Powerful.

We choose to accept the knowledge that we have, as well as the knowledge that is communicated to us as true. However, when we know that the world is socially constructed, and that all knowledge is likewise socially constructed, we create an opportunity to question these truths.

Both the ones we’ve considered as truth for most of our lives, and other people’s truths.

We also create a developmental opportunity for ourselves, and as we have discussed, for everyone that we know. We move ourselves from a limited framework to an unlimited one.

Remember, on any subject or topic, there is more to learn. Always. Because we know this to be true, there is always an opportunity to share your knowledge with someone, and for them to share their knowledge with you.

That which you know is powerful. That which you can learn about is powerful.

Knowledge that is produced, internalized, and practiced is socially constructed by you, by me, by experts, by every human being. Thus, question it, question all of it.

Definition of knowledge taken from Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries.

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