Guest post by François Weber.
How do you feel when you are cut off in the middle of expressing a beautiful thought?
Authentic Organization coaching modules for teams are structural approaches to discuss several aspects of topical subjects in organizations. For some of the modules, a most striking feature is the strict time limit for distinct aspects to be discussed. For certain themes (often presented as a slide) the time to discuss can be limited to only ten minutes or sometimes even less. This can lead to a scenario where after listening to a few comments from other participants you just start to warm up and when your turn comes up you carefully formulate your thoughts to be suddenly cut off by the facilitator. Now, this does not happen only to you, all participants get their fair share of this “treatment”. But still, how do you feel when you are cut off in the middle of expressing a beautiful thought? Well, I can tell you how I feel when this happens; frustrated and neglected. So what is the wisdom behind this practice?
Let us visit a smithy
Let me guide your imagination to a forge. You do not need to be Hephaestus to know that the blacksmith uses the principles of heating and cooling to form new shapes in metal. Somewhere between the heating and cooling, the blacksmith casts, bulges, kinks, bends and hence buckles the malleable metal. The process of heating up the metal is often repeated several times. Metal is known for its dimensionally stable shape, hence its utility as an instrument. Thoughts share this property of the metal. Thoughts have a tendency to remain unchanged in our minds once we consider them useful. And just as a metal, thoughts are pretty resistant to change.
Use your brain as your anvil
So what happens with your beautiful thoughts that will not see the light of day during a coaching session because the next slide is presented and you are asked to concentrate on a new topic. The thought is lying there on the surface of your cortex if you use the secret of the blacksmith trade; the sudden pause in warming up your thought gives you the opportunity to use your cortex as an anvil. The thought will come under the direct impact of the next topical subject, and then the next, and so on. Separately and repeatedly reworking the process brings sophistication to the art, like the making of Japanese copper teapots or the renowned samurai swords. If we view the limited time in the coaching sessions in this perspective, we start to see the unique chance to forge thoughts by undergoing several distinct formative processes (in de modules we work with an average of seven slides) while your thoughts stay malleable on the anvil.
Why would we go through this
The future of humanity will always depend on adaptation. We will need our intelligence to survive. An important aspect of intelligence is being able to combine different thoughts. The ways of combining thoughts are endless, varying from relatively simple, combining two opposing thoughts, to compose complex polyrhythms. Subjecting yourself to this experience will bring you the joy of discovering new instruments of thoughts and awareness. After some practice, even artful brightsmith statuettes may be part of your new tool kit.
The differential man. A blogpost about combining opposing thoughts
Visiting a beautiful trade. Enjoy the beauty
Glossary of useful terms in the forgery trade:
- Anvil: a heavy iron block with a flat top and concave sides, on which metal can be hammered and shaped.
- Buckling: a bend, bulge, kink, wave, etc. in a workpiece.
Image: Painting: Hephaestus by Francesco Bassano the Younger 1592.