Vertical Development

Supporting & Integrating Higher Stages of Psychological Growth in Our Newer Institutions

I was having a conversation with my wife, giving examples of the early stages of vertical development and how our worldview changes as we psychologically mature, when she replied “Well that’s just growing up.”

I kind of laughed at her response and said she was right but the problem is that a lot of people’s physical growth and psychological growth may not always align. In effect, someone may grow up physically and look like an “adult” but they may have experienced trauma and thus may not have psychologically matured.

Beyond this though there is an even greater problem. Society only knows how to support your growth up to a specific stage, conventionally known as an “adult” but there are more stages of psychological growth and maturity that one can evolve beyond that. It’s just that society, in a conventional sense, isn’t aware of these additional stages of psychological growth, so you have to find someone often outside the mainstream who is aware of this and can help you with your growth.

To me, the present work today is about making people aware of these higher stages of psychological growth, so much so that vertical development becomes embodied in the newer institutions emerging in our world today and thus becomes the foundational backbone of institutions in the future.

Within The Future of Work domain, these organizations are often referred to as learning organizations. But I think they will go beyond work and beyond learning to integrate playing as well. Not “playing” in the conventional sense but playing with regards to loosening the conventional social structures and identities that rigidly define and limit ourselves, our organizations, and our world today, and stepping beyond them, imagining and roleplaying something completely new and novel.

By Nollind Whachell

Questing to translate Joseph Campbell's Hero’s Journey into The Player’s Handbook for the roleplaying game called Life, thus making vertical (leadership) development an accessible, epic framework for everyone.

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