Thanking Our Self vs Fighting Our Self

This morning, while reading parts of Lisa Laskow Lahey and Robert Kegan’s Immunity to Change book, I was surprised by how it’s approach is remarkably similar to the Two Loops Model which is a theory of change by the Berkana Institute. What I mean by this is that there isn’t an emphasis on creating a conflict between the old and new system (i.e. seeing one as “bad” and the other “good”) but rather it’s about seeing each system as a natural part of a larger dynamic.

For example, in Immunity to Change, when one realizes that one’s “bad” behaviours are arising out a previous “good” (albeit now archaic) system which is trying defend and protect you (ie “save your life”), one’s perception suddenly changes towards these behaviours, recognizing and valuing them now for their previous “brilliant and highly effective” service.

So it’s not so much that we want to get rid of and discard the “valued service” of our previous identity and sense of self, which has helped us grow and evolve to where we are now, but rather we want to recode it, so it’s no longer working against us and impeding our further growth. Note that this directly correlates with what happens when one evolves to a higher stage of development. It’s not about getting rid of and discarding a previous stage but recoding it so that all attained stages to date can be maintained in a spectrum, allowing us to maintain different needs at different stages, while being open to further growth at the same time.

However, in some instances an immune system can threaten our continued good health. When it rejects new material, internal or external to the body, that the body needs to heal itself or to thrive, the immune system can put us in danger. In these instances the immune system is no less focused on protecting us. It is just making a mistake. It does not understand that it must alter its code. It does not understand that, ironically, in working to protect us, it is actually putting us at serious risk.

Immunity to Change

Actually now that I think about, this also remarkably reminds me of a Tiago Forte’s article on leveraging constraints, in particular this quote below.

The difficulty in applying this concept to individual learning is that, in this case, you are the system. It’s a little disconcerting being accelerated, turned inside out, and then sucked into an alternate dimension where everything you were sure was true is wrong. Or worse, irrelevant.

Tiago Forte, The Throughout of Learning


From Finding Answers To Finding Questions

Finding the questionable source of our creative ocean within our streams of thought.

For many years, I’ve kept reiterating that what brings people purposefully together aren’t answers but questions. That’s because these questions are like quests that bring a “company“ of people together, all adventuring for the same thing.

While reading more of How To Take Smart Notes by Sönke Ahrens, it’s becoming more and more evident to me that this intuition I’ve had about questions forms the basis of one’s research or work, as described in the book.

In effect, most of what we connect with in our daily lives usually ties into an open question in our life that we’re trying to answer. Thus, when we bump into something during our journey, we compare it with one of these overarching questions (as Richard Feynman describes) to see if what we’ve found is meaningful and matters in trying to answer this specific question.

If what we’ve found is meaningful then we collect it as a step in our larger journey of trying to answer this question. What I’ve just described here is described as a sequence in terms of note taking within Sönke Ahrens’ book. In effect, it’s a stream or clustering of notes that all relate to something meaningfully important to you.

But the thing that is becoming so very evident to me is that instead of just doing the obvious which is getting excited when we find new information and knowledge that we can add to this stream, we need to also step back and immediately go beyond this as well.

Why? Because the thing to realize is that more often than not, a lot of these things we’re connecting with and collecting aren’t completely self-evident to us at first. More often than not, especially within my own life, they’ve just been a feeling or an intuition to follow. It’s only after I’ve explored them for a while, which requires trusting myself that this feeling will lead somewhere, that they finally reveal themselves to me (i.e. I never fully realized I was researching creativity until almost a decade after research “it”).

So all said and done, more and more I’m realizing that instead of continually looking downstream of my thoughts to see and find what will emerge as an answer, the greater importance is more to look upstream at its source to see and find what is the question that is producing this stream of thought in the first place.

Because more and more it feels like when I collectively understand these key questions that are producing these creative flows within my life, it will in turn help me understand how all of these streams of thought are connecting up and becoming an empowering larger river that eventually leads to an inspiring ocean and a new world of possibilities beyond it.


Understanding Yourself To Understand Others

How to evolve beyond our basic human fundamental needs and discover a whole new way of being.

Once you understand yourself, it’s very easy to understand everyone else. So easy because we’re actually not that different. We’re actually painfully quite ordinary. How our ordinariness and our trauma and our pain manifests is very different. But the root causes to why we act in the ways that we act often is insecurity. We want belonging. We want acceptance. Fundamental things to a human. If we are more understanding of at least ourselves, you know, it’s so hard to judge other people. 

Ayishat Akanbi, The Problem with Wokeness

BTW these basic “human fundamentals” she’s talking about mirror with what both Richard Barrett has been talking about for decades as The Values of Humanity and what Scott Barry Kaufman is now providing another perspective of (using a newer metaphor to help describe it to others, so they can relate to it more easily). What they’re talking about here are deficiency needs which were first revealed by Abraham Maslow. And if we can “rise above them“, we can finally have the opportunity to “open ourselves up” to our growth needs.

Maslow argued that all the needs can be grouped into two main classes of needs, which must be integrated for wholeness: deficiency and growth.

Deficiency needs, which Maslow referred to as “D-needs,” are motivated by a lack of satisfaction, whether it’s the lack of food, safety, affection, belonging, or self-esteem. The “D-realm” of existence colors all of our perceptions and distorts reality, making demands on a person’s whole being: “Feed me! Love me! Respect me!” The greater the deficiency of these needs, the more we distort reality to fit our expectations and treat others in accordance with their usefulness in helping us satisfy our most deficient needs. In the D-realm, we are also more likely to use a variety of defense mechanisms to protect ourselves from the pain of having such deficiency in our lives. Our defenses are quite “wise” in the sense that they can help us to avoid unbearable pain that can feel like too much to bear at the moment.

Nevertheless, Maslow argued that the growth needs—such as self-actualization and transcendence—have a very different sort of wisdom associated with them. Distinguishing between “defensive-wisdom” and “growth-wisdom,” Maslow argued that the Being-Realm of existence (or B-realm, for short) is like replacing a clouded lens with a clear one. Instead of being driven by fears, anxieties, suspicions, and the constant need to make demands on reality, one is more accepting and loving of oneself and others. Seeing reality more clearly, growth-wisdom is more about “What choices will lead me to greater integration and wholeness?” rather than “How can I defend myself so that I can feel safe and secure?”

Scott Barry Kaufman, Transcend: The New Science of Self-Actualization

Seeing Your Own Worth

Demanding other people to see your worth is the first clue that you don’t.

Ayishat Akanbi

This is so where I am at right now. I’ve actually journaled about this very thing earlier this week.

In effect, I think and believe that I will be at “home” with myself when I finally convince other people of my worth, helping them to see it. But I won’t. I will only be at “home” with myself when I see my own worth first.

Once you reach that state, when you are truly and fully at “home” with yourself, accepting yourself as you are in the present moment (rather who you wish you could be in the future), that’s when you no longer require others to see your worth because it no longer matters. You can finally just be who you uniquely are.

Also, it may sound weird that I know this, yet I can’t seem to achieve it. That’s the thing though that a lot of people can’t seem to grasp about what it takes to truly transform yourself. Knowing something isn’t enough. You truly have to live it, experience it, and feel it to fully understand it and grasp it. Thinking about it isn’t enough.


Stepping Out of Our Way

You have to let the idea of yourself get out of the way of yourself.

Ayishat Akanbi

Moving Beyond “Normal” Alienation

We should revel in the discomfort of the current moment to generate a ‘new paradigm’, not a ‘new normal’. Feeling unsettled, destabilized and alone can help us empathize with individuals who have faced systematic exclusions long-ignored by society even before the rise of COVID-19 — thus stimulating urgent action to improve their condition. For these communities, things have never been ‘normal’.

Chime Asonye, There’s nothing new about the ‘new normal’. Here’s why


The Inhumanity of Creeping Normality

The phrase, “new normal,” erroneously implies that the pre-Covid world was normal when, in fact, it was profoundly disbalanced, destructive, and devastating for many. We had normalized an unnatural and aberrant world order where 26 individuals across the globe owned more wealth than the bottom 50%, where it was ok to acidify oceans, clear-cut forests, mine the mountains, and exterminate life as long as the GDP grew. None of this can be defined as normal by any stretch of the imagination.

Sahana Chattopadhyay, “Befriending Uncertainty” in a Post-Covid World


Dying To Live

You have to die a few times before you can really live.

Charles Bukowski

Transitions Begin With Endings

Transition is the inner psychological process that people go through as they internalize and come to terms with the new situation that the change brings about. Empathetic leaders recognize that change can put people in crisis. The starting point for dealing with transition is not the outcome but the endings that people have in leaving the old situation behind.

Change will only be successful if leaders and organizations address the transition that people experience during change. Supporting people through transition, rather than pushing forward is essential if the change is to work as planned. This is key to capitalizing on opportunities for innovation and creating organizational resilience.

William Bridges Associates


When Work Becomes Play

Work and play are words used to describe the same thing under differing conditions.

Mark Twain