How can I best summarise learnings from the past year?
Below is a distillation of some personal learnings and the audio of it being presented at Pollinators Social Member Meetup on 15th December
The guidance in the invitation to this event was to “share learnings and successes for 2017
”. Initially I had asked the organisers if I could answer a different question: sharing observations and insights from the last decade in Geraldton. My reasoning was that as Pollinators co-founder, extraordinarily active and interested participant-citizen-observer, that summarising ten years of trends and changes could be appropriate as a final contribution before no longer being a local resident. I prepared several versions of a 'decadal' presentation full of statistics, metaphors and insights.
However in the days and hours prior, it became clearer that what was asked for was perfect, so I instead followed the guidelines, tried to stick close to the same time limits as others, and contributed appropriately and aligned with the others present - personally, as a peer, and a pollinator.
Stripped of much context, details or examples to fit within time constraints, I hope it still makes sense and resonates. Thanks too, to the beautiful local community who hosted the evening, and added great humour as captured in the audio.
Rather than talk about a decade of learnings which I had threatened, I’m instead going to share four learnings from this year.
The first is about expression, and integrity. I can think I am my thoughts, mind, memories, aspirations and you can project your own delusions too, but actually they don’t exist, yet I do, like this, actually. The learning is about being honest. Having integrity in expression, in every moment, seems to make all the difference because everyone can and will see it……and my relationship with myself benefits from that integrity in expression. Transformation isn’t about aspiration its actuation i.e. actually, presently and it’s the same whether for me, a company or a city.
The second is about asking, well and good questions. What is it I want? What do I intend will occur from this? What are the conditions enabling of sustainable human communities? I ask badly, a lot, full of assumptions, projections, knowing, and sometimes completely misdirected. Asking well is like throwing my whole self into it, with an intention to become the inquiry and response. Rather than hiding, hedging, googling and reading, I centre in really wanting to know, look outward, open up, be vulnerable and direct all attention to the question. Suddenly it can hold me, us and becomes more important than anything because it is a good one, asked well.
The third is about contemplating, sincerely. By contemplation I am referring to a way to consider a question with the intention to actually get what is not yet known or beyond intellectual knowing. To get to the bottom of it and be in the middle of it, directly, experientially. Contemplation is a mystery in itself and paradoxical. I suspect many great scientists and entrepreneurs have this paradoxical combination of a focus and openness that goes beyond a ‘method’ leads them to question assumptions, pursue infinite iterations, and come up with something that’s truly transcendent.
Now, the fourth thing learning is about nothing. I learned what nothing is, what I am. And, that all this learning, efforts and insights are worth nothing, will come to nothing, that all I will ever do and say will all be gone. Like writing on water, not even on sand, as I will die and so will everything I care about or have created. And, I go on doing these things because it is what life is, and that in itself, that we can write on water, communicate with each other are mysteries and miracles….and in some impossible way we are still creating the foundations for the next potential.
The benefits I’ve found of integrity of expression, asking good questions well, and sincere contemplation are transformational. It means learning isn’t for later, done later, or intellectual, it’s presently enabled, and creates new possibilities now.
And here’s the thing, in actually creating something new once, or becoming someone different, I realised it can be done to infinity, endlessly, and so pretty much anything becomes a possibility, actually.
Conditions seem essential, not trivial: integrity of expression, good asking of questions, sincere contemplation….and some nothing to come from, go to and become.