What does it feel like when effort invested in vain?
I will speak for me; I am frustrated, annoyed, hurt, disappointed. If there is seriously good reason then I can reconcile myself to the circumstance, actually, I usually do reconcile myself to reality since to do otherwise is to encourage ongoing depression and loss of fulfillment from life and with us only having one try at this trip we call life, I see no point in persisting with that level of self-destruction.
A significant aspect of the issue is our selection of the challenge we set for ourselves. It is one thing to take up a shovel and dig a swimming pool in our backyard and something very different to personally and only with a shovel to set out to shift Mount Everest six feet to the left.
This raises a common irritation of mine, the saying to pursue our dreams… I can dream of moving Mount Everest with a shovel, but it is fully beyond me. Hence our dreams need be in relation to our capacities and to the price we are prepared to pay. I think we instinctively do make that exact judgment call when we do set ourselves to dream and act to pursue that dream. When we do not, our friends look about for the strait jacket and nice men and woman in white coats.
Immediately we are scoping the question of when and under what circumstances do we give up? Clichés abound … quitters never win and winners never quit … and we return to the challenge of using a shovel to shift Mount Everest six feet to the left.
Judgment: But more, since the reality of our judgment embraces deep emotional choices of what we want for ourselves and how we seek to have our life express something more than the fact that we passed by, a fact rapidly dispersed by the multitude of spirits existing with us and following behind our existence all clamoring for recognition and self expression, circumstances where very quickly we shrink to a neural trace in mind of those to whom we were close, and then to less as the next generation merely notes our existence, if we are lucky, as a name on the family tree.
My path: Was pressed hard on me many years ago, 1978, I was in New York on business. During the weekend I visited the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art. It had a display of artifacts from Thrace, an ancient society in the mountains to the east above Greece, today again a nation.
The artifacts were remarkable, dating back to 1400BC (or BCE to be politically correct). Exquisite worked gold and other metal and wood utensils, jewelry, and ornaments. One however, caused me to stand for many, many minutes transfixed. It was a rhyton, a drinking vessel, in the form of a rearing stag; the wine was drunk from the mouth, the vessel filled from behind the neck. It was only a few inches tall, but was solid gold. The detail was remarkable; the eyes seemed to glow with life. It was from around 400 BCE.
Some unknown craftsman reached through time and touched me 2500 years later; an incredible legacy. They did not intend to, they merely did to the very best of their ability that which was in them to do.
What was I doing with my life that had the slightest chance of reaching through time to just the generation after next, never mind 100 generations?
Life can turn tiny moments that can define us.
My only skill lies in ideas.
I had just six years earlier completed my PhD in chemistry, and joined Shell Oil as a chemical sales representative. To Shell’s surprise and mine, I was good at it. They then opened up a position in their Head Office Personnel, as it was known then, as Training and Recruitment Officer. Again, to Shell’s surprise and mine I was a very good trainer. But during this stage, my scientific background generated questions on psychology, and human development and training etc. I had begun an extensive reading program five years earlier, and had begun the first steps at an extensive research plan in theoretical social science (although I did not think of it as that then, merely questions I was aiming to answer).
My chemistry PhD had given me an intellectual orientation toward precision. I was then offended in my reading in psychology, epistemology, social philosophy, and sociology by the lack of conceptual precision and had a sense that it did not have to be all so statistical and conceptually loose.
I had framed four questions in my notes:
§ If we had a complete and apt general theory of knowledge what would it tell us of knowledge and relationship knowledge makes with the objects of that knowledge?
§ If we had a complete and apt general theory of psychology what would it tell us of two people interacting?
§ If we had a complete and apt general theory of sociology what would it tell us of society and the development of society?
§ Given there is only one actor, people, what then are the necessary links between the first three questions?
As I stood, for a long time, the curator approached me to ask if I was alright. I said no, and spoke to him for some length. He nodded, smiled, touched my on the arm and said ‘good luck son’.
In the moment in that museum I committed to my path.
The questions were vastly more complex than I realized then.
I had a number of self-statements I used to guide my efforts.
§ I would not give a fig for simplicity this side of complexity but give my right arm for simplicity the other side of complexity. Oliver Wendell Holmes. The final intellectual target, to have simplicity on the other side of complexity, but first need to define the nature of the complexity.
§ The answer lies in knowledge, wisdom in the next question. Myself; used to ensure I always uncovered the next question so reinforced the demand for ongoing intellectual intensity.
§ Never did it for the money, only ever did it for challenge, the money just proves you got it right. LJ Fisher, NZ entrepreneur. The final standard, get it right.
In 1998 I had invested 20 years in researching and thinking and conceptualizing the issues embedded in the questions. I had read extensively, stretched myself to what I thought was my limits. I had fully defined the complexity that needed a solution but solutions that embodied simplicity, that bridged complexity, that I felt and sensed were ‘right’, eluded me.
I took a long holiday, during which I decided to give up on my quest, after 20 years, this was in 1998, that I could not solve the complexity I had defined, I could not find the singularity, the simplicity. I then returned home and started to write a book on management, I already had five in the market… and early one morning a few weeks after returning from holiday, as my then partner lay in bed and I was writing on my desk by my bedroom window, I wrote down a theory of psychology I did not actually realize I understood and had developed, it just came out of my fingers, I can still see and feel the moment when I realized what I had just written down and it included a general theory of knowledge and causality. My relief was overwhelming. It was so emotional I let it sit on my desk for several months, I would pick it up and look at it, and put it down, still frightened of it. Going to extensive efforts to define questions that chart and illuminate a complexity then the dreadful realization that the answers to those questions are beyond you, this was perhaps one of the worst moments of my life.
Solutions were not beyond me, they were however beyond my understanding of me. I lost faith in me, I gave up, or at least I think I did … but serendipity gave me back to me.
Finally I refined and formalized the ideas, drafting the ideas into papers at my web site www.grlphilosophy.co.nz. Although reading them today, them are often crude in relation to the insight I have now and to my skill at presenting these often quite complex ideas in an easily read form, that is not accident, since I have for the last five or seven years been working hard at the skill of presenting complex ideas into simple readable form able to be read with ease and engagement by anyone interested, and moving beyond that, even making the ideas interesting and engaging to read.
It was only when I begun to formalize the ideas that I grasped fully the extent of them. It was in effect a redesign of social science itself with core tenets, tools and processes all intertwined arising from key attitudes I had held and worked with for 20 years. The theories of psychology, knowledge and cause were emergent from the fundamental intellectual structure in a quite direct manner.
OPD theory: winning
1. Leadership judgment.
a. Build clear effective team game plan.
b. Integrate the individual game plans with the team game plan.
2. Leadership effectiveness:
a. Ask every person to make the choice to ‘turn up’ and do their bit as in their personal game plan, so contribute to the team success.
The chief issues of giving purpose to our passion are now sketched clear; they are largely emotional, related more to self-esteem and spiritual purpose than to rational strategic direction which can only give clarity to the deeper issues and provide articulation so that action can then follow with some precision.
Let us assume the deeper issues are clear and settled in your heart. What then?
Think in terms of a ‘game plan’. A clear summary of what you need to do to achieve the ambition that rests in your heart. The detail will depend on the exact nature of the aim, it can be detailed or simple, but should be detailed enough to offer clearly defined easily understood steps.
If you are part of a team and most of us are, then a personal game plan is derived from the expected performance in the team.
The term ‘game plan’ is drawn from sport, where we all know and agree these steps and this reasoned clarity in advance is useful even crucial.
Of course you need the skills to be able to do it. That goes without saying, and no point bluffing, if you do then very likely, if you are in a team someone else will need to cover your butt.
The next thing is to ‘turn up’. In sport, we all know and understand exactly what this means. It is much, much more than just physically being there. It is being there with intent and purpose focused on the game plan. It is delivery of the action in the game plan with commitment. The game plan is the skeleton, the bones of the task with the task itself being our best judgment of how to get the greatest success. But it is us ‘turning up’ that gives energy to the bones, brings the skeleton alive.
It is turning up that gives passion to purpose.
We do need to understand about bringing passion to our purpose; are the moments of truth, the moments where success is gained or lost, are they for brief weekly moments as in sport, or are they daily, six hours each day five and on half days each week? Or are they a few hours each week, where it is crucial to have good records of tasks, progresses and notes on the stage where one is at, and where discipline and patience needs support intensity and passion for a twenty year graft to get it right? And even more subtle, are we clear on when to push and when to wait, when to walk away and leave it and when to return, in these questions there is seldom a clear reasoned answer, only experience can guide us, so if you do not have it, then seek it and listen.
May passion ever move me but reason be my guide.
Passion is our driver, find yours. It will lie beyond thought in the center of your spirit. Draw from it the clear aim for you, judgment so you pit yourself against realistic dreams for you.
Don Quixote had the right spirit, but poor judgment.
You and only you can make your life meaningful for you. And the only meaning that will touch your heart is the one that you find and draw from your heart and make it real.
 OPD is the organization theory that emerges from applying the social science tools and fundamental theories of cause and knowledge and psychology to the question: How exactly is staff behavior linked to organization strategy? OPD is application of a fundamentally different social science to practical social question of how we make our organizations more effective in supporting community wealth and health.