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The Explorer's Dilemma

No explorer enters wilderness expecting to find adoring throngs there. More likely, he’ll find nobody home, or find people for whom his wilderness seems like home, but nobody to appreciate his intrepid excursion. Returning to what passes for civilization, he might well find nobody who appreciates his discoveries, either, since only he and his small company have seen what they found there. Most can’t help but misunderstand his stories since they have no basis upon which to properly interpret them. Such seems the explorer’s life.

Such seems The Explorer’s Dilemma. Slip over here for more ...



“Inspiration is needed in geometry just as much as in poetry.” Pushkin

I find it easy to proclaim that insight resolves more difficulties than answers ever do, even though this notion might initiate a slow, self-referential, inward spiral in search of insight. Where does insight originate?

I know, or I think I know, where answers reside. I pose a question then initiate research with the implicit assumption that someone’s already answered it, or something similar, before. The friendly research librarians can help, though these days, search a-la Google® more often stands in for old-fashioned research. And if I’m fortunate enough to hold a fundamentally decidable question, either search or research will likely satisfy my curiosity.

Few of my questions seem to comfortably carry the fundamentally decidable label anymore, if they ever did. Slip over here for more ...


Expert Tease

Pity the expert. He seems able to already know how the play will turn out, to have out-run his own past, and to confidently hold his presence. Novices crowd around after his keynote, hoping, I suppose, that some of that goody might slough off on ‘em.

Expertise seems to come in at least two flavors: information and definition, savory and sweet, but these apparent flavors might not qualify as flavors at all. Perhaps they arise from completely different classes of experience; one sensual, the other notional; imagined.

None of this perspective rises to even the lowliest threat level unless the novice or the expert mistakes the one for the other: information for definition or definition for information. Each seems easily misplaced. Slip over here for more ...



Yesterday, I listened in to a webcast celebrating the Peter Block book Stewardship’s twentieth anniversary second edition release. Meg Wheatley interviewed Peter, and Steven Piersante, President of Berrett-Koehler Publishers described his experience founding and working within a Stewardship-oriented business. As usual when listening to visionaries chat, I felt nostalgic for those times when I found myself within a community centered upon Stewardship: where individuals assume full responsibility without first insisting upon authority.

The conversation drifted toward organizations, with most of the questioners wondering how to shift their organization in this direction, and I noticed myself feeling increasingly uncomfortable. Slip over here for more ...



A certain fixation seems one of the inescapable collateral effects of a problem orientation. I’m easily seduced into trying to fix if I see every complaint as a problem. This preference easily degrades into a form of addiction, where I seek out problem situations so I can show off by big, shiny wrench.

I am rather proud of my wrench. And I’m encouraged by my many successes employing it. If I am not always the master of every difficulty, I am always the master of my toolbox.

I suppose enlightenment begins sometime after I realize that no wrench in my expansive toolbox fits the nut I’m convinced needs tightening, or when I begrudgingly accept that no nut exists for my wrenching to secure. Sure, I’ll try the vice grips and even that antique Model T spanner I found at a barn sale, but they won’t work, either. In frustration, then, wisdom might prevail. Slip over here for more ...


No Problem

I’m declaring my last month sensitivity to ‘leaversmith,’ aka leadership, officially over. I doubt that I’ll ever again be able to swallow the term leadership again without chewing and finding some surprising resistance there. My learning high-centers on the emerging conviction that I just gotta inject my own situational meaning into every invocation of that notorious ‘L’ word, otherwise, it’s clearly meaningless. Over the past month, I’ve encountered hundreds of instances of ‘leadership,’ each one cloaked in a fuzzy reassurance, and meaningless without my more-or-less mindful intervention.

Friends have published books over the last month featuring the ‘L’ word in the title, but most offered helpful follow-up advice in their subtitles. Read carefully! I’m learning to slow down and chew before I swallow, even when—especially when—that meaning was supposed to be pre-conscious. Slip over here for more ...


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