Progress, Like Performance, is a State of Mind
“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” – George Bernard Shaw
For the past several years, I have been grappling with my realization that pretty much everything I think, and everything that we think, is made up, which is to say: Whatever we think is real, isn’t, except in our own world. What we call reality is merely our interpretations of life around us.
Overall, we don’t know what is real, and, as Einstein comments, “Man will never be able to compare his pictures with the real mechanism, (the Universe) nor can he ever imagine the possibility of such a comparison!”
It’s one thing to realize this, at an intellectual level, but quite another to realize at the level of behavior, which is anchored and directed by the set of beliefs I have grown up with and nurtured. It’s been life changing and my life is very much better for it!
Being a consultant, endeavoring on how to impact the behaviors that drive performance for our clients, led me down this path originally.
Performance is driven by behavior; behavior is driven by our set of beliefs!
My new challenge is how to communicate about this in a way that opens portals to others. Being uncoupled from beliefs opens powerful possibilities for performance. Let’s look at a little background on this…
Why we resist facts
Most of us have a strong drive to hold on to pre-existing beliefs and convictions, which keep us anchored in the world. When your stance on controversial issues both cements your group identity and plants you in opposition to perceived enemies, changing it can exact a high personal toll.
“We are social animals, instinctively reliant on our tribe for safety and protection,” says risk perception expert David Ropeik, author of How Risky Is It, Really? “Any disloyalty literally feels dangerous, like the tribe will kick you out. “
Pulitzer Prize winning author Elizabeth Kolbert, writes about this in her recent book “Why Facts Don’t Change Our Minds,”
Reason is an evolved trait, like bipedalism or three-color vision. It emerged on the savannas of Africa and has to be understood in that context.
Reason developed not to enable us to solve abstract, logical problems or even to help us draw conclusions from unfamiliar data; rather, it developed to resolve the problems posed by living in collaborative groups, or our safe tribe.
And then to add a little spice to the conversation…from a recent Vanity Fair interview with RuPaul, celebrity Drag Queen, entertainer, musician, and creative thinker:
“…but that doesn’t mean it, Drag, will ever be truly mainstream,” RuPaul insists. “A superficial aspect of drag is mainstream. Like, the ‘Ooh, girl’ or ‘Hey girlfriend!’ or ‘Yaaas.’ That’s mainstream culture,” he says. “But true drag really will never be mainstream. Because true drag has to do with seeing that this world is an illusion, and that everything that you say you are and everything it says that you are on your driver’s license, it’s all an illusion.
“Most people will never in their lives understand what that is. Because they don’t have the operating system to understand that duality. I think most people have the ability to understand that but dare not go there. Because then they would be forced to deconstruct their whole belief system and build another one. Building a new belief system and then maintaining it is a tall order. A lot of times it means you have to leave your family and friends behind. Because they’re not gonna get it.”
The truth of what this world is, the truth of what people are, and how far we have come in civilization… which, by the way, is not very far. We are a very primitive people. And for people who are sweet, sensitive souls, it becomes a kind of torture.
Now we are entering a sacred season…
which has largely become focused on things and made up personas, i.e. Santa Claus. I’m not throwing shade on this holiday of holidays but using a great example of how the world gets made up and how we participate.
Historical evidence suggests that Jesus, the person, was born in the springtime — but that Christian missionaries adopted Yule celebrations, which occurred in November-December, to appease and convert pagans who were deeply, spiritually attached to their own holidays.
Early Christians were also fascinated by the rural, rustic pagan traditions. Particularly the German Yule and the Roman Saturnalia, both of which were really pretty wild parties that would rival the kind of celebrations Burning Man is known for.
No matter what we have done with this sacred season, it was founded in praise to Spirit, celebrating life, joy, and “connecting with our tribe!” In today’s world these same practices, reverence, and connecting with people drive performance in our organizations.
Our annual event in February will showcase how to apply these to the effectiveness of our leadership. Please join us for a great event. Register Here.
In that Spirit, I, and all of us at Momentum wish you awesome holidays, nurtured Spirit and a welcome to 2020, the very best year yet!
Hugs and Blessings,
Bonus feature for how we obey “the tribe.”