Welcome to the Wisdom 101 Series!
This is a series of short, structured aphorismic pieces that offer an ontological perspective on a range of issues.
Ontology is the study of the nature of being. You can think of an ontological perspective as being akin to having the common sense of a Zen monk. Things are made clear because you have been mindful to remove your own personal, cultural or intellectual interpretations. You see things as they are and are not afraid to call it.
Essentially, good coaching delivers this type of perspective. There are those moments in a coaching session when everything goes quiet. You stop thinking and analysing and you see things for what they are. The problem is clear and the answer presents itself.
Hopefully you will experience some of those moments when reading this series.
Power and respect awaits those who have strong values and act on them
FEELING UNDECIDED about something? Chances are you’re not clear about what you stand for. When you get up in the morning and you have to be at work by eight o’clock there’s not much milling about wondering what to do next, is there? No, your decisions and actions come clearly out of that commitment to be at work on time. Even a complicated wardrobe debate is decided by the time imperative – you’re forced to make a choice and you do.
It’s really no different with the big things in our lives. When you find yourself taking a long time to decide on something, it’s most likely because you’re not clear on what you stand for. If Nelson Mandela had been unclear on whether he stood for freedom or for being with his family on weekends, South Africa might have had a very different history.
You might not agree with someone’s values, but you’ll recognise the power in them, and you’ll have some measure of respect for them, if they are clear what they stand for, if their actions are consistently aligned with their values. What about you, what do you stand for?
Bad decisions don’t matter when you’ve taken care to be ten points ahead
DESPITE WHAT we profess, most of us are not even honest for something as small as being late for a meeting – we make excuses, like blaming the traffic. Sportsmen and women know that they should not blame the ref for an unfair decision two minutes before time, as a result of which they lose – deep down they know it wouldn’t have mattered if they’d been ten points ahead.
Likewise, if you take responsibility to start out earlier, to be the cause of getting to your destination ten minutes early, no matter what, you wouldn’t be late. On the other hand, if you play the game to cut it fine, always making it by just a few seconds, then you must take the rap when it doesn’t go your way.
See yourself as the cause of everything that happens in your life.
If you’re in a financial crisis, check and see, what could you have done to make sure you were ten points ahead so that the referee’s decision going against you didn’t cause you to lose the game? You don’t have to torture yourself over it, but it will give you power if you take responsibility. Own up to your part in where you are right now. See yourself as the cause of everything that happens in your life. You may just find that it’s true on the upside as well – that you are in fact powerful enough to make good things happen too.