“Foolish wisdom is about dealing with the world in ways you have not before …”

 

Challenge is …
Most folks can’t get out of their own way

What I mean by “most folks can’t get out of their own way” is that they lead with their limitations. Of course, they don’t mean to … heck, they don’t even know their doing it 90-plus % of the time … but they do nonetheless.

The reason most folks lead with their limitations can be boiled down to just a few things:

  • Their limitations are intertwined with their “success formula” – i.e.: how they know to create the successes they do

  • They perceive the world from a limited point of view that’s relatively fixed and unchanging, i.e.: myopic perception

  • What they’ve experienced is what they think they’ll always experience, i.e.: they project their past into their future

  • The education they’ve had defines the world for them as they know it, i.e.: they haven’t learned to use their senses

  • Reality as they know it to be has a singular form that’s unchanging, i.e.: they seldom if ever challenge their beliefs

  • Truth/Knowledge/Learning … whatever … all exist “out there” beyond them, i.e.: expertise is external to them

I’m sure I could extend the list, but why? If you don’t get the pattern from what I’ve included above, more items in the list isn’t going to make it any clearer for you. In fact I could probably make it just one list item and cover the whole gambit …

  • Only socially validated and reinforced values are acceptable to them, i.e.: what they know instinctively and intuitively is put aside when they are confronted by others who demand socially acceptable “proof” … they are externally organized and other-referencing, versus internally organized and self-referencing

Now there’s nothing wrong with being externally organized and other-referencing per se … BUT it’s a function of interplay between context and content … and timing. When you know you don’t know, and you seek external input, from experts or otherwise, that’s wise … BUT, when you have gathered the information and knowledge you need the ultimate decision about what it means always remains personal … ONLY YOU CAN DECIDE WHAT’S TRUE FOR YOU.

This may seem obvious and self-evident, and to a very great extent it should be and is so. The challenge for most people is clear however …

SELF-DOUBT

FWIW I’m a big fan of doubt … until I don’t. To quote my own mentor, Roye Fraser …

“When in doubt don’t.” 

What Roye taught was that doubt meant, “not enough information” - simply meaning, you need to gather more information than you have, so you can remove the doubt. So until you become settled within yourself don’t take any action you don’t need to take before you need to take it.

The key in that statement is: “until you become settled within yourself don’t take any action you don’t need to take”

Yet, the deep challenge for most people is they’ve never learned how to know when they are settled within themselves, so they continue to look for and count on external information and validation, i.e.: social proof.

 

What to do about it …
(escaping the pattern of leading with your limitations)

This is in a very large part why I’ve shifted the presentation of what I’m doing around to focus on the idea of “Foolish Wisdom” … i.e. dealing with the world in ways you have not before (that will make you more successful). 

“Foolish Wisdom” is the wisdom of the Fool

This seems so very self-evident, yet most folks have forgotten who or what the Fool truly represents.

The Fool doesn’t represent stupidity, mental limitation, sensory inhibition or even immaturity as some seem to think.

The Fool represents the innate, naive, childlike wisdom that perceives with clarity and without distortion what is happening around them. 

The Fool is NOT childish, but childlike … a distinct difference. The Fool first perceives and then acts, without prejudice. When you get that last statement you’ll get how profound the position of the Fool truly is … beyond where some vast majority of people can or do act from themselves.

Let’s step back for a moment to an earlier part of this post. Take a look at these four bullet points again in relation to the statement about who the Fool perceives and acts:

  • They perceive the world from a limited point of view that’s relatively fixed and unchanging, i.e.: myopic perception

  • What they’ve experienced is what they think they’ll always experience, i.e.: they project their past into their future

  • The education they’ve had defines the world for them as they know it, i.e.: they haven’t learned to use their senses

  • Reality as they know it to be has a singular form that’s unchanging, i.e.: they seldom if ever challenge their beliefs

You can see that if these bullet points are accurate about how most people operate, it’s almost diametrically opposed to how the Fool operates. The typical person’s operating position is mired in prejudice, based on what they have been taught, what they’ve experienced and what they already believe. As it says, “they project their past into their future” … and this applies to how they judge what they haven’t experienced or learned about yet.

In working with some of the largest, most progressive and most well-funded businesses in the world, I’ve had the opportunity to counsel the senior most leaders of those organizations regarding decisions they needed or wanted to make (and sometimes about the ramifications of decisions they’ve already made). I’ve also spent thousands of hours in rooms with these same folks doing developmental training and facilitation work with them.

What I’ve found again and again is that these bright, extremely well educated, accomplished and successful individuals sometimes don’t know their rectum from a hole in the ground when it comes to making good decisions, taking meaningful action and/or leading others to do the same!

The “standard path” that many senior business leaders take (and you can include most entrepreneurs, business owners and professionals in this group too) … is to use past performance to determine the future direction and action they should, will and do implement. STUPID! STUPID!! STUPID!!! Not only do they do this in their organizations as leaders … often based on “best business practice” bullshit … they also do it in their personal lives. STUPID! STUPID!! STUPID!!! (I can’t say or emphasize this enough regarding this ridiculous pattern of thinking and behavior.)

Okay, let’s back off a minute … calm down and cool off, shall we?

Why would anyone do this if it were such a stupid thing to do?

Three profoundly powerful reasons:

  1. Because it’s embedded in their success strategy

  2. Because they’ve learned that this is the way to do things

  3. Because it’s socially acceptable to do it this way 

  4. And, when they do they get massive CYA (Cover Your Ass) benefits

Simply put, they don’t know any better … so they do what they know.

On the other hand, the Fool always knows that they don’t know … so they can’t do (act on) what they don’t know … instead the Fool acts “in time” based on real data/information in the system as it emerges, i.e.: their perception, decision-making and action strategy is always emergent.

 

Where to go (I’m going …) from here …

I’ve learned a tremendous amount of how to help people make transformational change in the last two plus decades of doing the work I do … and most of it revolves around helping them to unwind bad learning.

The starting point of real change is the ability to accept that what you’re doing now, and the way you’re doing it doesn’t work … or at least doesn’t work as well as it could. You’d have to be willing to try what you haven’t tried before … and YOU can’t do that … literally!!!

YOU can’t do what you haven’t done/tried before, because YOU won’t even be able to recognize it if it bit you on your arse!!!

You can literally only see, hear, feel, taste and smell what you are already accustomed to … until the doors of perception you operate from are opened further than they are now …

YOU CAN’T DO THIS YOURSELF!!! …
It must be done from outside of YOURSELF

There are pretty much two ways to get there … i.e.: outside of yourself:

 

  1. You can step aside from what you now know and believe … putting all your learning, experience and beliefs aside

     

    -or- 

  2. You can allow someone who has been where you haven’t been perceptually to open the doors of perception for you

 

This is the work I’ve now committed myself to doing, i.e.: working with clients to provide them with Foolish Wisdom … pointing to the emergent present with enough clarity, humor and provocation so that they can see, hear, feel, taste and smell it for themselves. 

In this regard I see myself as the “Wise Fool” leading the way by proving that I don’t know … claiming to neither possess nor offer anything except the most valuable thing of all for the truly wise … NOTHING.

Hell, that must be a claim you can believe …

“When you come to me I promise you I’ll do my best to neither have nor give you anything, and if we’re successful you’ll leave with NOTHING for yourself.” 

There’s really only one good reason to pursue Foolish Wisdom for yourself …

Because you want to make better decisions and take more meaningful action in your life.

By making a commitment to become a Wise Fool yourself -

  • you’ll become a better leader …

  • you’ll experience life more fully …

  • you’ll transcend the limitations that you now encounter repeatedly …

  • you’ll find a way to achieve what you haven’t before …

  • you’ll transform your relationships – with your spouse/lover, children, parents, friends, employer, employees, co-workers – EVERYONE …

you’ll begin …

Having the experience of YOUR life!
(both on your own and with others)

Foolishly yours,

 

Joseph Riggio, Wise Fool and Provocateur Extraordinaire

Princeton, NJ

 

PS – Soon enough I’ll be announcing my workshops for 2013 … in the meantime you can still register to attend the MythoMania program here in NJ on Nov 29 and 30, Thursday and Friday … and it’s almost FREE, my gift to the MythoSelf community each year …

 

MythoMania 2012 Register NOW