HAPPY NEW YEAR, 2013 GOALS, etc…

It’s not too late to say Happy New Year, I hope. It’s still a new year after all.

With that being said, I have mapped out some of the things I hope to accomplish this year, 2013. When I turned 22 last year, I decided to pen down some areas I’d like to see changes in my life. Sure, some of them are trivial, and some of them don’t even make any sense, but it’s all for the purpose of developing a holistic self. Since most of my 22nd year falls into this new year, I’m keeping these goals, with of course a few adjustments – additions, subtractions etc.

Here:

Just know that if you're reading this, I have enrolled you into my team (yes, without your consent. You're welcome!) and you're responsible as well as accountable to making sure I achieve these goals by this time next year. So check up on me to see how I am doing on them. Thanks.
Just know that if you’re reading this, I have enrolled you into my team (yes, without your consent. You’re welcome!) and you’re responsible as well as accountable to making sure I achieve these goals by this time next year. So check up on me to see how I am doing on them. Thanks.

Goals, visions, and dreams are beautiful, however, it’s clear from the motto of this blog that:

“Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. Vision with action can change the world.”

So, surely deeds (actions) will have to accompany these dreams we all have for the new year 2013.

Just in case you’re interested, I decided to look back through the last year and did a year in review by documenting some of the highlights of the year. I’m halfway done, and you can click HERE to read the FIRST PART. Soon, I’ll be finishing up the 2012 year in review, and I’ll post it.

Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you have a great year. I know I will!!!

What A Daredevil’s Taught Me About Dreams.

– 11:50 PM

I am not in bed, as I should be. I actually really was, but then I woke up. I just can’t go to bed without saying something (and I’ve said a lot) about the magnificence of the day. Let me show you a glimpse…

If you still don’t know what I’m talking about, you will in a minute! This amazing story that will forever go down in history happened just a few hours ago! And, I just thought I should write something down to preserve the freshness, for as long as this inspiring coffee is still brewing within my soul. At least to create some sort of permanence before we move on to the next big thing (don’t we always?)

This post is by all means related to the last post I wrote about possibility. It is as Art, and it is endless. Read here —> It is that same spirit of possibility that this daredevil, Nik Wallenda, exudes when he decides to walk across the Niagara Falls on a rope – 1800 feet from American terrain, crossing over to Canada. Which he did! Might I add, in 25 minutes! The first man in world history to do that! – cross directly over Niagara Falls, on a highwire! I mean, look at the guy! Just watch as he makes his strides towards the finish line:

He defied the odds! He’s living completely in that realm of absolute possibility. His next mission, which he said he already got the permit for, is to do the same defying walk, but this time across the Grand Canyon. Yes, the Grand Canyon! And then, what?

One of my friends called me, while watching him as he moved closer to the finish, and said “That’s something you would do, Ayo”. And I replied him, I’m not that crazy. The guy is definitely my hero! I’m far from a daredevil, but I’ve been known to do stuff that seems daring to my mates…simple things like jumping over stuff, parkour-ish. Nothing much, but they always scream though, well especially my good friend who called. He screams like a girl too (Sorry Idee, love you man!) But man, I am really short of words.

Now, I did make a promise in the About page that everything I post here will have something to do with my experience at LeaderShape, and so far so good. You probably are wondering how this relates, but I’ll show you in a minute. Like I said, this ties to what I talked about on the last post – the art of possibility…and interestingly enough, on Day 3 of LeaderShape, the theme was “Challenging What Is, Looking to What Could Be”. It screams of the glorious nature of the world of possibility. Here is a quote I found in my LeaderShape manual:

When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all your thoughts break their bonds; your mind transcends limitations, your consciousness expands in every direction, and you find yourself in a new, great, and wonderful world. – Patanjali

Such is the promise that is made in this world of possibility. It is indeed a new, great and wonderful world. There are no barriers. What really amazed me about Nik was that, being aware of the fact that there were definitely going to be challenges to deal with, for example the mist, the roars of the waters below, the loneliness he’s prone to feel while he’s on the rope in the middle of an expanse of water, fear possibly of the likelihood of failing, the wetness of the rope which might cause a slip; he remained calm and he proclaimed that being on the rope was to him “a blessing”, “an opportunity”.

This world of possibility begins with the pronouncement of these words, reminiscent of Martin Luther King Jr, “I have a dream”. And for two years, he fought against comments that tried to discouraged him. Officials who were supposed to be responsible for handing him a permit bluntly denied with comments like: “Not in this lifetime”, but he kept fighting, and still did not give up his dream! He has this to say, and I quote him loosely:

“People say I’m insane all the time, but they don’t get it, I love what I do”

His goal was to inspire others to dream, and not give up. And that, he’s certainly done!

On Day 3 of LeaderShape, we learned about the key dynamics of a powerful vision, which are:

It is vivid – something pretty clear

It is challenging – pretty much speaks for itself doesn’t it? Tough! Not easy!

It’s service directed – it’s a selfless act, for others.

It is expandable – it is something that can be built upon

It is compelling – there is no way you’ll be able stop people from talking about it! It resonates.

And if you analyze Nik’s vision, it certainly encompasses each of these key dynamics. I’ll end with this:

It’s tough and challenging, but we can all start to #WalkTheWire…one step at a time. Like he said, the first step is very very essential. It’s pretty much all that matters!

Culled from Wikipedia: As he was taking his first steps over the water he told reporters “It’s a beautiful view… A dream in the making.”

…Something he’s been dreaming about, like most of us,…since he was young (20 years to be exact!)

– 1:00 AM

Possibility; It’s an Art

The dictionary defines Art thus:

the quality, production, expression, or realm, according to aesthetic principles, of what is beautiful, appealing, or of more than ordinary significance.

It describes Possibility as:

the state or fact of being possible; anything that is possible

Combining both terms, as “The Art of Possibility” what we get is this:

The production, according to aesthetic principles, of what is beautiful, appealing, or of more than ordinary significance of anything that is possible!

Now ain’t that something? But the question is, what exactly is this art of possibility? I believe from the analysis above, it has to do with the fact that you can produce what is beautiful, because in the strictest sense, anything is possible.

Everything I talk about on this blog will relate back to my experience at LeaderShape, and this for me is definitely one of the highlights of that experience. Without it, this blog would definitely not be in existence. And I’d assume it’s a good thing that it is in existence. You can read the About to get a grasp of what I’m speaking of.

So enough with the preamble….

We were told at the first day of the retreat that LeaderShape’s vision had a lot to do with two major things, namely: leading with “integrity”, and “a healthy disregard for the impossible” – I translated this to mean “endless possibilities”. And to be honest, everything we did had something to do with those two terms. Now, I am a dreamer, so the endless possibility stuff attracted me, though in a very subconscious way. Now, I am also a self-conscious self-doubter, which means that I keep track of my failures, and disregard or fail to acknowledge my successes (most times, I don’t even see them at all). The failures and limitations are more glaring. Now, that chain was what the “healthy disregard for the impossible” was meant to break, and trust me it did break it.

We were told to think of a vision, and imagine that there was nothing stopping us from achieving it. We were told to dream, with no barriers…we were told to not see the sky, let alone see it as a limit. And I took the bait…

I refused to listen to the voices in my head that tried to dissuade me from dreaming. The calculating part of me nudged me to start thinking of my vision in terms of how “practical” or “reasonable” it is, but what I soon found out was that it’s unreasonable to weigh capacities in this realm of “endless possibilities”. Those words didn’t make sense anymore, everything was possible!

Having a vision allows one to be vulnerable. For me, it turned me to a little child…I was able to actually dream. Things I had told myself I wasn’t capable of doing, in an instant resurfaced, and I gained a renewed strength to pursue lost passions.

That my friends is what is called the Art of Possibility.

As with any type of art, there are techniques to be followed. Techniques are guidelines, and not hard and fast rules to be follwed. They only are there to give you a basic framework to work with, and after that, you can decide to in the metaphoric sense “step out of the box”, and break the rules. Many exciting forms of art have been produced by breaking the established rules. So what does this have to do with possibility?, you say.

Well, we’ve established that Possibility is an art, and it definitely comes with its own techniques that are meant to guide towards that realm.

It is in that light that I introduce you to this:

Benjamin Zander was one of the people we learned from and about at the LeaderShape retreat. His passion, and high energy for life is infectious. I, like most other people, thought he was crazy due to his highly optimistic approach to life. Life isn’t always that great, the cynic in all of us screams. However, in the realm of possibility, life can be…and that is what he aims to teach using humor, and other techniques.

So, on to those techniques.

Humor, as mentioned above is one of them. He calls it the Number 6 Rule: “Stop taking yourself damn too seriously”. Relax, enjoy life and when you make mistakes, throw your arms in the air and say “How fascinating”. (He’s crazy, I told you). This brings you out of what he calls the downward spiral, where you are in a rut of hopelessness and despair..no bueno.

“It’s all invented” is also another tool he talks about. This involves realizing that life consists of games that are invented, which can be recreated based on how we choose to tell our individual stories…and rather than playing a game of success/failure, where you are keeping scores, like me of how many times you’ve failed, you can decide to invent and play a new game. He calls that new game, I am a contribution game.

Quieting the voice in your head is a good one too, and it ties in with humor. I’m sure you’re familiar with those nagging voices, “you’re no good”, “stop dreaming, and wake up..smell the thorns on the roses” (yeah, they hardly point you to the beautiful things)…and it goes on. What he tells you to tell those voices is to say, “Thanks for sharing. I value your input, but I’m busy”

Others include, giving an A (which means that you should go ahead and award A grades to yourself and others, without consideration to merit or whether they/you “deserve” it or not), connecting with others in the sense of a community/collaboration, leading from any chair in the room…and the list goes on.

What this means is that you pretty much need to get the book…

I’ll end on this note, with a review of the book that captures the content of my heart , as written by Margaret J. Wheatley, Author of Leadership and the New Science, Coauthor of A Simpler Way, and President, The Berkana Institute.

The Art of Possibility makes a humane and brilliant future possible. I truly want everyone to read this book – it opens us to the treasure of our great human capacity for creativity. These practices are simple yet extraordinarily effective for tapping into the unlimited energy of the human imagination”

Okay, and now to really end for real… I hope it’s not cheesy to say that I came across this song from a commercial by Kraft cheese (get it?), and it represents all that possibility is. Music speaks for me when words can’t, honestly. So, press play, and I’ll see you beyond the skies!