Liralen Li (liralen) wrote,
Liralen Li

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The Fifth Discipline by Peter M. Senge

Have you ever run into a book where you say, "oh, my God, this is how I've tried and tried to look at the universe, without ever really knowing what I was looking for or having anything close to a clear idea WHY it seemed the right and proper way to contemplate and the right path to walk?"

I cried and laughed while reading this thing. This dry, technical, business oriented missive with passages about spirituality and the human need to do something great in it... that has quotes in it like these:

"This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one ... the being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy." -- George Bernard Shaw

"Only mediocre people are always at their best." -- Somerset Maugham

Good God.

It shows why I really should be looking at everything and everyone in a system rather than using blame. It gives WHY I should be very critical of someone that says one thing is at fault for a problem. It even gives me a sense of seeing something real in eyeing old relationships, both professional and personal as something that I contributed to in equal measure as someone else and that good or bad, there was a part of me in it. And it gives me a encouragement that the way I've been going all my life is the way I really want to continue. That changing my mental models when presented with better data is far, far, better than staunchly sticking for some destructive ideal (like the only good partner is the one that's "perfect"). That all the battles I've fought, all my failures, all my successes are fodder for learning yet more, and that all really is a path, not a destination. With good, scientific studies and backgrounds on the reasons for applying these things to business as well as my life. *grin*

It even has my old, primary axiom. That the original sin is ignorance, and learning is the way to grace. Though I also loved that the researchers were very leery of using the Greek term "metanoia", literally "change of the mind", as the real, root word of the mental model changes people have to be willing to undergo to see reality as it is, not as they wish or hope or even fear or worry that it will be. Unsubstantiated fear or worry is as bad as unsubstantiated hope or desire, and there's some very specific and interesting data, from a business perspective on that... but it's so applicable to life it's not even funny. What is funny, though, is that the reasons the researchers were wary of using the term was that, by Catholic tradition, that word could also be translated to "repent". Hee.

But it's an odd tie in of all my Eastern and Western philosophies with tried and true usage in the hard-nosed reality of business. My.

I recommend it to anyone that wants to get where they really want to go, and give themselves a far better chance of getting there. Not just those caught up in the "fad" of "learning organizations", but heck, if your managers are really into it, I'd say give it a shot, too, and see if they practice what they preach. You might find yourself in an extraordinary opportunity, then.

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