Strategy

27th August 2015

Superpowers

Latterly I have had a problem with my hearing, which eventually resulted in a minor operation. 24 hours after the operation I awoke with my hearing back to a level that I hadn’t experienced for 18 months or more. The change was dramatic in the extreme. I was able to turn the TV volume, which had been recently turned up to 45, down to 25. I was noticing things that I had ceased to notice ages ago.

I could hear the differences between different car doors as they closed. I could hear the noise of the engine as it powered up and down. I could hear the sounds of my own footsteps again, even on carpet and in slippers.

I felt as though I had been bestowed with superpower hearing. I felt like a superhero hearing all sorts of things that had been denied to me for the previous year and a half. It was amazing, great, uplifting. It seemed as though the whole world had changed and I felt generally on top of that world. I was amazed by how much such a seemingly small change was colouring so much of my life.

I heard similar stories from people who had cataracts removed and their sight restored. It was like being born anew.

As I pondered what I really did feel, I was transported back to some times over recent years when I had reached new insights and developed new skills. It took me back to those specific occasions when I had learned how to really listen to people, to notice the words they used so that I could identify the deeper meanings and significances behind the words. It took me back to the first time I really began to notice what was going on for the people I was interacting with, when my awareness began to reach previously unattainable levels. It felt magical. It felt like a superpower then too.

The similarity between suddenly being able to hear more or see more and developing the ability to notice more is that the only thing that had changed was my ability to access what was always there, and to be more aware of it. Being aware of what is happening is a core life skill and one which we would do well to consciously cultivate.

Tim Gallwey said that “Life is a wonderful and unique learning experience. What is required is the belief that learning and performing are one and the same. High performers are people who simply learn faster. We learn faster when we pay attention and see the world for what it really is, not for what it should have been. Learning then becomes a function of awareness more than instruction, it is seeing clearly what is happening around you, seeing it without judgement and without an instinct to control and shape all that you touch.”

“Learning then becomes a function of awareness”. That is a powerful concept. I wonder how much we are unaware of, that being aware of would cause us to dramatically accelerate our learning. Noticing what others fail to notice does put us into the superhero/ superpower league.

Some clients have asked that I append some reading recommendations to my weekly blog. I hope you get value from the books I recommend. The books are mentioned at random and will have no relationship to the blog above.

Winning by Sir Clive Woodward

I know I am a rugby fan but this book is so much more than an account of how we won the world cup in 2003. I often refer to this book as the best non-business, business book I have ever read. Sir Clive was a successful businessman before he led England to victory and that pragmatic, results focus shows in everything he does. Chapter 14 is called ‘Changing our organisation’ and tells of the influence a business coach had on the organisation and mindset of the people. Sir Clive’s focus on the numbers, testing and measuring could be straight from an MBA course and his encounters with the Royal Marines and what they taught the squad is straight from a leadership manual.