The River People
So many narratives of organisational life seem to start from an assumption about things having to have goals. As if without a goal, nothing happens. But there are other ways to look at life, which see actions as emergent rather than being the result of purposeful decision-making."
Right on! And here's a snippet from River people vs. goal people, the post that Johnnie links to:
River people, on the other hand, don't like to follow such a structured route to success. They are called river people because they are happiest and most fulfilled when they are wading in a rich "river" of interest -- a subject or profession about which they are very passionate. While they may not have a concrete plan with measurable goals, river people are often successful because they are so passionate about their area of interest. This, in turn, helps them to recognize breakthrough opportunities that may not even be visible on the mental radar screens of the more narrowly focused goal people.
River people are explorers, continually seeking out learning opportunities and new experiences. For river people, joy comes from the journey, not from reaching the destination -- exactly the opposite of goal people.
From the standpoint of creativity, river people are more likely to benefit from serendipity, because they tend to be more open to new ideas, points of view and insights than single-minded, focused goal people."
As you may have gathered, I love 'the river' analogy and the way of being that is oriented towards being 'open to receive' rather than planning. Maybe it's what Albert Einstein was getting at when he said, "There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle." All winds are good winds when we learn how to sail.
It takes courage I know, to trust in innate goodness and let go into the flow of life... but from my experience the benefit of choosing to trust inspiration instead of our plans is far more than 'just' serendipity, ease and joy. It seems that when we let our attention become open to inspiration we take the step beyond the constraints of what is known, into the world of what is not yet known - a world where by definition there are no boundaries and all the fruit are low-hanging. But we also get to see life and those around us in a completely new light. It's as if Life only appears fickle, unstable and problematic when we insist in swimming against the flow.... when we wrestle with it ... as if it is us that's calling the shots on the rules of engagement.
I know it's futile trying to convince anyone of this 'benevolent river' view of life unless they have at least glimpsed it for themselves, because it seems as though it's impossible to see both worlds - the site of one denies the other. Argue for your limitations and sure enough they're yours... and you would be absolutely right in your argument. And yes, I know there are times when it seems anything but possible to feel centred, connected or 'lucky'. But an interesting question I ask myself whenever I see problems instead of miracles, when I feel a little lost and out-of-sorts instead of in 'the flow' - when I feel disconnected, is this: "Who moved?
The answer is invariably me.
Credits: The painting is called 'Life by the River' by Liu Kang