I have recently been thinking about “change over time” (Δ) and how we perceive and note change in ourselves and in others. It is surprising to me how consistency is so vaunted. Yes, it is indeed important to show people that you are stable, that you are dependable, and yet, the most surprising experiences in my life have all been marked by change and adaptability. What would it look like if we focused more on recovery from mistakes than just success? How would we coach people and give them feedback that takes them from the moment of a mistake to coping with the consequences and making the best of the situation?
I have been asking people recently about “moments of change”. Have you had an experience, small or significant, that changed your life, your opinions and/or the trajectory of your development? People really get into thinking about this question and appreciate sharing those moments when a mentor patted them on the back, or a friend asked a really good question, or they showed more courage than they thought they could summon in a particularly challenging situation. It is so inspiring. So what moment changed you? What capacities did you use to spur on that change? Is there a moment or experience that you would like to share in commenting to this post. I hope you will do so.
I am also thinking that I should be asking people more about their best “recovery” or “save”. Can you point to a mistake or a challenge that you recovered well from or “saved” from disaster? What allowed you to make something change from being a problem situation to a positive experience? Feel free to share as well in your comments.
What is interesting about this is that we should be able to foster intentionally and more comprehensively moments of transformation and recovery in each other. We should be able to design our “change over time” (our own Δ). I want to design my Δ, and I think we should be having more discussions about how we need to change, how people and the world around us are changing, and how we are reacting or anticipating these changes. Our measures of change, our mΔps (“delta maps”) are fairly rudimentary. Wouldn’t it be great if we could develop a tracker for our personal development. It is great now that we can track our personal fitness, but we should be tracking in more nuanced ways our personal development and our capacity building.
I do know that there are many people working on finding ways to build capacities such as grit, optimism and how to “credential” our development (For example, Pathbrite, the Character Lab, Linked In, the McArthur Foundation, the John Templeton Foundation, the new Reporter app…and the list can go on and on); however, how can we summon our forces to make this a central aspect of our lives that rather than tracking our social interactions on Facebook, we are tracking, charting and reflecting on our personal and communal Δ? Let’s commit to finding ways to do this humanly, authentically and organically so that all the narrow and reductionist measures that currently attempt to represent some aspect of our human wholeness such as transcripts, 360° evaluations, test scores, trails of social media comments are replaced by systems that are much better at representing the adaptive nature of what it means to be human.
I hope we can continue the dialogue and thoughts on this…rethink it…*