"Genius is in-born, may it never be still-born."

"Oysters, irritated by grains of sand, give birth to pearls. Brains, irritated by curiosity, give birth to ideas."

"Brainpower is the bridge to the future; it is what transports you from wishful thinking to willful doing."

"Unless you keep learning & growing, the status quo has no status."

Friday, February 20, 2009


[Extracted from the 'Optimum Performance Technologies' weblog.]

In anticipating the future, three things generally fascinate & intrigue me, & they are: Change, Complexity & Competition.

Hence, I am always seeking better understanding - & appreciation - of these critical areas of concern.

In the search of books & resources, I have come across many excellent authors or masters. I have already featured a few in my earlier posts.

In this post, I would like to review one original, thought provoking book, written with warm, passion & clarity as well as mastery of content.

Actually, I had read 'Breakpoint & Beyond' during the mid-nineties, when it was first published. At that time, I had just embarked on a journey to play a better game in the second half of my life.

Oftentimes, I have returned to the book to read certain earmarked pages. In a nut shell, it weaved a compelling story about change by focusing a new & penetrating lens on the master teacher of change, Mother Nature herself.

The authors asserted that understanding the invisible forces of natural change would uncover the hidden patterns that could unlock our potential as individuals & organisations.

The authors also showed that natural growth was characterised by long periods of stability, punctuated by "breakpoints" - bursts of explosive change & showed how we could take advantage of the tremendous opportunities that would arise during these exciting periods.

Amidst the somewhat lofty rhetoric - the book was rather heavy to read - I would like to single out one principle from the book - the Principle of Future Pull.

According to the authors, every single cell in a tree, in a caterpillar, or in a human being would grow & develop not based on its history but by being pulled toward in its internal picture of the possible future. That future was inscribed in the DNA, the genes that reside in the nucleus of every cell. That way, every part of the system could pull together toward the common future.

In human terms, this would translate into living with a powerful vision of the future. A compelling vision could pull individuals & organisations to their desired future.

Let me share some of the authors' ideas of doing it.

Know your purpose & vision:

Purpose can be defined as how an individual & organisation makes the world a better place. A vision is a compelling image or picture of the purpose having been achieved.

The book gave this example:

Landing a man on the moon in a decade was the vision that President John Kennedy held out as an inspiring magnet pulling an entire nation to develop the technological capability for manned space flights.

Purpose & vision are as important for individuals as they are for organisations.

A compelling purpose energises life. Without a compelling purpose, we live life as a fairly haphazard experience, being easily swayed by the latest fad, temporary pressures, or the most recent advice on what others think we ought to be doing with our lives.

Commit to achieve your vision & purpose:

When an organisation lacks a compelling purpose, its people cannot helped but be uninspired.

The book gave an example of the late Anita Roddick & the Body Shop, whose concerns for the environment & the people still infuse the enterprise.

Abundance is Mother Nature's state:

Abundance comes to those who have the courage to follow their dreams. This brings not only material abundance but connection with the opportunities that are vital to the full expression of one's talents.

Today thousands of people are doing what they love to do in the most unlikely occupations & making an excellent living.

No one with a compelling purpose & a great vision knows exactly how it will be achieved. You have to be willing to follow an unknown path, allowing the road to take you where it will. Surprise, serendipity, uncertainty, & the unexpected are guaranteed on the way to the future.

Make the world a better place by living according to shared values:

Values are often thought of as soft stuff of an organisation, something that goes on a bronze plaque in the lobby. Somehow the values get separated from how the business really runs.

Inevitably, employees & customers know it. The purpose & values are the heart of the vision that will pull organisations into their future. These ingredients provide the essential elements of successful self-creation: the picture of that future whole. It is the internal guidance system, the DNA that allows everything to work together.

The purpose, vision & values furnish the internal reference point for making choices & connections in a complex & rapidly changing world. They endow the individual & organisation with direction to be pulled into the future.

With a little bit of hindsight, I am very glad I had made full use of many of the authors' ideas in my own life.

If you are concerned about your own personal change & renewal, you must read this book. It will help you to think about your life -& to stay vital all your life.

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