I enjoy wordsmithing.
Sometimes those pungent, pithy pronouncements are the product of prolonged experimentation. Other times the words gently surface from the obscurity of my mental dictionary.
Occasionally however, I am utterly surprised by the utterances which emerge, unsolicited. This occurred last week during our monthly training for social entrepreneurs.
I was explaining one of our old visual models which grossly oversimplifies life in all its glorious complexity, but which has some utilitarian value as a teaching tool. Here it is. All of life explained in a single model!
Of course for people who live in the real world, it would be a pentagon, not a triangle, but with my usual ruthlessness I unhesitatingly edited out the two sides for playing and whining.
So what is left is the important stuff — gritty, granular, and occasionally quite grand.
But since this is Sapphire, we simply cannot have something static. We are a people in motion if we are anything at all.
So that takes us to the second model which is slightly more energetic, and (of course) painful. It wouldn’t be Sapphire if we were not dispensing pain on a regular basis.
You start at the bottom, of course. As soon as you acquire any knowledge that has a “so what” factor to it, it should compel you to either grow or do something productive.
It matters not a whit whether you go from knowledge to work or knowledge to growth because sooner or later, you are going to get to the other wall.
Suppose you go from knowledge to growth. If the growth is real, you will then be propelled, naturally, to express that growth in some sort of transformational activity in the culture (loosely called “work” as a word that encompasses all productive “doing” in your life).
On the other hand, if you go from knowledge to work, you will most likely hit the wall and discover that you don’t have all the transformational resources the situation needs.
If you are doing something transformational and you hit the wall, there are only two possible causes of hitting the wall. Either you need more truth about the situation, so you bounce back to the knowledge wall, or you need more growth to be able to execute the knowledge you have, in which case you bounce back to the growth wall.
The short version is, I think the normal condition of mankind is to spend your entire life hitting the wall. Every time you hit the wall of work and you bounce back to knowledge or growth, you become a more transformational person and then go back to the work wall to transform more things faster and better.
The pain, you see, is productive pain and therefore to be welcomed. It is that process of bouncing off the wall that allows us to grow so that we can play higher and higher up the wall, becoming Noble Subjects who accomplish more for the King than simply offering Him love and loyalty.
However, there is that sector of the human community that is pain-adverse for some reason, uniformly rejecting productive and unproductive pain, without discriminating between the two. It is this tribe that elicited my unexpectedly violent verbiage.
The non-Sapphire, pain-avoidant tribe targets the small red slot on the work wall.
This sector of the wall represents what they know they can do without the pain of failure. It is solidly within the range of their existing knowledge base and their existing growth level so they can perform that task with excellence continually, hiding their non-growth behind the thin veneer of static excellence.
With the tools they have already, they can be guaranteed that they will look good in that slot, and not be compelled by anything as uncouth as the pain of failure to actually grow!
So, they carefully avoid any work, ministry, loving action or transformational activity outside their carefully defined niche.
For this tribe, appearances are so much more important than substance and stunted growth is not a concern.
But I don’t share those values.
While I was waxing eloquent to my captive audience about the crime against humanity of not growing to your fullest potential, regardless of the pain, I heard myself say, “This is NOT a mausoleum. You grow or you go!”
That has some shock factor!
I think I found our new tag line.
Copyright August 2011 by Arthur Burk
From the Quarterdeck, in Anaheim