Last week I had the pleasure of talking with the students of the Bachelor of Science Advanced – Global Challenges at Monash University, Melbourne. This is a one of a kind degree in Australia as it combines a science degree with training in leadership, persuasive communication, entrepreneurship, policy, ethics and corporate social responsibility.
My session was titled Wisdom through Ferocity. I led the group through my journey from lawyer, serial entrepreneur and venture guy to wisdom guide and leadership coach. And then just as they were getting comfortable we dived into a self-inquiry workshop designed to get them to really think.
This is what some of the participants had to say:
* “Though provoking and intimidating – self discovery isn’t easy!”
* “Great dialogue about the importance of a ‘wisdom society’.”
* “How rich this conversation was. Thanks for the insights.”
* “You ask the really tough questions and a rich conversation unfolds.”
* “Thank you for challenging me to find my soul work and to focus on big things that create change.”
* “Awesome dialogue exploring the deeper sense of self and who we truly are!”
I hope that this sparked an ongoing conversation amongst a group of people who may well turn into some of our next world leaders. I am also excited to see how they develop their own wisdom practices over the ensuing years.
I plan on rolling the self-inquiry workshop out more broadly to companies and believe it would make a fantastic keynote catalyzer for strategic retreats and executive offsites.
One of the students asked to interview me and this resulted in me honing my thinking which I’ve set out in a Q&A below:
Are we unconsciously conscious?
Both negative and positive emotions are processed by the unconscious brain, not because as Freud believed they are repressed, but because the observable affects of these emotions are expressed so rapidly and automatically that they take place beneath conscious awareness.
The unconscious and conscious are part of a cohesive and very active brain|mind operating system (OS) that assesses life experiences and responds according to the system’s programming.
This OS operates in service of an individual person’s life management and its overarching value metric is energy efficiency. It parses any decision against past reinforced learning. This parsing leads to the unconscious part of the brain|mind OS automatically enacting what it already knows, unless there is a conscious intervention.
Assuming the OS programming is optimal, flow is an extremely powerful state to achieve, because in flow one can circumvent the need to interact with the conscious completely. In flow we lose the sense of self and become one with our environment reacting to it fluidly.
When viewed against the backdrop of a cohesive OS we realise that the concept of self is not a necessary construct for effective operation, nor does a distinct self exist. In contrast we can view self-organisation more as auto-organisation, without the requirement for some centralised self-driven agency.
This individual OS is capable of interacting relationally with the OS of other individuals to form an effected individual and collective response.
How does wisdom fit into the mix?
The overarching goal of attaining higher levels of wisdom it to produce more harmonic alignment – be that within ourselves, within our teams, our companies, our societies, our planet and the universe.
Wisdom dictates that the more we learn about our unconscious forces the better equipped we will be to deal with and, when there are issues, treat, the behavioural and emotional situations we find ourselves in. Through wisdom we can reprogram our OS.
One of the key objectives of a wisdom practice is to be able to insert an interstitial between emotion and affect in order to steer an individual’s response to a situation towards a more positive outcome.
The purpose of a wisdom-practice is to optimise this learning for the benefit of that individual and the broader collectives they are a part of. Ultimately wisdom should contribute to a universal OS. Many of the rules we have currently within our brain|mind OS are not in harmony with this broader universal OS and by gaining higher levels of wisdom practice we can do our part to produce more harmonic alignment.
What is the difference between being an advisor and a wisdom guide?
Previously my work was as an expert, an advisor and analyst. I was conducting my own pattern recognition across vast areas of technological and trend development and then interpreting and communicating this to others. Clients came to me for advice. This was a lean forward activity for me, while my clients mostly listened, took the advice on board and then acted upon it. By contrast much of my work today is about guiding and coaching people to have their epiphanies, to get them to access what they already know but haven’t yet processed and to harness their super powers. This is a lean back role in which I let the atmosphere come to me – I often hear the meaning between the lines and I listen for the music behind the words. This open and empathetic channelling approach empowers me to resonate with my client’s affective cadence and ask the right -and many times, the hard – questions to steer the conversation for my client’s benefit.
Why is wisdom important to our future?
We are moving aware from conscious operation in much of our external environment – autonomous vehicles, smart machines, AI, chatbots etc. As this trend picks up pace the perceived need for us to interact consciously (I say ‘perceived’, because we mainly use our unconscious to control the current systems) will reduce significantly.
This is a window for us to become more attuned to our unconscious, for us to let go and for us to rewire our OS to be more connected with the universal OS. This window will close if we instead retreat from controlling our environment to losing ourselves in VR which is a very real threat.
This window is important because we are in the early stages of shifting from a knowledge-centric society into a wisdom society. We have witnessed the beginnings of this shift over the past 16 years.
Through my near-death experience I had incredibly vivid visions of societies being built up and crumbling, civilizations evolving and devolving. I believe that for a very long time (many thousands and thousands of years) we have been in a devolving cycle, but we are now in the early stages of an ascendancy from a time of darkness and confusion into a time of light and collective wisdom. The pace of this ascendancy is contingent on a proactive approach. If we do nothing and rail against this natural cycle we may evolve very slowly and not achieve our full potential before the cycle shifts again. It is up to us to catalyze and accelerate this ascendancy.
Why Be Fierce?
This mantra is designed to remind us that we can reprogram our behaviour patterns away from simply accepting our programmed response to situations and towards finding a better, more attuned path. Aim more for an internal ferocity than an external viciousness.
Thanks for reading and continue to
Rand Leeb-du Toit
EXOscalr provides a wisdom practice to both Fortune 500 CEOs, CDOs and high growth leaders.
We focus on wisdom through ferocity. We guide our clients to be fierce and invest their time and resources wisely by considering future trends, competitive pressures, growth demands, innovation and corporate venturing capabilities and their own data.
My personal wisdom guidance is derived from a mix of over 30 years of business experience and the unique personal insights that ensued from my sudden cardiac death.
I read all my email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’m also at +1-650-529-4181 and +1-646-480-0205. Feel free to reach out.
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