I love puzzles and brain teasers. This is one of my favorites (and I will admit to not getting it the first time).
I hope you haven't seen it, but even if you have you can still enjoy the message.
Try to join all nine dots by drawing four straight lines without lifting your pen off the paper.
If you have not done this before, I highly encourage you to scribble these dots on a piece of paper nearby and try it.
Go ahead. I'll wait.
(Be sure to attempt it before you scroll down!!)
Here is one way to do it:
The point is that most people see the nine dots and automatically box them in. (Myself included.) We don't think to draw beyond the invisible box.
In the book, The Art of Possibility, the authors describe it this way:
Your brain instantly classifies the nine dots as a two-dimensional square. And there they rest, like nails in the coffin of any further possibility, establishing a box with a dot in each of the four corners, even though no box in fact exists on the page. ...
If, however, we were to amend the original set of instructions by adding the phrase,'Feel free to use the whole sheet of paper', it is likely that a new possibility would suddenly appear to you.
When we look from a new perspective, possibilities arise.
To me, this is a perfect reason to acknowledge and incorporate feminine wisdom into traditional masculine practices.
The authors of the afore-mentioned book speak of our familiar everyday world as "the world of measurement"..."assessments, scales, standards, grades, and comparisons". These traditionally masculine principles allow us the logic to see the dots, to recognize their shape and form, to make connections and to assess our answer to the proposed question.
But it is in recognizing the space outside of the form that we find new answers - and even, perhaps, (hopefully) new questions.
What does this mean in practical terms?
Looking at business or the work environment in particular, it means that this competitive, success-driven way we are doing things is no longer sustainable. We've joined the dots-in-the-box all the ways we can.
I'm sure you've seen the business techniques proposed online. I have tons of PDF's, books, e-books, worksheets and so-on suggesting ways to start, run, or re-invigorate a business. Again, these ways are not bad (and to be honest, I could probably stand to implement some of the suggestions within those materials if I wanted to make some money).
But in order to grow beyond where we are, find inner peace amidst the chaos of our daily lives, and practice ways of interacting and trading energy (i.e. business) that are sustainable for our bodies, our souls, and this earth, we have to accept that these techniques - while useful in their own way - simply aren't the final answer.
As mentioned before, I'm uncomfortable bringing this up because I don't have the answers. I feel required to provide an answer if I'm going to say the other ones aren't valid. Instead, what I'm doing is inviting you to ask more questions and find the answers that will work for you.
- In what ways do you need more space in your life?
- What things could you lessen, remove, or re-organize in order to create that space?
- Where could you trade competitiveness for compassion?
- Could you reframe your interactions with people in the business world not thinking of seller/clients us/them, but "we"? How big can you make that "we"? (incorporating those who aren't even your clients, the earth, future generations...) How would this change the very structure of your business?
These are my questions...I encourage you to find your own. Start thinking about those feminine principles of non-competitiveness, openness, space, uncertainty and how those might feel if you incorporate them in your life - business or otherwise.
Play with how this new awareness - and perhaps the practice - alters your experience of life.
I love quotes because of their simple presentation yet often deep meaning. Here are a few on different perspectives to get you thinking:
I don't like that man. I must get to know him better. ~Abraham Lincoln
Sin is geographical. ~Bertrand Russell
The moment one gives close attention to any thing, even a blade of grass it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself. ~Henry Miller
We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are. ~Anaïs Nin