"The unedited musings of a recovering madman"

Applying Virtue to Developmental Coaching and Beyond

The following quote triggered this blog:

Nothing is more tragic than to see people who have sold themselves short on what is possible for their lives.

Page 82, Rich Dad's Guide To Investing by Robert Kiyosaki with Sharon Lechter

What struck me so hard is the danger of this meme.  For much of my life I have agreed with the essence of the quote.  "Be all you can be." "Accomplish everything you can in your life." Live up to your potential"

Yet, what is starting to shift in my consciousness is that depending on how you really look at this meme: "what is possible for their lives," you will have different meaning.  My sense is that this is largely written from an "orange" vMEME.  The emergent properties of the orange vMEME center around achievement motivation, i.e. strive-drive, win-win, get all you can out of potential, efficiency, effectiveness.

Quite frankly--to me--there is nothing wrong with this meme or the vMEME of orange, yet, it can be very dangerous in terms of its effects, its affect and the outcomes and results of its proliferation.

Let me explain

When we seek to become all we can, what does that mean?

To many it will mean, the tragedy of leaving money on the table--as a metaphor.  The waste in potential that occurs because people don't reach higher, stretch farther.  I believe in the appropriate context, those things are relevant and desirable.  Yet, in other contexts throughout the world, this meme or vMEME constellation is producing the emphasis on growth, stretch, efficiency, effectiveness at the risk of other opportunities.

Utilizing the orange vMEME meme of "opportunity cost," I can see that there is more to this meme of:

"Nothing is more tragic than to see people who have sold themselves short on what is possible for their lives."

than the tragedy of extending one's self upward on a strive-drive ladder past the point of living one's own life.  Since potential is inherently unlimited (albeit with bounds on one's stage of development--genetics, etc.), the constant strive-drive of reaching from one level to the next in my view is not at all healthy and resilient.

Here's why I reason in this manner

Verticality is inherent in the meme.  In other words, the constant climbing or uphilling is a strategy to reach one's potential as viewed through this vMEME constellation.  Yet, constant uphilling uses significant resources and in my opinion--or at least in some of my latter experience--is not sustainable, by either life or aliveness. 

While evolving life can sustain life in some form, the meaning of life can be achieved without constant uphilling in my view.  If people seek meaning in life from the ladder, then we create an inherent climbing in the system towards complexity.

In my view and in my contention, meaning in life can be found without climbing.  Climbing is a strategy, sometimes required to get a look around. It is not necessary to climb every mountain.  For most, it is not sustainable as a strategy and therefore constantly trying to reach one's potential may be a flawed strategy for sustainability.

Virtue MAY lie in attempting to fully realize one's self.  A strategy may be up and of course there may be tragedy in that strategy as well.  Tragedy may exist in the life not fully realized versus the one not fully potentialized.

In rereading this piece, I'm not sure if I'm making the point, but hopefully it is one that can realized.

Mike Jay, August 2003

On The Professional Edge