Some of you will still ponder the descriptor that I use, Experiential Architect. And yes, I do get some phone calls now and then asking for me to design amazing, interesting houses.
This particular ‘title’ came from a coaching moment with a fine Australian leadership coach, Dan Collins. We were at a Thought Leaders Conference - in Sydney some years ago, and Dan was helping me narrow down ‘what I did to help people’.
Let me transport you: having spent all day with our special force instructors, learning how to make an emergency shelter out of ‘bush treasure’, we observe 12 senior managers from a national construction company, working quietly and (sometimes) effectively to build their shelters for the evening. Rain wasn’t forecast, but we are snuggled in a valley in the lower reaches of the Tararua Mountain Ranges, and there’s always a 65% chance of evening ‘mountain mist’. Not rain, just very heaving dew – you can probably read my sarcasm dripping like the leaves…
Life is challenging enough at the best of times; add in a little global pandemic, lots of financial uncertainty - keep in mind our personalities - and we can create a perfect storm in our minds. Some of us will have excited ninjas and talking pandas coursing through our excited minds, others will conjure up deadly conspiracies, evil governments and too many cows with flatulence – always choosing the worst-case scenario. (Negative Bias Preference)
During the Middle Ages, rats were responsible for the transfer of fleas that carried the deadly Black Plague. A bounty was placed upon each rat that was caught. It was not necessary to produce the entire rat as proof of capture; the rat's hind quarters were cut from the body - leaving only the tail and the "arse". The amount paid by the local governments was approximately equivalent to a penny a dozen. The rat’s arses would be presented as a bundle and exchanged for money. However there became so many rats the price dropped incredibly low and they were almost worthless.
Hence the phrase -"not worth a rat's ass" – “don’t give a rat’s arse”.
I’ve often suffered from illusions of grandeur. You see, in my mind I’m terribly important. I spent a good while allowing myself to celebrate the ‘me’ that I am. Jokes aside, deep down I know that I’m special. We all are in our own way. (Sorry for the cliché. Had to.) Do you believe that about yourself? Do you share that with others? How do we articulate the ‘things’ that make us special? More often than not we don’t. We’re quite good at listening to the naysayers and erring on the side of caution, aren’t we?
A habit is formed; there is a rhythm; we buy our coffee at a certain place, we sit in a preferred part of the train, often park in a familiar space, in other words, we embed and repeat a process that gets us safely, both physically and mentally from home to our work space. This forms a separation from one environment to another.
The fascinating thing about the human brain is that it has a natural bias to be curious about seeking constant and new information. Why? The more information we have, the better we can assess and mitigate danger. But our primal brain is at the crossroads with technology availability as we’ve never experienced it before. And we are exposed to both external distraction (events) and internal distraction (worry or anxiety). We seek constant distraction, but it leads to cognitive overload (overwhelm). Go figure.
My Canada Musing - Blokes – Construction – Leadership. Recently I spoke at the NZ Certified Builders conference in Wellington. To be certified, or certifiable; is not generally an aspiration in other parts of our society, however, the folks I met at this conference seemed just fine.