Concise wisdom and what we see in others

me we

My definition of wisdom:

“Wisdom is something concise that, once you hear it, you feel you always knew it”

Today wisdom from Muhammad Ali, Alan Moore, and Seth Godin.

In August 2018 I wrote: “Can Business be Beautiful and Profitable?” at a time when Alan Moore and I had recently begun to walk and talk with his dog Piper in the Cambridgeshire fens, considering this question and “Beatiful Leaders and Makers” as an idea for transformative programmes. One excerpt from his writing in the post included a deeply concise wisdom:

“Muhammad Ali was once asked what his shortest poem was. He replied in two words: ‘Me, We’. In these two short words Ali gave insight into our true human nature. We need to be truly ourselves as individuals, but we can only be so when connected to a greater ‘We’. The Me needs the We to create more than is possible as an individual; and the We needs Me – every Me – to come with their full capacity to create meaning collectively. ‘We’ is how we create narrative, culture, context and meaning – it’s the glue that binds us. Strip a business of the means to create We, and we all suffer as a result.”

I write this post today inspired by a daily post from Seth Godin, again concise wisdom:

Seeing what’s right in front you

When the people we serve present themselves, when they offer us their attention and their trust, we need to work to see two things:

  1. Who they are. What do they fear, what do they believe, what do they need?
  2. Who they can become. Which doors can we open, how can we support them, what will they leave behind?

I feel my life to be very much in service of others, and when I meet someone new, I give them full and deep attention. Having practiced this for many years, I do often gain a very rapid insight for who they are and who they can become, which aligns closely with my purpose of #MakingPotentialPossible.

To these two thoughts from Seth, I would simply add two important qualifiers:

  • What are they ready for?
  • What do they wish or seek from you?

In short, yes, it is valuable to see someone for who they are and who they become, and at the same time I have learned that it is vital to always come from their agenda, not our own, else we are serving ourselves and not necessarily serving others.


Also published on Medium.