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June 2014




Lines of Development

"I am continually fascinated at the difficulty intelligent people have in distinguishing what is controversial from what is merely offensive."

… Nora Ephron (b. 1941) US Author and Screenwriter 

Have you ever wondered why some people who seem so smart can act so dumb? If you have then here is a way of understanding how this happens.

Back in September 2006, our newsletter spoke to the idea of personal growth. We distinguished this as the move to worldviews of greater complexity from egocentric to ethnocentric to global centric. This progression sees individuals and societies go through stages or waves of development allowing for a capacity to observe and deal with increasingly complex situations. The general pattern of this growth also sees an alternating shift in the balance of priority between self and community meaning that some stages of development are self-focused and alternate stages are community focused.

Visit The HubWhat I didn't speak about in that newsletter was that these stages of development also involve lines of development such as cognitive, moral, linguistic, emotional and so on. People do not necessarily move along each of these lines of development together and can become stuck at a certain level whilst moving forward at others. For example, an individual can be able to deal with great complexity in the cognitive domain yet be poorly developed in dealing with moral or emotional issues.

The work of Howard Gardner and others on the multiple intelligences shows that there is far more to human capacity than just IQ. However most people in our society still tend to think of intelligence as largely relating to the cognitive domain and so tend to think of being smart as being exclusively cognitively well developed. Our education system perpetuates this approach with its emphasis on our cognitive capacity.

Although the development of our cognitive capacity is important, the lack of emphasis on developing our capacity in the relational domains such as how to relate to others and the underpinning ethics and morals creates some challenging situations. Individuals can find themselves highly skilled in technical domains but unable to have enriching relationships with those around them and also be unable to influence others. Organisations can end up with leaders and members who have high cognitive capacities but low ethics, leading us to situations like Enron and the recent global financial crisis. Societies can become less and less caring environments in which to live.

Ultimately personal growth involves more than just becoming more knowledgeable. It is about our ability to take what we know and apply it in the context of greater complexity based on the perspectives of all those involved. To do that means being able to get a sense of how others interpret the same situation and to do that involves understanding the human condition that generates those interpretations. Now there is an area for life-long learning!

We invite you to explore more in the articles section of our web site.


Are You Interested in Organisational Culture?

These days I am putting more focus on my writing and I am currently in the middle of writing a paper that speaks to an ontological approach to organisational culture.

This has been an area of interest for me for quite some time having observed from the outside as a number of organisations made various and largely unsuccessful attempts to create their desired culture.

It has struck me that these attempts have all used a very rational problem solving approach where they have used a profiling tool to identify their current culture, pick some problem areas and work on these to improve the culture. These approaches tend to create band aid solutions to a culture problem rather than an approach based on an understanding that organisations are communities of people who are looking for a meaning and purpose to which they can be committed and a desired culture can be created when the foundations are clear, the leaders are committed to creating it. I think it is also useful to look at culture as the habitual actions and beliefs held by a group of people. With this in mind, we can then look at creating culture as a habit creation process, something that the ontological approach is well suited to do.

As part of my commitment to taking the ontological approach to the world, this paper will be freely available to anyone who is interested in reading. If you would like to receive a copy of this paper when it is completed, then please send me an email to that effect to cchittenden@talkingabout.com.au and I will send you a copy when it is published.

Play Create Elevate

Some thoughts from Jacqui Chaplin

"I have come to believe that caring for myself is not self indulgent. Caring for myself is an act of survival."

… Audre Londe

Network of Support

In April 2013 I flew myself to Brisbane to take part in the Black Dog Institute’s Community Volunteer Training. And over the following year I had the opportunity to present several “Breaking Down Depression and Building Resilience” presentations. For a year I was the first and only Victorian presenter.

In June 2014 the Black Dog Institute ran a combined training session for Youth Presenters and Community Presenters in Melbourne. There are now THIRTY ONE trained volunteers in Victoria.  I was so excited to go to the training, meet them and present the presentation that they would now be presenting across the state. I finally feel like I have a Melbourne based network of support in this domain who are as committed to and as passionate about helping others to get better educated about speaking openly and comfortably about mind health matters. It is such an amazing feeling!

And as it happens this Monday’s (June 30 Episode #34) Radio Show ‘But I Feel Good’ (that I present every week between 1-3pm www.mainfm.net) is on the importance of Networks of Support.  We‘ll be talking about the definition and benefits of Networks of Support as well as how you can build and sustain your own Network of Support. Irrespective of whether you experience a mood disorder or whether some disorderly moods hit you from time to time having a pre-established Network of Support is a key resilience strategy to help keep you as robust as possible and be able to bounce forward as soon as possible from whatever life’s setbacks you experience.
A year or so ago I went through all the people in my life and asked myself: does this person inspire me, genuinely love me and support me unconditionally? I wanted nothing but positive influences in my life.
Mena Suvari

How strong is your Network of Support?  Is it and are you well placed to deal with a major emotional upheaval or physical illness? If not, tune into the “But I Feel Good” show or check out the ‘live on demand’ replay at http://jacquichaplin.com/bifgweeklypodcasts.

Play Create Elevate also offer your organisation the opportunity to hear first hand, from a lived experience perspective about the signs and symptoms of mood disorders, how to give and get help and how to build and sustain resilience. PwC have recently released a report that says for every dollar spent in creating mentally healthy workplaces that an ROI of at least $2.30 is possible… what are you waiting for?  It’s time to speak openly and comfortably about mind health matters!

I’d love to hear how you go and what you learn. You can write to me at jacqui@jacquichaplin.com.

If you work for an organisation that has a regular newsletter that goes out to staff and you think these articles would be appropriate to replicate please let me know… I’m more than happy to do anything which raises awareness about mind health matters. And if people need a financial incentive, current research by Beyond Blue and PWC show that a minimum ROI of 2.13 for every dollar spent occurs when working towards mentally healthy workplaces.

Remember, your mind health matters!

May your days be resilient ones!

We invite you to read Jacqui's blog here

You can visit the Play Create Elevate website here

More on PCE next month!

Hey, did you know?

"But I Feel Good" Radio Show

Radio Show

Did you know that since November 2013, Jacqui has been hosting a weekly radio show called ‘But I Feel Good’ …talking about pink elephants and black dogs.

The show is dedicated to speaking openly and comfortably about the ‘black dog’ of mood disorders from a lived experience perspective and the ‘pink elephant’ strategies and practices that build emotional resilience and inner fortitude.

It covers a range of topics related to mind health and plays a great mix of music in between interviews with subject matter experts and related content.

The show goes live to air, streaming on www.MAINfm.net so it can be heard AROUND THE WORLD every Monday from 1-3pm AET. Its official broadcast base is 94.9 MAIN FM which extends across the Mt Alexander Shire in Victoria on the wireless.

The Monthly Diversion

One courtesy of my friend Anita Payne...

Just like Gilligan's Island!

One day a man decided to retire...

He booked himself on a Caribbean cruise and proceeded to have the time of his life, that is, until the ship sank.

He soon found himself on an island with no other people, no supplies, nothing, only bananas and coconuts. After about four months, he is lying on the beach one day when the most gorgeous woman he has ever seen rows up to the shore.

In disbelief, he asks, "Where did you come from? How did you get here?"

She replies, "I rowed over from the other side of the island where I landed when my cruise ship sank."

"Amazing," he notes. "You were really lucky to have a row boat wash up with you."

"Oh, this thing?" explains the woman. "I made the boat out of some raw material I found on the island. The oars were whittled from gum tree branches. I wove the bottom from palm tree branches, and the sides and stern came from a Eucalyptus tree."

"But, where did you get the tools?" "Oh, that was no problem," replied the woman. "On the south side of the island, a very unusual stratum of alluvial rock is exposed. I found that if I fired it to a certain temperature in my kiln, it melted into ductile iron I used that to make tools and used the tools to make the hardware."

The guy is stunned.

"Let's row over to my place," she says. So, after a short time of rowing, she soon docks the boat at a small wharf. As the man looks to shore, he nearly falls off the boat. Before him is a long stone walk leading to a cabin and treehouse. While the woman ties up the rowboat with an expertly woven hemp rope, the man can only stare ahead, dumb struck.

As they walk into the house, she says casually, "It's not much, but I call it home. Sit down, please." "Would you like a drink?"

"No! No thank you," the man blurts out, still dazed. "I can't take another drop of coconut juice."

"It's not coconut juice," winks the woman. "I have a still. How would you like a Tropical Spritz?"

Trying to hide his continued amazement, the man accepts, and they sit down on her couch to talk. After they exchange their individual survival stories, the woman announces, "I'm going to slip into something more comfortable. Would you like to take a shower and shave? There's a razor in the bathroom cabinet upstairs."

No longer questioning anything, the man goes upstairs into the bathroom. There, in the cabinet is a razor made from a piece of tortoise bone. Two shells honed to a hollow ground edge are fastened on to its end inside a swivel mechanism.

"This woman is amazing," he muses. "What's next?"

When he returns, she greets him wearing nothing but some small flowers on tiny vines, each strategically positioned, she smelled faintly of gardenias. She then beckons for him to sit down next to her. "Tell me," she begins suggestively, slithering closer to him, "We've both been out here for many months. You must have been lonely. There's something I'm certain you feel like doing right now, something you've been longing for, right?" She stares into his eyes.

He can't believe what he's hearing.

"You mean..." he swallows excitedly as tears start to form in his eyes, "You've built a golf course!?!"

"The happiest people don't necessarily have the best of everything but they make the most of everything."

… Karen S. Magee

Join Us Online

LinkedInDo you want to explore some of these ideas in more depth? Then, we invite you to join our LinkedIn Group and share any insights you may have. As others have done, we also initiate your own thoughts and conversations if they relate to the ontological approach. You can find us on LinkedIn by clicking here.

Want to Read More?

Since the formation of Talking About in 2005, we have published our e-zine every month. Before that, Chris wrote regular newsletters and e-zines with Gaia Consulting dating back to 1995. If you would like to explore more of Chris' ideas then you can access our e-zine archive and view any newsletter written since 2005 by clicking here or to look at all the articles Chris has written over the years simply click here.

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