When we train leaders, we tell them that although meaningful organizations (and individuals) have to start with vision, the much more difficult part is the next step – assessing reality. Naming a vision you can truly commit to is hard enough, but naming the truth of where I am right here, right now is even more elusive.
When we say this, it is always met with some skepticism. We get at least a couple sideways glances.
We are used to thinking of the future as elusive and mysterious; it is hard to pin down or predict. We are pretty sure of the past (which, we’ll see, is more of a HERE problem than a past problem) – we say things like “hindsight is 20/20”. Which, of course, it isn’t.
When we challenge people’s perception of the present, their assessment of “reality”, people tend to think we are talking in some superficial, physical sense. They say, “what do you mean? I am in this room right now. I have a body. It is Monday.” Seems pretty easy and straightforward.
The Complexity of HERE
So, sure you are sitting in a room and it is Monday. But the truth is reality is a lot more complex than that. How do you feel? For example. Why do you feel that way? Is another. What is the status of your relationships? What is your biggest fear? What are your weaknesses, the weaknesses of those you are in community with, and how do they relate to one another?
What is true? What about your experience has garnered your empirical knowledge and what about it has led to bias and predisposition that you carry into your next experience?
What about the past? How is it affecting you now? How does the way you were raised, the hurt you’ve endured, and the joy you’ve encountered factor into the way you see the world, the expectations you have for others, and the level of awareness you operate within yourself?
The truth is this: reality is big. Massive. Too big for you to truly wrap your head around. We try to numb it down to bite-sized versions by using absurd phrases like “my truth”. We act as though our evaluations are baseline fact, which informs how we think and behave in the face of any interpretation that disagrees (or agrees) with us.
It is a hornet’s nest of complications. The fact is, truth is too complex for you to assess. It is not that it is tricky; it is impossible! You have a narrow view from which to see all that is going in the cosmic world. Even if you get that narrow view one hundred percent right (which nobody does), you are still missing part of the truth.
Assessing reality then is about discovering the difference between fact and opinion, separating what I think from who I am, and discerning the difference between what makes me feel good and what is good.
HERE Today, HERE Tomorrow
As if this was not difficult enough, our current reality is ever-changing. Aspects of it are, therefore the totality of it constantly is. You make upwards of forty-thousand decisions a day. Every time you make one, your current reality changes. Every time someone with whom you are connected makes one, your current reality changes.
Our HERE is in a constant state of change. Yet, it is the only thing we are able to experience (the past is a memory and the future an idea). This is not to say it is undergoing a full overhaul every second of every day. There are elements that are consistent, even some that are eternal. But the great mixture, the recipe that makes up our reality, is constantly being tweaked and added to (and subtracted from).
So, take it easy on the assumption that you have a good grip on what is happening in the world around you, your life, and even your internal mechanisms. Life is complicated. Being human is hard. It is ok to admit you are just trying to make as much sense of it as you can. Perhaps recognizing the complicated and elusive nature of reality is the first step to truly perceiving what is best for your life and relationships.