Quality Fuel

“I’m just discovering your work through your website, which is a refreshingly elegant, articulate and original integration of so much, with this strangely encouraging stream of sincerity running through. You’ve got an enormous, volatile mass of ideas and flashlights pointing in various directions. Part of me isn’t quite sure what to make of it all, especially as it relates specifically to your ‘Personal Skills Development’ subtitle. For example, as much as I like and enjoy Wade Davis’ Cultures at the Far Edge of the World presentation linked on your blog, I don’t immediately see the connection to personal skills. In general your offerings seem more in the category of philosophy or spiritual thought.”

Thank you for writing in with your reflections. I appreciate the feedback.

My hope and intent is to provide a wide range of resources and ideas that provoke real questions and considerations under the surface of common dialogue. With a definite thrust toward clues for moving beyond limiting patterns that restrict our personal and communal evolution and experience of, as well as effectiveness in, life. Part of that is about giving different angles of insight into the why and how of developing skills, whatever they may be.

I think the larger discussion, or the more relevant one surrounding skills development, involves what quality of fuel is being used to run the skill. Inevitably, and very quickly, this enters into the consideration of how much of oneself one brings to the show. For example, anyone can learn a sophisticated skill in an extremely short period of time, once they’re completely convinced of the need and benefit of doing so and find enough full-bodied conviction to engage it accordingly (“You never hear anyone practicing a language; they simply listen and then begin to speak.” — Wade Davis).

There’s a tunnel between our external skill sets and our deepest longings and passions. People with the highest developed skills know how to traverse that tunnel. That is, personal integration and wholeness — and consequent accomplishment and fulfillment — are largely about “enlightening” the tool with the best we have in us. The tool could be anything — a voice or body, a musical instrument or paint brush, a trowel, or a computer. But skill is made up of capability. That capability requires practiced familiarity over time with how to inject into the moment the highest quality fuel of our most powerful intent through our unique talents, virtues, and qualities.

Concerning the Wade Davis presentation… That’s placed there for a number of reasons. First, he describes and gives examples of versions of our intrinsic values throughout his presentation (always keeping close contact with nature and his own embodiment of those very values). Second, opening one’s mind to the spectrum of human creativity, perception, and ways of living can help to free us up from our own self-created restrictive constraints. We have a lot more options than we believe, everywhere and with everything. Third, his presentation itself is a superb example of high-quality fuel: obviously, he’s absolutely sincere and passionately (and compassionately) engaged in what he’s presenting – the tunnel is being traversed as he goes and it’s easy to see. And last, he’s done his homework across the board over time, so knowledge into skill into accomplished results is clearly on display. (I’m also a big fan of the idea that good communication can solve 90% of all problems, and he’s an excellent communicator, which is a very complex, and important, personal skill.)

There you go. I hope this helps to clarify, and thank you, again.

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