Every morning I read meditations from the book, 365 Tao Daily Meditation by Deng Ming-Dao. Its also available at 365 Tao Digital Dharma as a podcast. The meditation for today was consistency which made me reflect on the work of Lauralee Alben. Here is part of my meditative response which I thought was interesting enough for public consumption...
One of the life changing people that I’ve met is Lauralee Alben. She is this amazing designer, who doesn’t design objects but rather organizations and more importantly people’s lives. She is another person with whom I had this instant connection. We ended up spending over 6 hours together talking from 6pm to midnight. We also seem to resonate at the same frequency. When I went to conference in Pasadena a few months back, people who met me and knew her kept saying that we needed to meet, not knowing that we had been introduced by my friend Parrish.
Lauralee changed my life because she introduced me to the concept of “intentions.” So I never use the word “goal” anymore, which implies a single-mindedness in both approach and outcome that leads to inflexible thinking. I use the word “intention,” which while preserving the sense of the desired outcome leaves open the approach or path that you take to realize it. As she told me, “Your intention is always in the form of a question.” So lately, my intention (my Tao) has been, “How can I create a space for interdisciplinary knowledge that supports positive social change?.”
This shift in thinking changes lives because it eliminates the possibility of failure, which I always thought of as the result of a lack of imagination based on the expectation that there is a single way to get to a single outcome. It opens up the possibility for collaboration because you can align yourself with people who share the same intention, but you can maintain different approaches. But most importantly, it provides you a clear perspective on the current meaning of your life, which allows you to be open to new experiences but find you way back to the main road.
Yet, consistency is key. I had a friend who was extremely inconsistent. She’d say that she would do something or be somewhere and back out last minute. She was constantly distracted by something or someone else, which ended up wearing down my sense of self-worth, because I could not believe that “buying a $1 gold fish” was more important than being somewhere when she said she would be. Given the fact that I am pretty low-maintenance anyway, I ended up terminating the friendship because this person lacked the ability to determine her priorities. Her inconsistency demonstrated to me that she did not value herself or her own perspective and thus would never value me or our friendship. Since then, consistency is something I look for in friends, because it means that while you can have fun and be silly, you both also know what matters. Sharing a sense of intention about what matters is the root of any friendship.
It is also the key to leadership in that I have learned to attract/gather people who share intentions, yet leave them to their own devices on how to get there. It is sometimes a hit or miss, but I am learning to be more discerning.