Thought Provoking

The following is taken from a post on December 2, 2007 by MIT professor John Maeda. http://weblogs.media.mit.edu/SIMPLICITY/ Even though he is talking about academia I could not help but think how this applied to coaching. I know I took it to heart as I struggle to stay relevant and motivated. I am going to work hard to be more like a bonsai tree. Enjoy it, it will get you thinking.

As one becomes more mature in one's field, a few tendencies emerge:
1) greed: to dominate the field in a conscious and egotistical manner,

2) nurture: to make room for others by fostering the next generation,

3) apathy: to simply "check out" and rest on one's laurels. Although the first option seems unpalatable, I am of the belief that option three is probably worse. All three types are necessary elements to a great system of knowledge. Because everyone goes through a variety of phases in their lives. Usually greed gets embarrassing and apathy or nurtureapathy is sometimes a sign of rest that presages intellectual growth manifest as greed or nurture; nurture however is unique, as sometimes there are people that are always living in this mode all the time. sets in;

Here at the Media Lab there is a particular senior Professor I admire that I've had a longtime difficulty trying to understand how he exists. Definitely of the constant nurture variety, this Professor is someone that as he ages only increases in seriousness, yet is the proverbial light that illuminates everyone around him manifest as inspiration -- and at some times, defeat. There are those that simply cannot keep pace with him. For all his potency, he never attempts to usurp power or damage anything around himself. There is something elegant and graceful to his actions that makes him an important species in the faculty forest.

Watching him got me to think that if this Professor were a tree, he is best characterized as a Bonsai tree. Sitting in a spare, limited pot by his own choice. Trimming himself constantly so as not to burden that which surrounds. Cleaning his own roots to ensure that he does not grow out of control.

Meanwhile in the forest there are others that are more like bamboo trees. Constantly spreading out of control and with roots that suffocate surrounding growth. Note that in the forest of wisdom, peace would be undesirable. The advancement of knowledge requires natural processes of survival and evolution.

Those that sit silent are like the rocks. They are inert and take up space but add to the total beauty of the forest.

Growth, control, and repose. These three need to exist in balance to make for a good forest of thought. The difficult task for the caretaker of the forest is to ensure watering the right areas, trimming back unaesthetic overgrowth, being cautious of the growth of weeds, transplanting less-thriving species to find greater strengths, and planting new seeds. But most important, ultimately knowing when to leave the forest alone. Hmmm. I think I see something now. Thank you for listening.


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