What Circle Are You On?

755.Join me in inspiring truly powerful people. Each day I will add a new thought, story or idea to support your quest and mine.

There are lots of Venn diagrams showing up in my life. Today, Beth offered another that applies to education. The three circles of her diagram are Pattern, Metaphor, and Questions. Master these circles and you are a critical thinker. She brought to mind those other circles from my past, The Vicious and Virtuous Circles (I am now thinking of them as a Venn diagram – more on that in another post). I dug around and found these notes that I wrote almost seven years ago. Think about the notes as they might relate to education reform (or life change):

A Vicious Cycle has the following characteristics:
• There are winners and losers (a finite game)
• The direction of movement is “away from” something (a negative action)
• The actions are reactions.
• It is reductionary in every way (“tames” or over simplifies problems, reduces others, reduces self)
• Circumstance/Fear driven

The Virtuous Cycle has the following characteristics:
• The game is played for mastery (an infinite game)
• The direction of movement is “toward” something (a positive action)
• The actions are generative or creative.
• It is expansive in every way (allows for complex problems and identities)
• Values/Love driven

Both the Vicious and the Virtuous cycles are patterns. Just as water always follows the structure of the land, behavior always follows the underlying structural pattern. In other words, the pattern represents a way of being. The Vicious Cycle is a default pattern, an unconscious way of being. The Virtuous is an intentional pattern, a conscious and therefore, a creative way of being. The goal is to replace the default pattern with the intentional pattern.

To move from the Vicious to the Virtuous cycle, you first have to Identify & Clarify:
Identify your Vicious Cycle. Name it.

After you identify your Vicious Cycle, answer these questions:
Why move off the circle? What do you gain by staying in your default mode? In other words, what does the Vicious circle buy you (you only stay in dysfunction if you are getting something from it)?

Identify/Clarify your Intention
What do you want?
Identify/Clarify your Circumstance
What’s in the way? Name your obstacles.
Identify/Clarify your Values
What drives you? Name your yearning.

The required Movement/Action is to build a new pattern. Since the Vicious and Virtuous Cycles are patterns (structure of the land). Talk about the competencies in terms of building a new pattern. These are:

Pattern to catch your 1st thought, and then work on your second.
How: witness your thoughts; challenge your assumptions.
Pattern to suspend judgments
How: put down your need to be right, assume that you “don’t know”
Pattern to grant specificity.
How: Look beyond the superficial, own your fear,
Pattern to slow down
How: Breath, Be seen
Pattern to say yes and….
How: open your fist; entertain other perspectives
Pattern to step toward….
How: own your edges; make them horizons

Initially, the competencies may look too simplistic, however changing the behavioral structure of a human being begins with changing the patterning; also, systems never change through complexities, rather, they change through leveraging the local simplicity. It’s the pattern that reveals the local simplicity….

Thank you, Beth. Pattern. Metaphor. Question. What we do is really a matter of the direction of intention.

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