One Apple A Day #866 – Vitality

Do you know someone who has some much life and energy in them that they couldn’t hold it inside? Those people full of enthusiasm, who always have an idea, a project, the need for something to do.

I know a few, and they are a gift.

Sometimes they may be exhausting to deal with, but their vitality is contagious.

In my dialect, we have a word for this kind of state; morbin.

We say that someone has the “morbin” when they are restless, exuberant. It is used with both a positive and negative meaning. 

This word doesn’t have an equivalent in Italian.

It is fascinating how different languages have specific words for things or concepts absent in other idioms. Every community or tribe creates the words they need to navigate reality efficiently. 

Companies are not different, they also have their unique vocabulary.

Language is an essential pillar of every culture. 

Thinks about the words you use more often in the team, company, family, or community you are part of. What do they say about your tribe?

“All language proceeds as a system of navigation. Named things are fixed points aligned or compared, which allow the speaker to plot the next move.”

Bruce Chatwin

One Apple A Day #721 – they are us

An inspiring conversation on a post by my friend Marc Winn sparked some challenging thoughts in my head.

Lately, I hear many people around me talking about “they”, the crooked leaders, the controlling organizations and governments who want to dominate “us”, the people. But aren’t “they” people too? Aren’t these organizations made of people? Aren’t “they” sons, daughters, fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, friends, neighbours of someone like we all are?

Some times I feel we talk about leaders as if they are from a different planet. 

But they are not. 

They are human beings. 

They are us too.

And if that’s true, the when do “they” become something different from “us”?

And then a thought hit me. What if there is no difference? How can I be sure I will behave differently in the sit of one of the leaders we all despise so much? 

What if the only difference between me and “them” is that I don’t have a position of power in my community?

Talking about “them” instead of us is comforting. It makes us feel that we are not responsible for what’s happening. It’s all “their” fault.

As Marc wrote in his post, “we are only as strong as our weakest link, and that weakest link could be the perpetual story and belief that there is a ‘them and us’. In the end, we are all in this together, and for me, there can only be a sustainable future if we collectively believe and act in that way.

We all have a role to play in creating the future.

One Apple A Day #679 – organizations or organisms

“A different ideal for organizations is surfacing. We want organizations to be adaptive, flexible, self-renewing, resilient, learningful, intelligent – attributes found only in living systems. The tension of our times is that we want our organizations to behave as living systems, but we only know how to treat them as machines.” — Margaret Wheatley, Finding our Way

When I read these words from Margaret Wheatley, the first image that came to my mind, is one of a shift from organizations to organisms.

An organization is an organized group of people with a particular purpose. 

An organism is a system consisting of interdependent parts. 

These are just the first two definitions that I pick from the web.

Maybe it’s one of my biases, but when I think about an organization, my focus goes to all the parts that make it work. As if the organization is something that grows outside and between the people who are part of it. It’s an image of separation. 

The image of an organism is one of wholeness. The strength of the organism comes from the interdependence of the parts. There is no separation from the parts and the whole. The organism’s growth happens both inside and outside people. 

I’m not sure about what to do with these thoughts. But I know words are powerful and shape reality. So, maybe, if I begin to use a different word for the initiatives in which I’m involved, new ways of working together may emerge.