Decision Making Is A Process, Not An Outcome

 The Wu Li Master does not teach; he “dances” with his student                                                    as he knows the universe dances with itself.  Gary Zukav

I like dancing as a metaphor for decision making. This blog is a result of my recently reading Designing Your Future, 2016, by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans. And not so recently The Dancing Wu Li Masters, 1979, by Gary Zukav. My sub-title comes from the first book. And the idea for my title comes from the second book.

The image that the universe dances with itself makes me imagine that life dances with itself. The universe and life are too big and too complex to understand precisely and to control. Seeing them metaphorically as dancing helps understanding. And that leads me to see decision making as a dancing process. As Bill Burnett and Dave Evans point out:Life is a journey, not a destination and decision making is a process, not an outcome. Life is not an outcome; it’s more like a dance.

 A dancing metaphor appeals to me; and to many others. Dancing is the world’s favorite metaphor.Kristy Nilsson. One reason I like metaphor is because it enhances understanding the way we see things — and do things. And decision making is about the way we see things and do things. Choreography is the art of creating and arranging dances. Decision making is the art of creating and arranging choices. It is pretty well agreed today that decision making, like dancing, is an art. Science can assist us in becoming more skilled choosers, but at its care, choice remains an art, Sheena Iyengar.

My writing has always described decision making as a creative process. A process is a series of actions or steps. Decision making and dancing are both a series of actions and steps. Successful decision making and successful dancing have to avoid rigid rules, prescriptions, scientific formulas. In 1989 I wrote, in the Journal of Counseling Psychology: Decision making is a nonsequential, nonsystematic, nonscientific process. And in 1991 I published: Creative Decision Making, Using Positive Uncertainty.

In his book, Gary Zukav leads us by the hand into the dance, introducing us to the new amazing “Wu Li quantum physics”. Still more amazingly, we find that we are able to dance too — that we have always been part of the dance. Bill Burnett and Dave Evans, in their book: Dysfunctional belief: We judge our life by the outcome. Life is not an outcome. Life design is just a really good set of dance moves.

 A good decision is not a decision with a good outcome. A good decision is a decision made with a good process. The decision maker is in control of the process, not the outcome. Decision making has always been like dancing.  This just gives me a chance to reinforce it. Wayne Dyer points out that dancing is also a process, not an outcome.

                     When you dance, your purpose is not to get to a certain place on the floor.                                                  It is to enjoy each step along the way

Posted in Books I'm Reading | 1 Comment


Open-Mindedness Is The Best Teacher        

 If you see in any given situation only what everybody else can see, you can be said to be so much a representative of your culture that you are a victim of it.  S. I. Hayakawa

Hayakawa’s quote has always caused me to think: “I would be a different person if I had been born at a different time and in a different place.” I have lived in California all of my life. I didn’t travel outside of the United States until I was married with teen-aged sons. My many years of formal education have also had a selective imprint. My knowledge, beliefs and learning are the result of my limited, personal experience. Limited, personal and learningare the key phrases. As a result, unrestricted learning becomes a need. This makes me unique, just like everyone else. Learningnow becomes the major personal goal for continued growth.

Our unique learning has cultivated our personal mindsets (a fixed mental attitude or disposition that predetermines a person’s responses to and interpretations of certain situations). Think about this: If everyone is unique, then everyone has had different learning experiences and probably a different mind set. Personal learning experience can bea benefit or a handicap; it is is a powerful teacher. The best way to learn from experience is to have a lot of different experiences. The best way to have a lot of different experiences is to have an open mind. An open mind is receptive to new ideas and new learningexperiences.

My blog writing has often been to encourage others to pause and think about their own limited learning experience. And to be aware of the personal and limited cultural experiences of others; especially others who have a different point of view. This is particularly important today because in America we have such diversity of point of view (sometimes called tribalism). “We” don’t think like “they” think because we and they have had different life learning experiences.

So, what do we do about that? We can be careful not to have a fixed mindset (closed-mindedness) and focus only on what we know, but to focus on learning, because knowing can become the antithesis of learning. It is better to KNOW HOW TO LEARN than to know. Dr. Seuss. One way to learn is to expand your personal experience. Tyr it, you might like it. New ideas, thoughts and beliefs come from new learning experiences, which requires open-mindedness. Of course, this is a recipe for the ability to change. The measure of intelligence is the ability to change, Albert Einstein.

The ability to change is related to one’s personal experience and capacity to learn. Learning requires change and causes change. Therefore, the best teacher is a malleable mind, open to new experiences and able to change, which means the ability to learn and unlearn. The following quote I believe by R. D. Laing says it best.

 We must continually unlearn much of what we have learned,                                                             and learn to learn what we have not been taught.



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A Changing Subjective Worldview

Dictionary Definitions

Subjective: Based on or influenced by personal feelings, tastes, or opinions. Proceeding from or taking place within a person’s mind such as to be unaffected by the external world. Objective: Not influenced by personal feelings, interpretations, or prejudice; based on facts; unbiased:

The way we see things (the subjective) is changing. Today we have truthiness, alternative facts, fake news, post truth, untruth, falsehoods, misinformation, delusions, illusions and erroneous beliefs. All of these are versions of subjectivity. All are not new but today we have more versions than ever before.

Today we also have change that is more rapid, more complex, more disturbing, more unpredictable. Change and subjectivity have always been with us, but now they are the new normal. The New Normal is a previously unfamiliar or atypical situation that has become standard, usual, or expected. This blog is to suggest that change and subjectivity will be the key factors in the making of our future. I believe it is fair to say that the experience of subjectivity and change is changing.

Change isn’t usually a personal goal for most people; and people often resist change. Yet change is often seen as a good thing — for other people. Change is good, you go first, Dilbert. Today however, change keeps happening to us, so we begin to see the need for change by us. I believe we are beginning to see the need to become as capable of change as the environment.

And changing your view changes you; it changes your subjectivity. It changes the way you see things. Our new subjectivity is now based on our new personal feelings, tastes, or opinions — including those new opinions about change. This suggests a malleable mindset. Could it be that a malleable mindset will become the new normal?

We are being told, although everyone isn’t listening, that the way we see things is the way we see things; it is not the way everyone sees things. And it may not be the way things really are — because of our subjectivity. We are also being told that objectivity may not be possible. (The way we see thigs always includes us; you can’t take the you out of your observations.)

My description of the new normal may be an exaggeration, but think what it would mean to have the majority of us tryig to become as changeable as the environment, to be aware of our subjectivity, and to ask ourselves: “Why do I see things this way?”

Each mind inhabits a private universe of its own devising.   Diane Ackerman



Posted in Future Sense | 3 Comments


Is It Possible?

 In a time of universal deceit – telling the truth is a revolutionary act.                                                                                                      George Orwell  (unconfirmed)

Is today a time of universal deceit? A year ago an issue of Time magazine released acover story that asked the question: “Is Truth Dead?” Since then we have been reading about a “Post Truth World.” Perhaps one could argue that a post truth world is a world of universal deceit. Post truth is defined as relating to a situation in which people are more likely to accept an argument based on their emotions and beliefs rather than one based on facts. Oxford Dictionaries declared “post-truth” as its 2016 international word of the year, reflecting what it called a “highly-charged” political 12 months.

“I promise to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.” This is an oath required of witnesses in court. Maybe it should be required of politicians in congress. Actually, the voting public does not even expect politicians to tell the truth. And it is not possible to require, and we don’t expect, citizens to tell the truth. But shouldn’t we at least expect the president to tell the truth? Or at least tell the truth most of the time? But in order to tell the truth, one needs to know the truth. This is the interesting question about our current president. Is he lying or does he believe what he is saying is true?

Now post-truth has expanded well beyond the president. Post-truth has become the new normal (a previously unfamiliar or atypical situation that has become standard, usual, or expected.) “Don’t confuse me with facts, my mind is already made up” Can anything be done about our post-truth world? Or do we need to learn to live in a post-truth society? If telling the truth is a revolutionary act, let’s have a citizens’ revolt. But it will take a major revolution, because: A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth Is putting on Its shoes. Mark Twain.

On March 8, Vox, a general interest news site, published an article: “False news stories travel faster and farther on Twitter than the truth” by Brian Resnick. A huge new study shows why Twitter’s fake news problem will be so hard to solve. Resnick says: False news on twitter spread faster, deeper, and more widely than true news. False news is more novel and more emotional than true news. That’s always going to make it more clicky. I wonder if this is a problem that social networks can ever really fix.

Is a major truth revolution likely, when truth telling will outnumber the lies? Having a truth telling revolution won’t be easy because people will believe to be true what they want to be true. And, like the president, many politicians and citizens actually don’t believe they are lying, but believe they are speaking the truth.

Men, women and teenagers are marching in protest. The media is beginning to challenge. Politics is a hot topic in many arenas, including education, entertainment and sports. A Post Truth, new normal is being widely challenged. Can it become a “telling the truth revolution?”

Any predictions or suggestions?




Posted in Democracy in Danger | 1 Comment


And Wonderful   

 You think because you understand one you must understand two because one and one makes two. But you must also understand and, Sufi saying.

Consider this: Everything is interconnected to everything else in an unbroken wholeness. What this means is that nothing is separate: mind and body, you and me, us and them, believing and seeing, inside and outside, left and right, liberal and conservative, etc. etc. etc. (Separate, by definition, means not connected).

And what this also means is that interconnectedness requires such things as interdependency, togetherness, inclusion, collaboration, cooperation, equality, unity, compassion. These are human traits that are not well known right now. Self-interests and other interests are also interconnected, but we don’t like to admit it. Can you imagine what it would mean if we acknowledged that everything is interconnected?

I have written a lot about interconnectedness and admitted that I don’t understand it. Although I promote open-mindedness and inclusiveness, I really don’t fully understand inclusiveness. Systems science tells us that the whole is equal to more than the sum of the parts. As I was beginning to understand this, quantum physics now tell us that each part IS the whole. How am I expected to understand that? No part is separate???

This not understanding helps me promote my uncertainty and open-mindedness. Some of the most significant and wonderful things in our history are hard to completely understand, maybe even unknowable: the origin of the universe, quantum physics, human consciousness, God, what happens after death, etc. Perhaps this story told by Neils Bohr, a founding father of quantum physics, will help explain my title and subtitle.

The story is about a young student attending three lectures by a famous rabbi. The student says the first lecture was very good, he understood everything. The second lecture was much better — the student didn’t understand, but the rabbi understood everything. The third lecture was the best of all; it was so good that the rabbi didn’t understand it.

Bohr tells this story because he says he never understood quantum physics, even though he helped create it. To me this illustrates that what we are learning about the universe and human existence in it is “so good” that nobody really understands it all.

The interconnectedness of everything to everything else is a wonderful unknown story we are living. The unknown part is the reason science and religion were invented. And both now are beginning to realize that neither has yet completely solved the unknown.  I don’t think we should abandon the interconnectedness as unknowable or be incapacitated by not knowing. We need to keep trying to understand unknown interconnectedness and to enjoy living the mystery.

Life is not a puzzle to be solved but a mystery to be lived, Thomas Merton.




Posted in Beliefs | 2 Comments

 Science and Religion as Worldviews

My Beliefs

 This blog is about science and religion, not science vs. religion. It is about my beliefs of science and religion as worldviews. Remember my blogs have been promoting a collective worldview that is open and inclusive in order to change the direction the world is heading.    My question is: “Are the science and religion worldviews open and inclusive?” I believe science presents an open-minded, partial view of the world; I believe religion presents a closed-minded, exclusive view of the world.

Science: The observation, identification, description, experimental investigation, and theoretical explanation of phenomena. Religion: A belief in and reverence for a supernatural power or powers regarded as creator and governor of the universe. (Dictionary). These two worldviews, which profoundly influence our lives, will both need to be expanded if they are to be open and inclusive. A worldview is: A collection of beliefs about life and the universe; an overall perspective from which one sees and interprets the world. Science is open-minded because it seeks to be objective and it is partial because the scientific method cannot solve the non physical problems such as human consciousness, spirituality and the interconnectedness of everything to everything else. Religion is closed-minded because it relies on faith rather than evidence and it is exclusive because there are many, separate religious worldviews; and each religious version is the only one that is true.

Science and religion were both invented by humans — in that sense they are both subjective worldviews. Science and religion did not exist before human consciousness created them; we must not forget that. Since they were invented we have learned a lot about the world, the universe, the planet earth, the sun, the human brain, mind and body. What we have learned should make a difference in our current science and religious worldviews — if these worldviews are open to new learning.

It seems clear that science, religion, beliefs and all subjectivity are products of human consciousness. But this presents a strange irony. Science and religion were both created by human consciousness yet neither science nor religion knows what human consciousness is. I believe we need more than an expanded science and religion. We need a hard-to-define relationship with the mystery of life. Maybe that is what spirituality is.

Science plus religion, as they are, cannot provide us with an open and inclusive collective worldview. I believe we need something else. Maybe what is missing is a collective worldview with a better understanding of spirituality and/or human consciousness. And a  desire to investigate ways of comprehending interconnectedness’ and of achieving the common good — changing the direction the world is heading. Or maybe complete understanding will remain a mystery.

All worldviews are based on human beliefs and knowledge. To me, this raises the question: “Do you and I have a worldview that is open and inclusive?”




Posted in Beliefs | 3 Comments


No Thought Is An Island

No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. John Donne

No thought is an island; it’s an ocean of ideas. Louis Flood   

The larger the island of knowledge, the longer the shoreline of wonder.                             Ralph W Sockman 

 The three island metaphors might help us to better understand the interconnectedness of all things. Although interconnectedness may actually be too complex for the human mind to fully comprehend. An island is considered to be something that is isolated. These island metaphors suggest that people, thinking, and knowledge are not isolated or separate. They are all interconnected, just like everything else.

Because metaphor is so big on my list of useful concepts, and because disunity, division, disagreement, separation, tribalism and lack of unison is so prevalent today in America, the island quotations motivated me to write another blog on the unifying idea of interconnectedness.

People are interconnected to other people. Thinking is interconnected to beliefs, attitudes, emotions and other thoughts. Knowledge is interconnected to other knowledge, to illusions and to the unknown. If everything is interconnected to everything in an unbroken wholeness, then there are actually no islands, metaphorically.

I am hoping that this blog will influence others to join me in admitting we don’t really understand the interconnectedness of everything to everything else. However, I believe we need to keep trying to better understand and to increase our sense of wonder.

My strategy is to be in awe of interconnectedness. At times I do think about the relationship between the planet earth and the universe. I have no problem admitting I don’t understand and that I marvel in awe, wonder, respect, inspiration, admiration.

If we could admit that nothing is an island, nothing is separate, everything is connected, then we would not be divisive, we would not separate or exclude anything from anything else. Everything would be “part of the main”. Can you imagine what the modern day American culture would look like?

No culture can live if it attempts to be exclusive. Mahatma Gandhi

Posted in Words to Live By | 2 Comments