“To be interested in the changing seasons is a happier state of mind than to be hopelessly in love with Spring” George Santayana

I spent most of this week in Ireland teaching at UCD Smurfit Business School and then running a corporate event at Croke Park.  This week’s video is from Croke park – you can see in the background they are getting set up for the Rolling Stones concert.

If you are only happy in spring, you’ve limited your state of wellbeing to less than 25% of life.  Life comes with seasons.  It is best to learn to take the best from each of these seasons.

My dad often said “A leader should never waste a good crisis”.  The winter is when you can get people to change their habits.  When a company is growing and all is going well, you won’t get change easily.  When the company is struggling, competition is fierce, the winds are howling… people are hungry for changes.

Often the roots of new success are planted during the winter moments of our lives.

Creative Indifference

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My daughter checking the roses in my parent’s garden

A good gardener creates the conditions for growth of a garden, but cannot force the flowers to grow in an exact way.  The good gardener creates the conditions and accepts what arises.

The bad gardener fights what arises.  The bad gardener hacks and chops and fights against the natural growth of nature.

The good gardener changes the conditions and different plant shapes and varieties arise.

In each case the attitude of the gardener is “Interesting!  I wouldn’t have expected that.”  Creative indifference as a gardener is a deep curiosity, and an openness to delight in the million and one ways that nature can arise.

Good Teaching as Good Gardening

I want to teach more as a gardener than as a sculptor.

Up to now I often find that I am trying to remake a participant into my image of what she could be – I am metaphorically hacking off bits of stone and adding bits of paint.

A good gardener allows the plant to grow in its own unique way.  Nature is difference.  Nature is no straight lines, no leaf exactly like any other leaf, no flower exactly like any other flower.

I want to focus more on creating the conditions for growth in the classroom, during the breaks, during the lunches… that would allow the participants to grow in their own individual way – and have less fixed ideas about how each individual will use those conditions.  I want to be willing to allow the person to become who he is to become, rather than my ideal of what he could be.