“Learning is Discovering What You Already Know . . .”

This is a statement made by Richard Bach in his brilliant book, “Illusions”.  Narrated as a simple fable, the book is a powerful metaphor for spiritual awakening and impacted my own learning journey significantly.

Bach’s simple yet profound statement validates the 3rd Principle of the 4 basic Principles of Learning on which the “CorporateTheatre” methodology is based.  These are:

  • Learning happens best in the child state.  In the adult state, one has most of the answers, very few questions.
  • No one can train another.  The onus is on the learner.  Unless the learner chooses to learn, learning does not happen.
  • One person’s knowledge may not be relevant to another.  Learning is best when each one gets in touch with their own inherent wisdom.
  • If there is learning, there is transformation.  If there is no transformation, there has been no learning.

Last evening a friend and fellow-facilitator shared with me the following passage, which once again reinforces the 3rd Principle:

“Recognition is famously a passage from ignorance to knowledge. To recognize, then, is not the same as an initial introduction. Nor does recognition require an exchange of words:  More often than not, we recognize mutely. And to recognize is by no means to understand that which meets the eye; comprehension need play no part in a moment of recognition. The most important element of the word recognition thus lies in its first syllable, which harks back to something prior, an already existing awareness that makes possible the passage from ignorance to knowledge: a moment of recognition occurs when a prior awareness flashes before us, effecting an instant change in our understanding of that which is beheld. Yet this flash cannot appear spontaneously; it cannot disclose itself except in the presence of its lost other. The knowledge that results from recognition, then, is not of the same kind as the discovery of something new: it arises rather from a renewed reckoning with a potentiality that lies within oneself.

(from “The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable” by Amitav Ghosh) (bold and italic added)

During the course of even an eight-hour workshop, without the use of any presentations, slides, projectors, or notes, participants experience and behaviourally demonstrate almost all the essential ingredients of high-performance leadership and team dynamics that we desperately seek at the workplace – instant Integration, free and open Communication, Collaboration, Creativity & Innovation, effective Delegation, managing Time, enjoying Change, celebrating Challenge, consistent Customer-Centricity, commitment to Quality, and having fun even when dealing with intense pressure, competition, and failure.

When I spell this out at the beginning of the workshop, it sounds highly idealistic to most participants and many of them think it is an arrogant exaggeration.  But then I give them the unconditional assurance that they will demonstrate all these behavioural elements as their own immediate and instinctive possibilities even within the first 3 hours of the workshop.

This becomes possible because the learning does not happen from external ‘teaching’ of knowledge, and explaining conventional definitions.  Instead, it is facilitated by a series of what Zen terms the “AHA!” experience of the participants as layer by layer, they drop the limiting baggage of past definitions and experience, and get in touch with a far more fundamental level of intuitive wisdom, and the primal instinct of ‘the human animal to hunt, survive, and WIN in packs’.

Having experienced the behaviour, the workshop also enables an exploration of how these immensely powerful and exciting possibilities are tapped, not by changing or transforming people, but by transforming the environment.  The role of leadership in creating and sustaining this environment for instinctive and consistent high-performance is also processed.

Most of what we need is already available within.  The challenge is not to learn, but to unlearn. “CorporateTheatre” is an unlearning experience.

This is a statement made by Richard Bach in his brilliant book, “Illusions”.  Narrated as a simple fable, the book is a powerful metaphor for spiritual awakening and impacted my own learning journey significantly.

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