Posts tagged: life coach

Jamie Smart’s CLARITY – One Man’s Clarity and One Woman’s Response

A book offering clarity of mind lies on an empty beach

Jamie Smart has developed a clarity of mind which allows him to achieve ‘better performance and bigger results’, and in this book, he sets out to explain what he considers to be the essential foundations, deep drivers and way forward in the direction of focus, problem solving and success.

If you are looking for a book that investigates the process of thought; examines how we come to experience feelings as a result of our thoughts; and explains one man’s understanding of the discovery of his own innate capacity for clarity, then this is the book for you.

There are many points at which Jamie Smart and I agree and, as I re-read his chapter titles, I can see how the book appealed to my coaching curiosity: How Perception is Created; Habitual Thought Patterns; Creativity and Disruptive Innovation; Authenticity: Your True Identity; Capitalizing on Chaos, Complexity and Uncertainty; Living a Life You Love.

And, if I have a criticism, it is prompted by an admittedly very subjective sense of disappointment. It is true that this is a very interesting and thorough book. It is well written and the argument develops coherently. As a reader I am fully convinced that the clarity which Jamie, and many others, experience can make a profound difference to their lives. My disappointment lies in the author’s apparent conviction that his ‘understanding of thought’ is the only route to achieving the ‘necessary’ transformation.

Almost every chapter stirs my indignation with the author’s insistence. Here’s a classic example re Chapter 14, “The Power of Presence”. While I agree that you don’t need to be meditating to be in a meditative state, I can’t agree that “Deepening understanding of  the principles behind innate thinking” will necessarily bring you more and more fully into the present.  On the contrary, I believe that it is in fact being more and more in the present that will bring you still further into the present, and that the access portal is an experience of being in the present which can arise in an infinite number of ways, many of which involve no understanding of thought whatsoever.

I fully accept that my own response to the book could be described as being just a part of my own ‘story’. I can see that, in appearing to want to ‘defend’ NLP, Narrative Practice or any other ‘traditional application model’, viewed from the Clarity model, I run the risk of undermining my own argument and yet I believe I have something to offer in speaking my thoughts and do so from a position of open minded integrity.

It is not just that Jamie Smart seems to deny that a powerful Narrative Conversation, a significant NLP session, or a profound experience in any other context can be the experience that allows you to discover that you can let go of searching; that ‘getting’ of something clear and profound that lets you know you don’t need to improve yourself, you are already fine. No, it is the black or white, either or nature of the author’s view of the world. It’s either Clarity, by the author’s definition of the word, or it’s superstitious thinking.

Even while I agree with most of what I am reading, I am alienated. As I reread Chapter 21. Living a Life You Love, and experience a cumulative sense of free-flowing, in the moment, resilient, open, fearless, reflective, appreciative, innovative connection, by the end of the same chapter I am dismayed at its exhortation to ‘Keep increasing your clarity of understanding’. The clear message throughout the book is that it is only when you ‘make it a priority to increase your understanding’ that true transformation becomes possible.

Near the beginning of CLARITY I was assured I was going to ‘catch’ something. That it would ‘spontaneously result in “symptoms” of increasing clarity, resilience and peace of mind’. Towards the end of the book, I began to wonder whether it might be less the well-intentioned offering of a new way of experiencing life and more an exercise in the promotion of the Innate Thinking brand. That’s how I was disappointed. If I recommend this book it is with the proviso that, as you read, you engage your own vital and enthusiastic curiosity about what else might be possible.

To the author I would say, Yes, I agree that new thinking can show up at any moment and I invite you, from my Narrative / NLP perspective to consider a few questions.

What else might you discover if you were to also engage in not-understanding?

Might you have missed any possibilities about outside-in understanding?

What might an alternative 4th wave (thought revolution) be if it was not dependant on understanding the nature of thought?

If the 4th wave could include not only outside-in and inside-out understanding but also not-understanding, what might this make possible?

What might a 7th wave include?

What if, instead of a deeper, more profound understanding, we experienced a deeper acceptance of the mystery?

Might both be possible?

And what else?

I quote the lines that Jamie chose to end the book:

Forget safety.
Live where you fear to live.
Destroy your reputation.
Be notorious.”

Rumi, Poet

When I find myself reading a book with a pencil in my hand I know it’s a book worth reading, and reading CLARITY resulted in an entire notebook full of notes, arguments and questions.

It doesn’t get much better!

Negative Capability

slanting horizon

 

 

 

 

 

 

tide

bluster and tide
dawn
harry and chafe

rock pool and tide
sun
scour and comb

strandline and tide
gull
rope shell and line

river and tide
night
starless and black

rock fall and tide
moon
roll and return

recall and tide
thought
mind and remind

 

Negative Capability and Coaching

John Keats used the term negative capability to describe the artist’s receptiveness to the world and its natural marvel, and to reject those who tried to formulate theories or categorical knowledge. In a letter to his brothers he explained it as being, ” when a man is capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason.” Keats was talking about the artist’s ability to be simply receptive without prejudgment in order to be open to that which we don’t yet know.

For me this is a perfect description of the role of a narrative life coach and of the NLP Practitioner.  When we accept that our view of life is, necessarily, limited, and that there are possibilities of which we are unaware we open the doors of our perception to new, unguessed at futures.  This is a process of letting go.

Coaching can help us let go of whatever has been holding us back. Without realising it, we tend to become attached to limitations which we have created for ourselves.  

Often we develop these tendencies in order to protect ourselves from something and than practise them over and over again until they become ‘second nature’.  In other words they continue to drive us long after we are aware of them and long after they are actually helpful.  In fact they often become very well hidden barriers to our success.

Coaching can help you reach that state of mind; that negative capability, where it is possible to see that the seemingly impossible can be within reach.

 

national poetry writing month 2013

 

 

It’s day 25 on National Poetry Writing Month and today’s prompt suggested writing a ballad.  I have enjoyed writing ballads in the past and was happy to give it a go today but each attempt left me feeling frustrated.

It was as if the ballad form was getting in the way of the poem that was waiting to be written.  i had no idea what i wanted to write about and so I called upon my own state of negative capability, trusting the process of writing ‘without any irritable reaching after fact and reason’.  The poem above was what wanted to be written!

  

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