Welcome to the harbour.
An important ability for our own and others’ wellbeing is taking perspective and be aware of context: we are never neutral, and all that we perceive is through a filter coloured by our cultural background. An example is to be able to think about what is truly universal when in fact it is more likely a subjective norm in our community. But how to navigate this complex globalised world?
Descartes said: I think, therefore I am. But you are not what you think. Consider a different kind of blue-sky thinking – you are the blue sky and the clouds are your thoughts. Some are heavy and opaque, others light and translucent. All will pass but they will also keep coming.
For years, I have been advising students – young people, experienced entrepreneurs, managers, curious retired – about how to take stock and consider an alternative route by changing perspective. This can be for small projects (such as a thesis) or life’s big decisions (relationships, family, finances).
Away from choppy open seas, we can take the opportunity to take stock. With me as your guide, we can talk about where you came from and where you’re heading. This process entails your experiences at work and life in general.
Like any adventurer, explorer, or all of us trying to make sense of this exciting but complicated world, we need to use a compass to identify our position. How do we spend our days and what are some of the key words that define our social identity?
We also want to check the map and articulate where we’re heading. What are the values that are the guiding principles that guide our lives? What or who do we (want to) belong to?
But outside the harbour the weather can be treacherous. A barometer helps to establish when to set sail. How can we make sense of this VUCA world (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous) and organise macro- and micro-level factors of influence? Specifically, what can we learn from cross cultural differences by looking at our location on the map and compare this to the rest of the world.
Then, once we have planned your destination, you can decide whether you want to drop anchor or keep sailing.
Why North Star? Because it lies nearly in a direct line with the Earth’s rotational axis “above” the North Pole, the North Star (Polaris) stands almost motionless in the sky, and all the stars of the northern sky appear to rotate around it. Therefore, it makes an excellent fixed point from which to draw measurements for navigation (source).
Please note – for serious challenges such as addiction, trauma or mental health, please contact an expert.