December 30, 2013

Icebergs on the Seas of Possibility

In 1975, Patti Smith spoke of  the“seas of possibilities,” imploring us to“seize the possibility”.  

In 1976 Richard Hell articulated his concept that he called The Blank Generation.

He envisioned this term, not as a nihilistic summation, but instead as a realization of potential, Do It Yourself, as opposed to waiting for someone else to do it.  

Following the lead of these two visionaries, Dense Milt was reinvented as a performer.  Hell and Smith (what a great name for a law firm) may have provided the concept that became my creative license, but it was my own license that allowed me to drive on the new roads built by this community of outsiders.  

In a similar vein,  a concept in business emerged around 1990 called “seizing the white space.”

A company may look to exploit their “white space”, which is defined as when we move far beyond core competencies into uncharted territory -- into the white space.

Some companies miss out on capitalizing on opportunities when the opportunities did not fit within their preconceptions of what they do well.   One needs to look no further than the contrasting stories of Apple and Kodak to see how we must escape our self-imposed constrictions.

We either think outside the box or climb within the box and start piling on the dirt.

To realize new value(s), we must first recognize what it is that we are doing well.  
But what to do when our recognition is defined by what we see in the mirror, and not what we or others can see within.

Perhaps we should explore the iceberg metaphor on this sea of possibilities.

The iceberg metaphor is defined by the empirical fact that what rises above the surface of the water is only a fraction of the iceberg that is submerged below the water’s surface.
We see visually what is above, while the iceberg below remains hidden, unknowable and therefore frightening. 

What is it that fuels our perception of the unknown as something to fear?

What if we were to view the unknown as a blank page, a palette waiting for our brushstrokes, a song waiting to be sung? 

What if we could see the unknown as something discoverable, and not threatening?

Can we derive understanding from the fact that the iceberg above the surface and the iceberg below the surface are both the same iceberg?

What we see on the surface is ice, but what we can’t see below the surface is also ice. 

So what separates the ice?

Surface tension.

The surface of the water.  Yet ice is also water, just in a frozen state. 

If the temperature above the water or below the water rises, more of the iceberg becomes water. 

So another factor in transformation is heat, the atmosphere and the relative temperature of the water.

Both the temperature of the air and the water can affect how fast or how much of the ice  melts. 

The lesson of the Titanic was the danger of ignoring what was below the surface, while the lesson of climate change will be the danger of ignoring what we are doing to the surface. Of how we ignore just how interconnected everything is.

If we apply the iceberg metaphor back to human potential, we see that what lies below the surface is our potential.
This potential is hidden, unknown and frozen in time.  This potential houses all of our fears, unknown dangers, and obstacles.

But it also contains seas of possibilities, discovery, magic, and new ways of thinking and being.

So release the potential.
Turn up the heat, raise the temperature.
Both inside you
and around you. 

dm 2013 

“Up there -- there is a sea
the sea's the possibility
There is no land but the land
Up there is just a sea of possibilities
There is no sea but the sea
Up there is a wall of possibilities)
There is no keeper but the key
(up there there are several walls of possibilities)
Except for one who seizes possibilities, one who seizes possibilities.
(up there)
I seize the first possibility, is the sea around me”

Horses  Patti Smith 1975

No comments:

Post a Comment