I once learned from Robert Kiyosaki that intelligence is the ability to make finer and finer distinctions. Buckminster Fuller was one of his most influential teachers, the reason in fact, why he started the RichDad company…to improve the financial intelligence for all humanity. But how does that apply to integrity?
Think about this definition of intelligence for a moment. Finer and finer distinctions. More and more delicate. Beauty. What I think Buckminster Fuller is saying here is that our integrity is a like a muscle. It builds with time. And with that muscle we can do some incredible things. We can lift weights, we can break walls, or we can paint tiny model cars, with delicate strokes of varnish. It’s about being able to make distinctions about how much force or focus or delicacy or strength is needed in a single moment.
The more we learn to trust ourselves enough to exercise our version of integrity, the stronger it becomes. And the stronger it becomes, the more delicate and beautiful it’s capacity, in our hands.
When we’re able to build up this level of integrity within ourselves, we’re able to apply it to a world that in desperate need of compassion, understanding, innovation and change.
If you read any of Bucky’s work, you’ll hear one common idea, whispering through it. He was a simple man and maintained that simplicity in his ideas (maybe not in his words!) and kept it consistent this way.
His dream was to see a world where every individual was playing their part. He saw a future where we’d all be playing a World Game. Where each of us would be conscious of our gifts and our responsibilities to Spaceship Earth. This was the only way that he saw humanity passing the Final Exam. The final test that allows us to evolve and avoid extinction.
That brings our Buckminster Fuller Week to a close. I hope he has inspired you, the way that he inspired me and the hundreds of thousands of influential people around the world today that are still carrying out his legacy.
Until next time…
I’m paraphrasing Buckminster Fuller here.
What he said was that each individual, each human being is facing a final exam. Every day.
And that exam is all about integrity.
What did he mean by our integrity? He meant, our ability to see the truth and to love it.
He went on to say that the closest we can get to God (or the Universe or whichever Higher Power you choose to believe in) was to love the truth.
Now truth is something that’s relative to what we know today. It may change, but when we embrace the truth, we live with congruency. We live our lives beyond our fears.
Basically, living with integrity is living with our eyes completely open to what is. It’s a constant state of being more and more each day.
It’s not easy, but it’s a worthwhile goal to attempt each day. Each day is a fresh test.
Integrity isn’t something that is fixed. A lot of it is a subjective experience. Mostly, being integrous is about being true to what we understand about ourselves and the world around us. We build this up by being honest about what we’re experiencing.
Not justifying our experience.
Not seeking to complain about our experience.
Not looking to blame others for our experience.
Not denying that the experience even happened.
And most importantly, not quitting because of the experience we’ve had.
We build integrity through taking responsibility for our experiences. That means, looking at our responses and choosing them with authenticity.
For example, let’s say I’m desperate to make a new friend. I meet a group of people that welcome me. But they’re crazy about sports…and I’m not. Instead of telling them this, I play along, according to what I think they’d want me to be.
“This is what it takes to make friends.” I justify my experience. But after a while I start becoming irritable and I just don’t know why. I would know why, if I was ready to be honest with myself. The truth is that I don’t like sports. If this is worth losing friends over, then good. I’ll one day find friends that also don’t like sports.
Integrity is the final test.
Until next time…
9 times out of 10, fighting is a waste of your energy.
Buckminster Fuller understood this. He didn’t fight resistance. He looked for answers to that resistance.
Everything around us is travelling in a direction. In a frustratingly stubborn direction. When we become adaptable and learn how to see the direction something is travelling in, we can use it to our advantage.
Most of us learn how to fight early on in our lives. When we fight well, we learn what it means to be in a position of power. When we don’t fight well, we learn what it means to be in a position of submission. That’s when we lose a fight.
This Conquer or Be Conquered approach is an outdated idea, but it’s an idea that we still cling to. Most industries are founded on this thinking. But what does it yield us, at the end of the day? Bruises, scars, broken bones, broken relationships and ideas about people being essentially bad.
In a fight, something’s got to give up. One of the two opposing forces have to relent. And when they do, all that energy that they put into the fight is lost. It’s wasted. What if there was another way of turning that energy into something.
Think about it this way. Would you stand in front of a train that’s hurtling towards you? Or would you buy a ticket and sleep while this train takes you wherever you need to go?
The choice is always yours, when you become aware of the direction things are travelling in. That’s how you turn opposition into collaboration.
The biggest and scariest challenge that mankind faces at this moment, is collaboration. People don’t seem to understand that we’re all living on earth, together. If the planet goes, we go. Until space travel and living on other planets is viable, that’s the way it is.
So instead of us and them, why not look at humanity as being part of the same team?
Why not look at the people around us as collaborators in our success?
Until next time…
The key word here is “always”. Experience is always teaching us. No matter what. And not just one experience. Every single experience!
We’re always learning from our experiences. And that’s why experience isn’t always a great teacher…not if we don’t learn the most effective lessons from it.
For experience to be a great teacher, we need to improve our consciousness, our awareness in the lessons that we’re learning.
What have you learnt today from your experiences?
And how is it serving you in your life?
Let’s take a look at a scenario where experience is a bad teacher.
Regina has been in a relationship for 3 years now. It’s one of her first serious relationships as an adult. It’s not perfect and it has more ups than downs, but she’s kind of happy. She lives with her boyfriend, Ralph. They’ve lived together for 2 years now. When they first met, she loved Ralph’s sense of humour. He always knew how to make her laugh. But when they started getting serious, Ralph turned that humour on her.
At first it was a joke. It was harmless. But as time goes on, it gets worse. Little jabs at her weight and the odd shape of her nose increased with greater frequency. Eventually, they turned nasty. The one day Regina arrived home from shopping with two grocery bags in her hands. Ralph was lying on the couch and turned his head to see her come in.
“I never thought I’d see the day where a whale was carrying the shopping. We should film this and sell it to the news people. We’ll be rich.”
Regina doesn’t say anything. It isn’t the first time he had said something like this. Yes, it is deeply hurtful, but instead of saying so, Regina goes into the kitchen and starts thinking about this experience.
Well, maybe I am as fat as a whale. I have been putting on a few kilograms lately, she thinks to herself. Maybe it’s time that I started going on that diet that I’ve been planning on going on since I got together with Ralph. Maybe he’ll love me better if I lose some weight. I mean, he’s a big guy and he should have a slim woman to take care of him.
She justifies what Ralph has said while she’s packing away the groceries. By the time she’s done, she’s feeling better and joins him on the couch. She’s turned her experience into a learning. Is it the most effective learning? Will it bring her the most happiness?
Let’s use the same example.
Regina wakes up the very next day. She’s hurt and resentful of Ralph’s comments from the day before. In fact, she’s downright angry.
She wants to scream at him.
To punch him. She wants to…to…
Ice cold fear pours over her anger, turning it to cool steam.
Ralph’s a good man. He doesn’t mean what he says, she thinks.
Instead of screaming, shouting and punching, Regina signs up for a gym contract with immediate effect. She signs up for a personal coach and a diet plan and she gyms every day. A month later she’s lost 10 kgs. Two months later and she’s lost 30 kgs.
One day she’s having coffee with her friend, Jessica.
“Regina, you’re looking amazing.” Jessica leans in and smiles. “And look at all these guys checking you out!”
Regina blushes. “Is that what they’re doing? I thought there was something on my face!”
“Oh, come on. You’re stunning.”
“Oh stop it.”
“I’m serious. I saw seven people turn their heads to take a double look back at you. And that was just walking up from the car park. Haven’t you noticed this?”
“I have. But to be honest, I thought that there was something wrong with the way that I was dressed. Do I look okay?”
“No, Regina. You don’t look ‘okay’. You look amazing!”
She blushes again. She’s not used to these complements. They make her feel warm and glowing, as if she’s bursting at the seams with this feeling that she’s never experiences before. After her coffee, she goes home. As she opens the door, Ralph is on the couch. He turns his head, rolling his eyes up to see her come in.
“Did somebody order a scarecrow? We don’t exactly have—
Without thinking, Regina throws her handbag at Ralph. It hits him in the head and he squeals into an upright position, holding his throbbing head.
“Dammit, Regina! What’s your problem?”
A clear light goes on in her head.
“You’re my problem, Ralph. I see that now. You’re my problem. You had an issue when I was heavy. You have an issue now that I’ve lost weight. You’re my problem! Wait, let me rephrase that. You were my problem. I’m done with you. Goodbye, Ralph. This is over. I’ll fetch my things in the morning.”
She snatches her handbag from the couch, turns and leaves. Ralph is still trying to mumble something behind her. She doesn’t care. It’s the like the echo of a song she once liked. A song that she’s outgrown.
Buckminster Fuller understood the value of learning from experience. But conscious learning from experience. The sort of learning that benefits the whole of mankind.
When we are able to take lessons from our experiences, we’re able to grow. That’s the beauty of experience.
P.S. If you’d like to check out a few more insights from Bucky, check out another post about being naive here.
Until next time…
We’ve already seen what computers are doing to specialist jobs in the world. Years ago, most industries were safe…now, automation has made a lot of that safety redundant. It’s gone. Is this cause for fear?
No! Human beings were meant for so much more than menial tasks that computers can do without thinking. What Buckminster Fuller saw happening in the future was just what has come to pass.
But he saw past the fear of losing jobs.
He saw past the fear of survival.
He believed that human beings were only species that didn’t need to rely on being specialists in something. Humans are comprehensive. We think, we act, we do, we learn. We have a level of consciousness that is creative or even destructive.
Extinction has claimed the lives of certain birds, mammals and insects because these species “specialised” in only one area.
These birds, insects and mammals found their food from one place.
They made their homes in one place.
They had generations in that one place.
When “that one place” was demolished, what happened to the entire species? Extinction wiped them out.
With computers, automation and robots taking over the boring stuff, we can focus on what we do best…innovate, create and make the world a more effective place for the people who live on it.
Remember, computers will never be as comprehensive as a human being. Use that to your advantage. Be Comprehensive.
That means, being curious about the world around you.
It means being open to learning, listening to new ideas about the world around it.
Often it means trying things out and making mistakes and learning from the mistakes that we make.
Being comprehensive is the reason why we’ve managed to progress as human beings, to reach the technological breakthroughs that we’ve discovered.
Until next time…
When was the last time you were naive? I mean, really, really naive. When was the last time you had someone laugh at you after you expressed an idea, a dream or a thought?
Growing up, I hated it when people called me naive. “That’s not the way the world works.” It was as if I wasn’t grown up enough to understand how things worked. It was as if I was living in a fantasy.
Well, I’m not a child anymore and now that I’m an adult, I look back on my childhood and my experiences and I understand that the naive are the ones that re-imagine the world. No innovation is done by the people who are set in their ways.
The future that we all dream of is possible…if we’re naive enough to dare to dream it into existence.
But dreaming is counter-intuitive to the traditional systems of the world. In order to dream, you’ve got to have thick skin.
As a dreamer, you will be laughed at.
You will be ridiculed.
Perhaps you will be scoffed at.
You will have numerous heads shake at you in disdain.
But one day those same people who laughed might be the same people who thank you for thinking differently, for creating a new reality for them and their families. Know this every time they laugh at your ideas and remember that thinking, creating and dreaming is some of the hardest work that a human being can do…that’s why so few people engage in it!
Buckminster Fuller was a man in reverse. The older he got, the more he dreamed. And the clearer his dreams became. His greatest dream was that one day, all mankind would play a “World Game” where everyone would play their part and contribute to the success of mankind, together.
Until next time…
This week, we’re going to give appreciation to a great man. Look, I have no doubt that he had his faults. I’m sure he upset a lot of people and stepped on a lot of toes. He understood what it meant to live with tension. But he lived his life with passion and purpose and that inspires me.
I recently started reading some quotes that Bucky explored and I was once again excited by the ideas that permeated his mind. I’m going to share the ones that have really stood out to me. The ones that make sense.
Over the next week I’ll release one idea that has stood out to me, each day. I’ll explore the idea and see how it applies to our current state of the world. So, let’s get started!
Tension? Tension?! On holiday last week, I took the time to read some Bucky Fuller and was once again inspired by his ideas. So, this week will be Bucky Fuller Week.
What does he mean by tension? To me, it means the pressure, both inside and outside a system that keeps it in shape.
Most people think of tension as something negative, but tension is the way that anything keeps its shape.
As human’s our tensions hold us together. They give us shape and allows us to be. Too much tension and we lose ourselves. Too little tension…and we once again lose ourselves. Tension, stress, pressure, whatever you want to call it, defines us.
The question is really, who are we? How do we define ourselves? That’s where integrity comes in.
I firmly believe that if we’re honest with ourselves, we discover our true tension, our true integrity.
When we allow ourselves to discover who we are, what we’re most passionate about, and what our purpose is, we discover the integrity behind our tension…our tensegrity.
Until next time…