Thursday, October 12, 2006

what is integrated thinking?

You know that you are part of lots of different worlds. In each one, there are roles you play, roles others fill for you, and combinations that make your heart sing. In each one, there is also the potential to be pulled in different directions, to be crowded or pressured, to be forced into roles that just don't fit. Sometimes you feel that you are in the right place at the right time. Sometimes you feel out of step. What makes the difference?

You know that you are made up of many different roles. There is more than one voice in your head. Sometimes this diversity makes you feel strong, flexible, aware of your all-but super powers. You know the strength that comes from connecting different experiences, different dreams, different points of view. Sometimes you see things from so many perspectives that your vision splinters like a kaleidoscope. Sometimes your dreams seem to cancel each other out. Sometimes you know the exhaustion of expending strength in multiple directions. You are multi-talented; you suffer from multiple personalities. What makes the difference?

It's not enough to understand one thing at a time in a world where everything is connected to everything else. Understanding the connections is primary and understanding grows from attention. When you pay attention to connections, you start to see that everyone and everything is connected with thousands of invisible threads. You start to notice how one change ripples into many changes. You start to notice the difference between the team that is more than the sum of its parts and the person you are when you cannot get it together. You develop integrity: the strength to hold together under a range of forces.

Integrated thinking is not seeing the forest and it is not seeing the trees. It's seeing that the forest exists because of the trees. It's seeing that each tree becomes itself in the forest.

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