Saturday, June 25, 2011

Reflection with Garr Reynolds . . .

Thinking about the break and the promise of renewal that it brings for many, leads me to once again visit this recent Presentation Zen post by Garr Reynolds. He is the author of the book that influenced my power points, Presentation Zen. He resides in Japan and is deeply influenced by the Japanese culture. In the short video (12 min.) TEDxTokyo presentation, he shares some of his thinking in lessons from bamboo. I find them applicable to me and to my work and recommend that you view the video and/or the descriptions on the post.

His ten reflection titles are shared below with a very brief comment from his summary. The complete summary can be found on the post.

Remember: What looks weak is strong

• . . . We must be careful not to underestimate others or ourselves based only on old notions of what is weak and what is strong. You do not have to be big and imposing to be strong. You may not be from the biggest company or the product of the most famous school, but like the bamboo, stand tall, believe in your own strengths, and know that you are as strong as you need to be.

Bend but don’t break

• . . . This gentle swaying movement is a symbol of humility. . .A bend-but-don't-break or go-with-the-natural-flow attitude is one of the secrets for success whether we're talking about bamboo trees, answering tough questions in a Q&A session, or just dealing with the everyday vagaries of life.

Be deeply rooted yet flexible

• . . . The challenge, then, for many of us is to remain the mobile, flexible, international travelers and busy professionals that we are while at the same time making the effort and taking the time to become involved and deeply rooted in the local community right outside our door.

Slow down your busy mind

• . . . Often it is difficult to see the signal through all the noise. In this kind of environment, it seems all the more important to take the time to slow down, to calm your busy mind so that you may see things more clearly.

Be always ready

• . . . through training and practice we can develop in our own way a state of being ever ready. Through study and practice we can at least do our best to be ready for any situation.

Find wisdom in emptiness

• . . . One cannot fill a cup which is already full. The hollow insides of the bamboo reminds us that we are often too full of ourselves and our own conclusions; we have no space for anything else.

Commit yourself to growth and renewal

• . . . You may at times become discouraged and feel that you are not improving at all. Do not be discouraged by what you perceive as your lack of growth or improvement. If you have not given up, then you are growing, you just may not see it until much later.

Express usefulness through simplicity

• . . . If we could lose our fear, perhaps we could be more creative and find simpler solutions to even complex problems that ultimately provide the greatest usefulness for our audiences, customers, patients, or students.

Unleash your power to spring back

• . . . The bamboo endured the heavy burden of the snow, but in the end it had to power to spring back as if to say "I will not be defeated."

Smile, laugh, play

• We have known intuitively for generations of the importance of smiling, laughing, and playing, now modern science shows evidence that these elements play a real and important role in one's mental and physical health as well.

He ends the post with the following words that resonate for me and hopefully for you.

You do not need to be perfect. You need only to be resilient. This is the greatest lesson from the bamboo.

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