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Ideas for people pursuing an empowered life,




The 3 pillars of effective communications

I can find jungle « lessons » just about anywhere. I was recently working in a small town in the countryside, with the management team of a manufacturing company, when I stumbled over great one.

Suzy and I helped them make some critical decisions and so we stayed in a local hotel over a few days. One night, we ordered dinner from room-service as we had documents to prepare for the next day. Turning the television on, I flipped though its 100 channels and stopped at the Discovery station where we watched a show on a program in Africa that helps chimpanzees.

The project cares for babies chimps orphaned by poachers and older animals abandoned or otherwise mistreated by people. Unique, it includes a very large fenced compound at the center of several hectares of primary forest, in the jungle. A few dozen animals are being cared for by dedicated handlers and are raised to maturity or healed from trauma. Their numbers ate growing because of their familiarity with human beings. Those monkeys won't go back into the wild. They choose to explore new kinds of relationship with the jungle and with people.

The adult chimpanzees have a free run of the jungle during daylight hours but insist on returning to the compound at night. Whereas they would normally have learned about the environment from their parents and extended family unit, this particular group had to be taught to climb trees... as babies raised by people are "naturally" uncomfortable with heights.

The compound is ruled by the senior beneficiary in the project. A very wise male, he pretty-much lets the humans organize things and will intervene when he thinks it necessary.

One day the whole compound was in an uproar. A new addition was causing quite a stir. The new chimp baby was unexpectedly and surprising different... it was a half-albino. Every monkey in the place wanted to see, grab, hug, squeeze, smell, touch, taste and whatever, the strange, white, newcomer. All monkey rules collapsed, decorum hit a frenetic din and things were heading for chaos.

Looking for order, the old ruler raised his voice and barked a command. But he was totally ignored. He must have had a serious intent because he then offered a fierce, insistent roar, accompanied by aggressive charges, demanding gestures and appropriate raves, but his was lost in the frenzy.

Then he commanded « attention ». He walked over the new half-albino baby, picked it up, raised it high above his head and threw it against a chain-link fence.

Well you could have heard a pin drop.

He'd "stopped time" and he now roared in the silence. I don't know what he said but I do know everybody was listening. The baby was shaken but not stirred, but chimp curiosity became more subdued and orderly. I realized that old monkey knew the 3 pillars of effective communications: 1. "Intent" - when it's seen as an edifice standing in front of you; 2. "Attention" - if it's considered a challenge; and 3. "Empathy" - seen as a tool.

* 1. Seeing "Intent" like edifice means that you realize how thoughts and actions are forces in time-space. When an edifice in front of you, your intent will have physical dimensions - i.e. structure, form, purpose and such. A Sports Arena, for example, will suggest different behavior than a Cathedral. In that way, the "intent" to spread goodwill suggests different behavior that the intent to "hard sell" a particular point of view.

* 2. Holding people's "attention" is a major challenge these days. Solicited from every direction, people have less time than ever before, with more information to digest, and "attention spans" are severely taxed. Knowing how to grab a person's attention, how to optimize opportunities when you get them and how to synthesize a message to focus on essential information is a key ability for success.

* 3. Empathy - that is, seeking to understand others before trying to be understood by them - becomes a tool when you use it to monitor receptivity during an exchange. By tuning into how other's are receiving your message, you'll be able to adjust in a moment to moment way.

Consider these 3 pillars to empowered communication when you relate your "creative intent". As you influences others and profit from the results, you'll see how effective communication is a magical force. Then you'll more easily rule your corner of the jungle.



I was thinking about "portraits" recently. A picture is worth 1000 words say the wise... so what do your ID, Driver's License or Passport photos say about you?

An invaluable tool, a good portrait can be sent ahead of a meeting... to strategically create the impression you want to project. You won't get a second chance to make a good first one, so let « Image thinking »... tilt the odds in your favor. How to pose for a good photo? Click here.



Shorten the learning curve with a week that's concentrated on the motivation, the strategy and the empowerment needed to build « High Performance Teams ». See how our program can serve you by clicking here. See the tour's Daily Agenda here.

See how we can be your "full service partner" in planning, organizing and leading an outstanding training incentive for your team by clicking here..



New year... new resolve... new beginning... new way to learn: You can take courses for practically anything... online. Start at http://www.virtual-learning.ca for all kinds of personal development courses.

Resolve to learn a new language and then click http://www.languages-on-the-web.com. If you've decided to write that great novel, check out http://www.trace.ntu.ac.uk and find an online writing center in England that can help.

I can cross the street from the office to the Campus but you can click here - http://odl-lits.concordia.ca/open/online/online.htm and take a wide range of courses from dedicated and passionate tutors at Montreal's Concordia University or just to chat with fellow learners.

And http://www.schoolfinder.com is a site about Canadian post-secondary education - which is generally topnotch and a lot less expensive than many places. But if you don't believe more education is necessary, that we already have all the wisdom in the world, see the doomsday clock at http://www.thebulletin.org/clock.html.



"The big question is whether you are going to say a hearty yes to your adventure." - Joseph Campbell

"Live and work but do not forget to play, to have fun in life and to really enjoy it." - Eileen Caddy

"One of the secrets of life is to make stepping stones out of stumbling blocks." - Jack Penn

"DON'T WAIT!! The time will never be just right." - Napoleon Hill

"If I had listened to the critics I'd have died drunk in the gutter" - Anton Chekov

"The creative person is both more primitive and more cultivated, more destructive and more constructive, a lot madder and a lot saner, than the average person." - Frank Barron



A long time ago tribe on the Hidden Continent, the Chief of the Torokaka ruled from an ornate and priceless gold throne. It had been handed down from father to son over centuries and was said to give any ruler who sat upon it great wisdom. The Torokaka people had always lived off the land simply, sleeping in small grass houses grouped in clusters and believed completely in the wisdom of their throne as peace and plenty had blessed them since antiquity.

All the roads in the Torokaka kingdom crossed at a great central cluster so the people could see their most precious possession whenever they traveled. It was kept in a grass house larger than all the others and was guarded day and night as the symbol for all that is good. It was so precious that every Torokaka warrior would happily surrender his life to protect it and while tribe members of certain status were allowed to guard it, only the Chief or his eldest son could sit on it - and even then, on certain clearly defined ritual occasions. All obeyed under penalty of banishment.

Of course, stories of "the gold throne of wisdom" spread to neighboring kingdoms via nomads, but so fierce were the Torokaka in defense of their treasure, nobody had ever tried to take it. There had been some attempts in the remote past, but no would-be plunderer had ever returned alive.

With the passage of years, as the wiser warriors retired, the Torokaka tribe grew fewer in numbers, dimmer in wisdom and narrower in spirit. Then, some of its young men went off to work in the big cities at the edge of their world so they could send money home. Instead, they bought Levi jeans and lived in slum tenements drinking hootch and dreaming of paradise... i.e. the comfortable grass houses of their families, in the lush countryside at the center of the territory.

Not enough people lived in the middle regions to carry out the wise suggestions of the Chief and so communication broke down, and soon the only message to reach most people was to head for the big city. Soon, in the city, the alleged power of the gold throne as a « seat wisdom » was a topic ridicule and myth. Many people remarked that they were better off and had new, automated « porcelain thrones ».

Elsewhere though, in some circles, word spread that the gold throne was no longer so well defended. A campaign to defeat the Torokaka was considered. Neighboring plotters came together to discuss taking the gold throne away from the Torokaka, selling it in the city and using the proceeds to buy Levi jeans, hootch and slum tenements for themselves.

On behalf of the tribes in the outer regions, the plotters announced that "[...] wisdom by some is contrary to the notion of security for all." and they labeled the Torokaka throne a « weapon of mass disruption ». Then they elected a war-lord to deliver an ultimatum concerning the surrender and handing-over of their "throne of mass disruption".

Naturally, word of the unrest had reached the wise Chief of the Torokaka and he also called a meeting. His few remaining warriors gathered to determine a strategy for the protection of their wonderful and wondrous asset. After some consideration, Torokaka warriors decided the throne could be hidden in a specially constructed loft, high in the roof-space above the throne-room: "Out of sight... out of mind!" was their wisdom.

A secret compartment was duly constructed in the roof-space of the great grass building. Then with monumental effort, the heavy throne was hoisted up and safely stowed behind a false-panel of dense, freshly-cut river-reed to hide it... and all traces of a second floor.

Once this was completed, the warriors answered the ultimatum by sending word that the gold seat of wisdom had been stolen by people in the city and was no longer in the possession of the Torokaka. Emissaries and inspectors from the region were invited to see for themselves.

Furious, the elected war-lord decided to go himself and so he gathered a small party of personal guards - his fiercest - and demanded that the Torokaka comply with his unconditional inspection. He followed any road to the center of the kingdom and was met by gentle people who ushered him into the near empty throne-room. In that great grass house, the only apparent furnishing - sitting where the Torokaka throne of wisdom had once been - was an ordinary willow chair.

There were no signs of any gold throne nor evidence that there was one anywhere about. Disappointed, angered and then enraged, the elected war-lord turned to the Torokaka Chief and thundered: "Your time to rule this kingdom is ended."

He then plunked himself down onto that willow chair - his elite guard immediately closing ranks about him - and roared: "Now I am in charge and I'm sitting on all the wisdom I'll ever need...."

Suddenly, there came an ear-splitting rip of grass fibers and the gold throne came crashing down from the loft, directly onto the head of war-lord and his elite party, killing them all instantly.

All wisdom was lost on the war-lord but the Chief understood - if a bit late: "People who live in grass houses shouldn't stow thrones."

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