Several months ago I began to wonder if the highest potential in each of us isn’t simply to encourage the highest potential in others. That question has been a powerful force for me, bringing with it all sorts of other questions.
What is it that inspires us humans to be our very best – to reach for our highest potential?
We all know that when someone is aiming their passion at something they care about, magic not only can happen, but routinely does happen. How can we encourage others to find that magic inside themselves?
According to research by Dr. Barry Schwartz (as described in his talk at TED here), the thing that inspires us to do right by others is the extent to which we tap into the “practical wisdom” each of us possesses, based on our own experience.
As consultants and teachers, as social workers and directors of arts organizations, as parents of young children and as adult children of aging parents, how can we bring out the highest potential in those around us? How can we trust the wisdom of others, to inspire what Dr. Schwartz describes as their own “moral skill and moral will,” leading them to that high potential?
How can we get beyond words that show how little we trust the judgment of others?
- Have to / Must / Need to
- Convince / Persuade / talk them into / get them to do it
- They refuse / won’t
We are all so quick to assume others will not rise to the occasion (or even more harmful, that they are incapable of doing so). What words can we use, to substitute for the list of shoulds and cannots and will nots?
What words are you using? What questions are you asking?
In each and every part of your life, what are you doing to inspire the practical wisdom that exists in others – and in yourself?
Photo credit (me): 5th Ave Taxis thru the Lalique Windows at Henri Bendel