Be like Bob.

Bob Dylan has become the first musician to win the Nobel Prize for Literature.
And he has no idea how it happened.
Because it was unknowable.
Here’s why.
Dylan didn’t write his songs.
His songs wrote themselves.
They emerged from his inner self.
His wellspring of creativity.
And it never would’ve happened if he knew what he was doing.
If Bob stuck to his story.
Unwilling to let go of his manufactured self.
His trappings of success.
Consider Sunday night, July 25, 1965.
That’s when Bob went electric at the Newport Folk Festival.
He made a spontaneous decision to perform with a fully amplified band.
Because he felt like doing it.
And the folk music establishment was not impressed.
In fact, they were downright angry.
They viewed Dylan’s metamorphosis as a put-down, a betrayal.
How dare he play an electric guitar?
Who does he think he is to challenge the Festival?
Make no mistake.
The establishment is not interested in your inner voice.
And they couldn’t care less about inspired creation.
The establishment wants you to advance the agenda of the establishment.
The business of the establishment is to keep people muddled in the establishment’s mysterious knot of beliefs and traditions.
Which blows my mind that Bob won the most venerable of establishment awards.
So embrace the paradox of his achievement and follow Bob’s lead.
Don’t be a static part of the establishment.
Be a dynamic force of life.
Your life!
Do something different and daring.
Will you disappoint people?
Sure, initially.
Dylan was said to have “electrified one half of his audience, and electrocuted the other.”
William Blake wrote, “I will not reason and compare: my business is to create.”
So is yours.
Let go of your need to please and your desire to fit in.
Do something unimaginable.
Rise above the herd and be like Bob.
Be dynamic!

Snap out of it!

A while back, following a keynote speech and during Q&A, someone in the audience asked a heartfelt, yet somewhat rhetorical question.
“So, how do I communicate to people that our approach, our culture, needs to change?”
My immediate impulse was to hit her with a stick.
Like Zen masters reportedly would do to knock someone out of her attachment to conventional reasoning.
But I was on a stage and far from her.
And anyway, I didn’t have a stick.
So, I gave her a koan-like question to ask “those people.”
A seemingly self-evident one designed to snap them out of it, to open their minds.
“Ask them if your organization, your culture, is producing the results it is designed to produce?”
As I glanced around the auditorium for a reaction, all I could sense was collective confusion.
And their visceral desire to shout out the, apparently, obvious response.
“Of course it’s not, idiot. Otherwise, she wouldn’t have asked you that question.”
But no one dared blurt that out.
Instead, they just sat there, perplexed.
Why?
Because they were deluded.
They believed that their organization was NOT producing the results it was designed to produce.
And they assumed that the reason had something to do with their people, with them.
In fact, their organization is producing precisely the results it is designed to produce.
So is yours.
So is your community, your family, your government, your country.
So is your life.
Because . . . the design determines the results.
So snap out of it!
Stop fighting the existing reality.
Stop trying to change the people.
Stop trying to change your mind.
If you don’t like the results, change the design.
The great systems theorist and designer Buckminster Fuller put it this way.
“You never change things by fighting the existing reality.
To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
To change your beliefs, change your behavior.