…”begin with the end in mind” by accepting the unknown…

“If we fear the unknown then surely we fear ourselves.” — Bryant H. McGill

One of Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People is to “Begin with the end in mind.”  Covey illustrates the importance of this habit by pointing out how “everything is created twice” — first as a mental conception and second as a completed implementation.  There are always two distinct moments of creation – otherwise what results is a default — not creation.

And this entire way of thinking is central to our being proactive and to our putting attention and focus on the vision and the values that we want to see realized in the world.  “Begin with the end in mind” is an integral to “leadership”; we must know where we are heading otherwise we live by default and fail to realize our executive authority. 

And now… well….I don’t believe that anymore. 

Robert Fritz uses a similar logic with his idea of “tension-resolution.”
But he doesn’t frame the creative act around two separate moments.

According to his line of thinking, the creative process holds a tension between current reality and desired reality.  The essential act of creation is our ability to dance with the unknown so that we can transform the current reality into the desired reality.

Tension-resolution is a continuous engagement with the unknown. The more genuinely we can “in living the moment,” the more we can bring about the desired reality.  Creativity is all about sustaining the tension until that tension can be sufficiently resolved.

Not perfectly resolved, but sufficiently resolved.  For Fritz,  the goal is sufficiency, and not perfection.   The bigger game of “our engagement” is not to exclude the unknown, but to work with it and give ourselves over to it so that we stay organically connected.

What separates Stephen Covey from Robert Fritz is the way the unknown is made a player in the act of creation.  Stephen Covey’s “two moments of creation” are, for Robert Fritz, a continuous dance of creation, a constant living into the tension-resolution dilemma because the unknown is already accepted a player in the creative act.

Bryant H. McGill wrote, “If we fear the unknown then surely we fear ourselves.” How can we accept the genuinely accept the unknown if we only see two points of creation?  Wouldn’t it be better to “begin with the end in mind” by accepting the unknown and discover what living into that might offer? The image of “perfect compliance” limits us.  It puts us on the hook.  Dancing with the unknown frees us to discover how sufficiency might more profoundly change us, more than any pre-ordained image of “what we desire” could ever realize.  And that’s NOT living by default; it’s the deeper gift of remaining fully engaged in the life that as been given to us.

Thanks for listening!


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