Through Consciousness to Confidence

Through Consciousness to Confidence

You are conscious, obviously. Your pet is conscious, too I expect. Your carpet tick – is that conscious? As far as I know, certainly until you squeeze the life out of it between your fingers. Is the pretty geranium in the hanging pot outside your window conscious? Up to a point, perhaps. What about the pot it hangs in? Well, obviously that is not conscious, it is inanimate, has no sap running through it, is made of metal. Concrete isn’t conscious, we all know that.

Except that we don’t. Timber seems very conscious even after hundreds of years. It can certainly groan and sing under stress but perhaps that doesn’t count as consciousness. Was the pig’s brain that was restored to life after it had been dead for some hours, conscious? Is someone in a coma conscious? How can we tell? Come to think of it how conscious are we? I know someone who doesn’t listen when spoken to. Nothing wrong with their hearing just with their consciousness.

I prefer to assume that everything is conscious up to a point. That way my behaviour is a reflection of me as much as of the object or person towards which I am behaving. That is why I don’t ‘chuck’ things or drop inanimate objects from an uncomfortable height. It’s my comfort I am thinking about as well as that of the object. ‘People who treat things roughly usually treat people roughly,’ said my wise old carpentry master at prep school.

Much of the coaching we do is about consciousness. I have learnt over the years that people are not as fully conscious as they could be until they add creativity to what they see. What we see in an inanimate object is simple and clear. What we see in another human being is highly complex. It has no simple summary, although in order to work with them we have to have a shorthand definition. It is important to remember that it is shorthand, oversimplified and generally static.

That serves us momentarily well but is soon inadequate in a situation that is dynamic, that requires redefinition all the time and that is limited by the information we have access to. How can we supplement that information in a way that is both useful and imaginative? Well, creativity is the ability to perceive relationships and what this is asking you to perceive is that relationship between creative observation and confidence. It’s a relationship that brings into play our imagination and assertiveness while requiring a skill beyond normal communication.

I watched two men run the same big business at different times, One had a harmonious, well-oiled machine, perhaps not as profitable as it should have been, perhaps not as thrusting as would be required today. On the whole people knew what was expected of them and were allowed to get on with it. The other man was a numbers person. He had a good grasp of what needed doing and it involved a lot of rationalisation. He had little Emotional Intelligence (EQ) to help him, no concept of balance. If taking pictures down from the wall you must also put some up or the wall is bare.

It was a classic case of rationalising yourself out of business. Both men were competent in their own ways. Both had strengths and weaknesses, as we all do. One didn’t make as much money for the company as he might have done. The other lost the business totally. Both had high levels of consciousness, neither saw the big picture. For want of a simple, creative view of the business many people lost their jobs. And in the end a business was lost.

Confidence comes only from consciousness, from an awareness of what is happening, what is really happening and what might happen next. Such consciousness is achieved by pausing, thinking, rattling the brains of those who work with you and applying an imaginative thought to the potential. If Prime Minister May had done this she would not be in the mess that exists now. She is taking out ministers and shooting them too late to shore up confidence in her cabinet. There was no vision about Brexit, no plan. She should have started with that. She could have garnered major support if she had done so.

Consciousness is complex but important. Master it and you will become truly confident. Make your organisation set up work for you even as you work for it. Stay one step ahead of the crowd by applying your consciousness better than they can.

It’s not a trick, it’s not philosophy. It’s a working concept.

And it is one that we have proved works.