I create global communities of bright, exciting, valuable people. Among my brands is The Architect of Professional Communities®. One of the most important common traits is the search for learning, improvement, and sharing.
Below you can see Alcatraz. It’s an island in a bay, surrounded by millions of people, yet its prisoners couldn’t communicate or interact with that greater world. If the winds were right they could hear music from the shore, and even laughter and singing at New Year’s. But they were prisoners, denied normal human interaction and freedom, right in the middle of a cosmopolitan, diverse land.
Too many people build their own islands, fortify them, and deny themselves those same opportunities. They defend their positions, refuse to listen to learned and intelligent positions, want to yell and not listen, and seek to control who comes and goes. You see this in their unchanging philosophies and methodologies over years; in their instant criticism of anything new; in an anal approach to any minor mistake or typo, in order to discredit the source’s content; and in passive aggressive behavior that seeks to undermine while seeming innocent.
They are successful in building that island—as the world sails past them and those “locked out” are part of vibrant, stimulating communities.
Not far from Alcatraz, is the Golden Gate Bridge, connecting two mainlands. Underneath, people have sailed those waters for centuries, seeking new lands or joyously entering this one. Everyday on its roadway people connect, moving themselves into other communities, other relationships, other experiences.
This is the juxtaposition I awake to every morning during my 10 days here. I see it as a metaphor for people who imprison themselves or liberate themselves.
Are you isolating yourself from the world around you in search of some false protection and immunity from ego damage, or are you crossing the bridge and sailing under it, willing to explore, learn, and grow?
© Alan Weiss 2012