A Fish Doesn’t Know It’s in Water is attributed to David Foster Wallace, and is most likely a play on the Chinese proverb If you want a definition of water, don’t ask a fish.  What it means is that we can rarely see – objectively, at least – that of which we are a part, for example, ourselves, our families, our communities, where we work, our society, especially what we would rather not see about any of these.  Our beliefs about ourselves and that of which we are a part are incredibly potent, and it is important to note that beliefs seek reinforcement and so are reinforce-able, by way of simply learning that others believe in a similar way or being presented with even false evidence of what fits with what we believe.  Our beliefs will hold sway even in the face of reality that contradicts it.  This is known as cognitive dissonance.  I have noticed that we often react with negative emotion to reality presented that threatens to distort or nullify belief, while we react with positive emotion to that which bolsters existing belief.

Now, please don’t get me wrong.  Emotion is full of information to which we need to be giving our attention.  The problem is that emotion is messy and difficult to understand, so in US society in particular, and in our organizations especially, we have taken to ignoring its worth and as a result, our ability to work with it, to hear what it is trying to tell us.  As a result, we remain vulnerable to being manipulated by emotion in reaction to single source sound bites and quippy memes that support our beliefs, whether based in reality or not.

So what can we do?  Well, we can start by simply asking ourselves the question, what is true?  Then, take time to check our sources.  Is it a source we prefer because it makes us feel right?  Does the source provide a variety of viewpoints or only one, one we already accept as true?  Acknowledging another viewpoint does not require us to believe that viewpoint, but it should at very least pique our curiosity to ask, what is true?  If something we read or hear supports existing belief to the point of an emotional response, like “yeah, that’s right!”, it might just be too good to be true.

 

… and welcome to my professional blog.  Nurture the Goose comes from the Aesop’s fable:  If you want golden eggs, nurture the goose.  At least that’s the way I remember it.  This is very important to me in that no matter what we construct in our human existence, it all starts with people and when we diminish our capacity as people, as individuals, well, honestly, the construct no longer matters, now, does it?

I have held successful careers in live entertainment production logistics and professional services management and operations.  I also apply a lifetime performance background to facilitation.  In professional services, I loved having daily connection with people all across the organization.  The executives I served were my internal clients, the junior resources were my customers, and I had the delight of connecting my clients and customers to create project teams on a daily basis.  I also got to relate with many people in many departments, like human resources, technology, financial operations, all in the care and nurturing of my clients and customers placement and professional development.  I got to balance their performance goals with client project requirements and business objectives, because it is that, a balance.

I have now solidly entered a vocation of human and organization effectiveness.  It began after certification in OD and consulting which I have converted into a full MS in Management and Organization Behavior.  I continue to connect across an organization through learning facilitation, coaching, team building, survey administration, analysis and reporting as well as in support of change initiatives.

I started this blog as I have many a thought occur on the subject of people and why we matter.  My hope in sharing these thoughts is that more than a few heads might nod, that other’s might share their perspectives, all in the interest of getting to the truth of the matter.  To this end, I openly welcome your comments.

Be well. Be kind. Bring compassion.

~ Jacqueline

Jacqueline M. Gargiulo, Scholar-Practitioner,  Human Systems

DISCLAIMER: The statements or opinions expressed herein are my own and are not to be attributed in any way to any employer or professional affiliation.