In The Essence of Lightness I draw the distinction between our hardware (mind-body assets) and software (social and vocational skills). This is an incredibly important distinction that gets addressed rarely, if ever, by those in the transformation community. They’re generally all lumped into the same basket. But they’re different, incredibly so. The most defining difference is that they speak to different worlds.
The craft of mind-body development, while largely dealing with a black box of biology (though we’re getting closer to mapping what makes us tick), allows us to manipulate and develop its composite parts in very predictable ways. Life at large – love, business, and future-predicting activities – operates in irreducibly complex systems that we remain blind to, regardless of research, experience, and familiarity.
There’s perhaps no better example of hardware optimization than Tarzan, a specimen of mind-body performance in the most hostile of environments, at one with self and nature and, in the jungle that is his home, king. But beyond that Tarzan was a veritable dolt who, when removed from his environment, collapsed under the pressures of modern society. At least in some accounts. And while we can all make incredible headway with practices of personal development, a large part of the Weightlessness equation is social or vocational, where specific skills, networks, and resources external to one’s hardware play a massive role.
We’ve all felt this, haven’t we? We’ve left the comfort of our expertise, our people, and we’ve gone to a party, meeting, or talk, or experienced a new job culture, and felt like we’d fallen into the deep end without a clue as to how to orient and adapt. This is because the software rules implicit in that new environment – the skills, the knowledge, the vocabulary – haven’t been downloaded yet.
The challenge of Weightlessness (the method) is: how do we survive long enough to acquire them, and navigate that process with power and grace?
The challenge of the die is: how do we change the rules of the game, and rapidly acquire what’s needed to flourish in new environments?