The Elusive but Attainable Revisited in Our New Abnormal

The Elusive but Attainable Revisited in Our New Abnormal

Create October 30, 2021 / By Larry Robertson
The Elusive but Attainable Revisited in Our New Abnormal

The human capacity to rise and adapt is powerful and now, more than ever, necessary.

Several years ago I wrote an article entitled The Pursuit of the Elusive but Attainable. It was a piece about the power of human ingenuity and adaptability, and out of those factory-issued traits we all possess, it was about the power of possibility and hope, and about striving to tap the true potentiality of who we are. It’s a nice sentiment. But back in 2018, for most it still felt more like a choice. Even if moved by the message, odds are most finished the piece and then returned to whatever version of normal existed for them in that time.

But what happens when normal no longer exists?

At the heart of that 2018 article were a motivation and a method. The expressed motivation for choosing to pursue the ‘elusive but attainable’ was the innately human desire to explore, to discover, to live fully, even by way of simple acts. It was about making the choice to lean into who we are because, why wouldn't you? Again, a fine sentiment, but for most, at least back then, not much more. For those who made the choice, the suggested method was something I referred to as 'the deliberate pause' - a simple yet powerful concept.

Taking a deliberate pause is the idea of consciously pausing to take in - bit by accumulating bit: what’s possible, what’s true, what’s a real threat versus a perceived one, and where opportunity and potentiality exist in any set of circumstances and in any time. To truly reap the power in the pause, such pausing must become habitual. As any successful innovator or creative will attest, it's an act with impact in a normal world. But in an abnormal world - the very kind we all now live in - the power and impact of the deliberate pause isn't just heightened, it's raised to the level of necessary and vital.

We live in a world more ambiguous than at any time in memory. It's the very environment that requires us to imagine entirely new ways of achieving the elusive but attainable. It's also the fertile ground that both fosters and demands personal growth. We are best equipped to see and do this when we pause. But pausing is the easy part. Personal growth, especially in uncertain times, requires more.

Writer Emily McDowell describes the undertaking more accurately writing, “Personal growth," at least the way we tend to think of it, "is misleading. Because it sounds like it’s going to be a lot of fun." There is joy in personal growth. But there is also commitment, hard work, and other things we tend to conveniently block out. "If we called it ‘deliberately making yourself so uncomfortable it’ll feel like you’re dying,’" McDowell writes, "nobody would do it. And we’d be totally screwed.” The insight is critical.

To reap the rewards of personal growth, and to thrive in these uncertain times, we have to truly commit to the pursuit of the elusive but attainable. Evolving is hard work. But it's work we humans are actually built for. If you pause for a moment, I think you'll see it.

You can learn more in Larry Robertson's newest book Rebel Leadership: How to Thrive in Uncertain Times.

Rebel Leadership: How to Thrive in Uncertain Times

We are two decades into this new century, and now live in a world more uncertain than certain. In this new “abnormal,” our ability to sustain far into the future, to realize our dreams and our potentialities, and to progress, depends on seeing leadership in a whole new way. Rebel leadership is that new way.

There’s a growing pattern of not just individual leaders, but entire cultures rebelling against old and ineffectual ways that have long defined what it means to lead. At the heart of rebel leadership is the emergence of five patterns seen in leading organizations across sectors. Together, these patterns outline a framework for how to successfully meet this turbulent new century and thrive. Rebel Leadership will not only reveal these patterns, but will teach the reader how to tap into the power of this framework and make it their own.

More precisely, Rebel Leadership will teach readers:
• What lies at the heart of success, no matter how much the environmental conditions might change
• How leadership is counterintuitively at its most powerful when it moves across individuals and cultures
• That, inevitably, there is only one truly sustainable competitive advantage in uncertain times
• Where leaders can find the best source for lowering risk in a changing world
• Why a long-term view has less to do with the long-term and far more to do with this moment than you’d ever imagine

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