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August 9th, 2018
What exactly is breaking when we have a breakthrough?
A breakthrough in therapy.
A breakthrough in a research project.
A breakthrough while starting a business.
More than anything, what is breaking is the CONTEXT. What exists on the other side of that break is a larger, more generous CONTEXT that includes the previous context. The breakthrough is an expansion of CONTEXT.
In all of the examples, the therapy breakthrough, the research project, and starting a business, any breakthrough hinges on something we did not know, something we were not aware of and could not conceive of before the breakthrough.
A breakthrough in any of these areas involves learning something which adds a piece of knowledge or insight to our CONTEXT.
If we think of our own personal CONTEXT as all the perspectives we take on all topics plus all the knowledge we’ve gathered through our life and visualize it like a puffy cloud, what does a breakthrough look like?
We’ve all seen those sped up videos of clouds growing from seemingly nothing.
A breakthrough is like one small part of the cloud getting larger, gaining ground, and taking up more space.
We can imagine the personal CONTEXT of all people as little fluffy clouds that are slowly growing and morphing in shape as they learn and grow in different ways.
The analogy extends a little further.
We can ask: do those pleasant cute little fluff-balls of cloud actually DO much? No, not really?
It’s the huge, rolling thunderheads, the massive cumulonimbus clouds that extend straight up to the stratosphere that do something. These clouds provide massive amounts of water to the ground below and charge the soil with nitrogen, and yes, sometimes create damage with floods.
But the point is such a cloud has an effect.
How does this relate to our own personal CONTEXT.
Think of the person who would be best represented as a huge cumulonimbus thunderhead and compare it to one of those small Toy Story clouds.
That thunderhead has a much larger CONTEXT. That thunderhead represents a person who can entertain and understand a much greater variety of perspectives. Someone who has done the work of gathering lots of knowledge.
And just as the huge size of the cumulonimbus allows it to give back in the form of rain and lightening and thereby have an effect…
The person who has strived to expand their own CONTEXT by gathering knowledge and understanding many different perspectives can likewise have a much greater effect on their own life and the lives of those they connect with.
The difference might be akin to the amount of knowledge and flexibility of perspective a university professor has compared to that of a young child who has a much smaller CONTEXT.
Expanding one’s CONTEXT is uncomfortable work. Indeed one way our CONTEXT expands is when we are forced by external circumstances to confront something difficult. But we cannot rely on external circumstance alone to inhabit a better CONTEXT. We must challenge ourselves.
Otherwise we will be relegated to being one of the sheepish clouds, floating by the thirsty land.
Or, we can become a thunderhead that has unstoppable GENEROSITY.