I’m following John Kay ever since I read his remarkable book “Obliquity”; on which Esa Saarinen drew my attention. Thank You Esa.
The article hereafter is tackling, obliquitely perhaps a question that I feel is crucial for our times.
Let me share with you the comment I added to this brilliant Financial Times Article:
Your sentence “The mark of a first-rate intelligence, Scott Fitzgerald wrote, is the ability to hold contradictory ideas in the mind at the same time and still function” is right on target.
In their incredible book “Immunity to Change, authors and Harvard professors Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey, explain that this kind of ability is reached when you attain a stage of “mental meaning making” called the stage of the “Self-Transforming Mind”. They cite the conclusions of the PhD dissertation of Keith.Eigel, who studied 21 CEO’s of $5 billion + industry leaders in the US. Not a single one of these CEO’s had attained a level of mental capacity corresponding to the stage of a “Self-Tranforming Mind”, only 4 were on their way to it.
Two other studies, one by Kegan and the other by Torbet, large scale this time, about the distribution of mental complexity amongst adults in the US, concluded that less that 1% of the US population had reached the “Self-Transforming Mind” level of mental capacity.
Kegan and Laskow Lahey further affirm “We are experiencing a mismatch between the World’s complexity and our own at this moment”
They also show the way to close the gap, it’s what their book “Immunity tyo Change”, the conclusion of their lifework is all about. An optimistic note thus: it is possible, and they describe how to reach that brilliantly in their book.
The very start of this process, as always, is, always according to the authors: gaining awareness, believing in the new frontiers of human capabilities, starting the process of “catching up”, whatever your age.
Once again, John Kay has made a fundamental point here, and hopefully his article raises the level of awareness, and our commitment to do something about it.
“Immunity to Change” is central to my work.
I am also currently following Howard Rheinhold’s “Mind Amplifiers” Introduction Course. I’ve set myself in motion. We should all do.
Why we struggle with our roulette wheel world
By John Kay
Occasionally, a conversation changes the way you think. More than 20 years ago, a Lloyd’s underwriter told me: “The threat to this market is not a Japanese earthquake. We know that will happen. The threat comes from the risks we never imagined.” That was my introduction to the idea that Nassim Taleb would successfully popularise as the “black swan”. The distinction between “known unknowns”, the things we know we don’t know, and “unknown unknowns”, the things we don’t know we don’t know, has been part of my thinking ever since.
The Japanese earthquake is a catastrophe, a personal tragedy, a blow to the Japanese economy and the world insurance industry. But there is good historical data on the incidence and location of earthquakes. We know the relative frequencies of quakes of different magnitude. We do not know, and probably will never know, when and where a particular earthquake occurs. This is exactly the sort of problem for which probability theory is designed.
The mark of a first-rate intelligence, Scott Fitzgerald wrote, is the ability to hold contradictory ideas in the mind at the same time and still function. Probabilistic thinking requires us to recognise both that something might happen and that it is unlikely that it will. Because this is difficult, we are always surprised, shocked, and inadequately prepared for extreme events.