How people decide to act in a system is part of a system's structure. Changing the basis of people's decisions changes the structure.
Give me the storm and tempest of thought and action, rather than the dead calm of ignorance and faith!
Watch your thoughts; they become words.
Watch your words; they become actions.
Watch your actions; they become habits.
Watch your habits; they become character.
Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.
Before you can change what you do,
you have to change how you think.
Before you can change how you think,
you have to change what you believe.
Without common standards and a common frame of reference, society dissolves into nothing more than contending factions.
The problem is not that there are problems. The problem is expecting otherwise and thinking that having problems is a problem.
There is simply no such thing as a correct decision. Life is far too complicated for that.
We have to be careful not to lock ourselves into one side of a situation or another not recognizing that underlying it all there is only one essential thing and that in that unity all opposites support each other.
A problem is something met which bars my passage. It is before me in its entirety. A mystery on the other hand is something I find myself caught up in, and whose essence is therefore not before me in its entirety. It is as though in this province the distinction between "in me" and "before me" loses its meaning.
Again and again, the impossible problem is solved when we see that the problem is only a tough decision waiting to be made.
Wholeness implies the totality of perspectives. We cannot choose one perspective over another and expect it to work in all situations without introducing a distortion which eventually bounces back on us in unexpected ways.
There are no problems "out there" to be solved independent of how we think and act in articulating these problems.
Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.
As we move up the ladder of complexity to the changes experienced by individuals and organizations, nature ups the ante considerably. The human breakpoint requires us to change our basic thinking patterns and alter our worldview. Underlying organizational change is the ability of individuals to take the same steps scientists took at the turn of the century and redefine reality.
Participation is not something that can be conjured up or created artificially. Participation is a feeling on the part of the people, not just the mechanical act of being called in to take part in discussions.
We find comfort among those who agree with us, growth among those who don't.
The eye sees only what the mind is prepared to comprehend.
The best sign of intelligence is the ability to hold good, but contradictory ideas in one's head at the same time. Character is to act on two good contradictory ideas.
Through our assumptions and choice of method we largely create the world we later discover.
The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function. One should, for example, be able to see that things are hopeless and yet be determined to make them otherwise.
What we think is less important then the way we think about it.
What is difficult to solve with one paradigm may be easy to solve with another.
The ability to achieve and maintain an interested impartiality between imagined opposites, however absurd one side may seem, is essential for any new creative solution of problems.
Any solution to a problem changes the problem.
A process cannot be understood by stopping it. Understanding must move with the flow of the process, must join it and flow with it.
The significant problems we have cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we used when we created them.
We should be careful to get out of an experience only the wisdom that is in it — and stop there; lest we be like the cat that sits down on a hot stove-lid. She will never sit down on a hot stove-lid again — and that is well; but also she will never sit down on a cold one anymore.
Process and content are inseparable. The separation between the issues we are interested in and the processes we might use to learn about them may be the primary obstacle to potential breakthroughs.
It isn't that they can't see the solution. It is that they can't see the problem.
Suppose we were able to share meanings freely without a compulsive urge to impose our view or to conform to those of others and without distortion and self-deception. Would this not constitute a real revolution in culture?
A man has no ears for that to which experience has given him no access.
It is good now and then
To put the world together
Into an unbroken piece
And to contemplate it
This form of prayer
Dims the cutting lines
Of past abstraction
Permitting to carve out
Of greater utility
Or if you like it better
We reverse the analogy
And recommend the periodic destruction
Of our verbal maps
Our outworn habits
Our ingrown attitudes.
Out of this rubble
We may build
A new world
To a growing need
And finer discrimination.
The range of what we think and do is limited by what we fail to notice. And because we fail to notice that we fail to notice, there is little we can do to change; until we notice how failing to notice shapes our thoughts and deeds.
What makes reform so difficult is that we try to achieve it with methods springing from the very same belief system that we intend to reform.
I always say to myself, what is the most important thing we can think about at this extraordinary moment.
At its essence, every organization is a product of how its members think and interact.
I happen to feel that the degree of a person's intelligence is directly reflected by the number of conflicting attitudes she can bring to bear on the same topic.
To understand a problem obviously requires a certain intelligence, and the intelligence cannot be derived from or cultivated through specialization. It comes into being only when we are passively aware of the whole process of our consciousness, which is to be aware of ourselves without choice, without choosing what is right and what is wrong. When you are passively aware, you will see that out of that passivity — which is not idleness, which is not sleep, but extreme alertness — the problem has quite a different significance; which means there is no longer identification with the problem and therefore there is no judgment and hence the problem begins to reveal its content. If you are able to do that constantly, continuously, then every problem can be solved fundamentally, not superficially.
You don't see something until you have the right metaphor to let you perceive it.
Never make a decision without stopping to consider the matter in the presence of God.