Sunday, December 18, 2005

Local Optimization - bad. Global Optimization - good. Universal Optimization - huh?

Hi Andrew. I want to share something important with you that I learned this week.

I have already shared with you how Theory of Constaints teaches about Local Optimization - pactices within an organization that may appear to be effective but in the bigger picture of the organization, they are really ineffective or even detremental to achieving the overall goal of the organization. In contrast, processes that focus on the overall goal of the organization are referred to as Globally Optimized processes. The Principles of Agile software development such as early and often delivery of working software help me as a PM to focus on Global Optimization.

But is there such a thing as Universal Optimization? Are there processes and a goal that can make Corporate profits, an individual's happiness or some political ideology another instance of Local Optimization? These questions proach on the subject of one's 'world view' or their religous beliefs because you have to begin with defining what is the Univeral Goal. (In most places this is a difficult subject to discuss, but at ThoughtWorks, where we embrace a diverse culture, I can share my ideas and be challenged to think clearly and rationally. There are many bright people at ThoughtWorks who have well thought out world views that are in contrast to my world view but they have helped me formulate and clearly share my ideas on such subjects.)

So let me share with you what I have learned this week regarding Universal Optimization.

I have been reading from the Book of Job in the Old Testament. I have known about the story of Job for a long time but I never really understood it. To summarize the story, Job was a righteous man. He knew it and God affirmed it. But the Evil One asked God for permission to mess with Job in hopes that Job would eventually curse God. God allowed it with the condition that he spared only Job's life. Until today, this never seemed fair to me.

The Evil One took everything away from Job - his wealth, his family, and eventually his health. Several of Job's friends then tried to council Job about why this is happening to him. Their council was amiss though, in that they told Job that God was judging him because of something he must have done wrong. Job never curses God but continues to assert his own rightousness and therefore wants to question God about why this is happening to him.

God eventually steps in and lets Job's friends know that their council was bad. God then talks with Job and essentially tells Job that he may be rightous but he does not see 'the bigger picture'. Job repents and says 'My ears have heard of you but now my eyes have seen you'. He has come to an understanding of Universal Optimization - Job learns that life 'is not about me'.

So Andrew, I believe that there is a higher purpose or ultimate goal in life: 'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.' (Matthew 22: 37-39)

8 Comments:

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January 9, 2006 at 1:13:00 AM PST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The personal development industry has never been bigger! It consists of a myriad of authors basically telling us how to improve our lives. We are constantly being told self help and self improvement has never been easier. New techniques, gadgets and potions adorn the shelves of new age shops and the 1 billion dollar industry, that is personal development, offers many different approaches to help better our lives. They offer ways to increase our bounty and ultimately alter our own reality. A great example of this is how to develop a Prosperity Consciousness. But does this state really exist and if it does will it bring the effortless unlimited wealth promised?
A lot has been written about prosperity and how to attain it. We have been told by many religious traditions and every personal development guru that the Universersal Source (God, Spirit, Cosmic Mind or whatever label you chose to give it) is boundless wealth. We are also told that abundance, wealth and prosperity are our birthright! Why then are so many people ill, broke, frustrated and unfulfilled? Can a person really develop a prosperity consciousness and effortlessly attract wealth? Well as with everything in life there is only one way to find out. Test it for yourself!
Before we can attain and then test the effectiveness of having a prosperity consciousness we need to understand some basic truths. Let's start by explaining three fundamentals of personal development namely; 1. The Universal Source is all wealth, abundance and prosperity; 2. Prosperity is our birthright; 3. You get more of what you focus on.
1. Why are we told that the Universal Source is unlimited wealth? - Because the Universal Source is the consciousness of the Universe - a universe that is still expanding. It is the driving force behind physical reality. It created everything you see, hear, touch and smell as well as all that we are unaware of (microwaves, radiation, air etc.). It has been stated in religious and metaphysical traditions that this intelligence is not only the Source of everything but that it is also the substance of it! It creates the Universe from itself! It is omnipresent (everywhere present). That means that the entire seen and unseen aspects of the universe are a part of this Universal Source. Science reaffirms this theory as it states that nothing is solid and everything is just one mass of pure energy that vibrates at different frequencies and gives the illusion of separateness.
So we can now claim that the Universal Source is unlimited wealth, abundance and prosperity with some belief. For if this Source is the very substance of everything then it is all the wealth, abundance and prosperity that exists at this very moment!
Ok so far? Now lets look at the second point - prosperity is our birthright.
2. If this Universal Intelligence is the source and substance of all things then there can be only one intelligence in the Universe. Jesus said to his disciples "know ye not that you are the temple of the living God?" Buddha attained enlightenment and "oneness". The list of these religious teachings are too numerous to mention but their message remains the same - God (Universal Substance) resides within and around us. It's very substance makes up our physical body and the world around us - "For in him we live, move and have our being" Acts17:28. Therefore, if this Universal Source is at the very core of our being and is the substance from which we take physical form then it stands to reason that we are connected to everyone else and in fact everything else around us - we are a part of all the wealth, abundance and prosperity of the universe. Just as your hand or foot is a part of your body, so every grain of sand, blade of grass, wisp of wind, bar of gold and brick that is laid in a mansion is part of you. The unlimited wealth of the universe is yours for the claiming. It is already yours, always has been and always will be. It is a part of you.
Ok let's go the third point - you get more of what you focus on.
3. "It never rains but it pours", is a saying I have used myself in the past. Have you ever wondered why such a statement appears to be true? Well metaphysics and religion tell us that "as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he" or as Job cried out to God "For that which I greatly feared has come upon me". What we focus our conscious attention on increases! Don't believe me? Test it for yourself! If you can muster up the strength to do it then think in negative terms for a week. Judge everything that happens to you in negative terms and think only of a negative outcome and watch what happens in your world!!! This is a relatively easy experiment as we are conditioned to think negatively by the world. A word of warning though - once you prove that your focus determines your reality stop thinking negative thoughts as best you can.
I will not go into the 'hows' of why our focus has such a profound influence on our lives (that would be the subject of a book or perhaps a future article) just prove to yourself that it does. A clue can be found in the teachings of Jesus when he said "The Kingdom of heaven is within".
So now we have the three principles of the prosperity consciousness explained let's put it to work. The attainment of a prosperity consciousness is relatively simple - just think on the first two principles until you fully understand them and integrate them into your consciousness. As you focus on them you will discover that your feelings of lack disappear and you begin to feel a connection with everything around you. It is really just an attitude shift - nothing metaphysical or mystical about it at all. You begin to consciously realize that everything is a part of you. Your focus changes from poverty to wealth.
If it helps make a list of affirmations that correspond to the two principles outlined e.g. "God is the Source and substance of everything", "I am at one with everyone and everything around me", "I am a part of all the wealth, abundance and prosperity of the Universe" etc. Don't just rhyme them off in a parrot like manner, think on them and realize the scientific or spiritual truths behind them.
Will it work? Well I can say now that if you follow the above instructions a real change will happen in you. You will start to see the beauty of the world and the unlimited resources that are available within and around you. Will you attain wealth, abundance and prosperity? Test it for yourself! lucid dream

July 5, 2006 at 11:42:00 AM PDT  
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