Wabi Sabi

Pure driven snow looks almost perfect, but with one set of footprints, it becomes a story; something more.  The snow is no longer “perfect”, but somehow it’s even better.

The darkness is appreciated for the light.  The good is better, because of a touch of bad.  The blank canvas becomes art with the first splatter of paint.  That scar, dent, wrinkle, hardship, worn and weathered, driven off the lot, dog-eared imperfection illuminates the beauty.

Basically, wabi sabi means it’s perfect, because it’s a little fucked up.

We’ve been through some shit, which can make us more attractive.  Or … less.  Some of us let the scratches become our story, rather than enrich it and that’s a real shame.  Some have gotten hit pretty hard.  Knocked down.  Several times.  And we need to process through that.  Not an easy thing.  But, we can’t get stuck in the sorrow, pain, and scars.

I hear The Doors in the background, “… no time to wallow in the mire.”

Staying in the mire is neglect of the self.  Don’t mistake neglect for imperfection.  It’s simply neglect and there’s no beauty in that.  Care is the opposite of neglect.  If we take care in the face of tribulation and because of it, well … it can be a beautiful thing.  Not in spite of it though.  Spite comes from and fuels anger, resentment, and darkness.  The results of spite are quite different than those of benevolence.

Like Zen, Wabi Sabi encourages us to celebrate the way things are, rather than how they should be.  Should’ve, would’ve, could’ve is not reality.  It’s a miserable fantasyland, because we never allow ourselves to be content in what truly is.

To clarify, being content is not about sitting in the mud and saying “fuck it” with a fake smile on our face.  It’s about being happy in our pursuit.

“Wabi Sabi nurtures all that is authentic by acknowledging three simple realities: nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect.” – Richard Powell

Yes … authenticity.  Because beauty is in the imperfections.

Photo by Manish Kumar on Unsplash

The Tao of Culture

There are a lot of corporate mission statements that mention things like, “honesty”, “social responsibility”, and “quality”.  Using the word “Quality” is like saying “Character”.  It’s just an empty word without an adjective.  Maybe your quality sucks.  Maybe you’re an asshole.  Why are you being so vague?

And … do you really need to have “honesty” in there?  I mean, let’s hope you’re honest, right?  There are also many statements that finish like this example from GM: “… and our stockholders will receive a sustained superior return on their investment.”  Okay … sure, but who’s this statement for, again?

Our personal culture should be just as … wait, actually more important than corporate culture.  But, we must be honest with ourselves and live true to our nature.  This is authenticity.  In Yoga, we know it as “Satya”.

Corporate, as well as personal culture comes from the top and from within.  Things work well when there’s truth and authenticity.  It will speak for itself and if you do it right, you don’t need a mission statement.  It will be apparent.  It’ll also be apparent if you do it wrong.  In the 21st century, things are more transparent than we’d like them to be.  We won’t fool anyone by saying one thing and living another, especially ourselves.

Pretentiousness is an ugly thing.  But, authenticity is beautiful.  It’s a way of being, not of merely knowing.  It is the Tao of our culture.

If the corporate culture is one of growth, authenticity, positivity, human engagement, care, support, and providing value, then profitability happens as a byproduct.  It must be real and it must be throughout.  No bullshit, backhanded compliments, or caveats.  This is true of our personal culture as well.

Besides, it’s much better than being driven through fear tactics, micromanagement, undermining, drama, volatility, and negativity.   That’s just not good for the soul.

Spoiler alert: Companies are in business to make money.  Yep; thanks.  But, it’s much better when the dog wags the tail; not the other way around.  More natural that way.

Peace, peeps.

Photo by Benjamin Child on Unsplash.