21st Century Decision Making…Does the path have heart?

I wonder what will happen next?

Don’t get attached to decisions and some text,

Stay curious and do not be so perplexed,

Look deeper, we are not hexed!

Life is not at all so complex!

Following the path with heart,

We are aware, connected, and smart,

Life invites us to a fresh start,

In which we all play a part!

Self-confidence is the first prerequisite to great undertakings. Samuel Johnson

We live in a world with little heart, compassion, and understanding. To make decisions and to lead in the 21st century is not for the feint hearted. There is this interesting interplay between expecting miracles, and magicians, alchemists, oracles, and master builders to wave their magical wands on the one side to make things better and right, and on the other, the undeniable impetus to be autonomous and have freedom of choice.

Like a hurricane, devastating decisions by authoritarian leaders continue to rock our world. Its purpose is to polarize, oppress, and create turmoil, dissonance, destruction, and division. Don’t be fooled. Such situations – a perfect storm, causing a clearing surge during which stuck energy is released and outdated patterns dissolve – naturally lead to shock, overwhelm, and confusion.

Don’t lose heart…Paradoxically, there is a huge gift waiting to be unwrapped. We find ourselves in the eye of the hurricane, if we have the courage (which comes from the French ‘coeur’, which means to act from the heart) to allow the turbulence to settle down without grasping, holding onto, identifying with, or getting attached to the drama playing out. Here it is calm, quiet and very still. We are able centre and ground ourselves and cut through the illusion that blinds and binds.

This cutting through awareness and the ability to create the inner environment for something extraordinary to occur is now called for. An inner revolution before an outer revolution, as the same mindsets, beliefs, and ways of thinking, feeling, relating, doing, and creating will simply bring more of the same.

Revolution is actually something that starts in individual hearts. Bill Viola

A great undertaking indeed, we don’t need miracles and change, as we can co-initiate breakthroughs and shifts. It starts with every single one of us and with every decision we make!

You may ask how confidence in self is possible when our world is in constant flux and turmoil? And moreover, what breakthroughs and shifts are viable in a world where our perceived vulnerabilities are weaponized?

No need to despair. The human spirit and heart is in dominatable, indestructible and unstoppable, otherwise we would have been an extinct species. There is a hidden treasure ready to be discovered, which humanity has forgotten, disconnected from, dismissed, neglected, or denied.

The heart of the matter – defining moments

On 8 November 1922, a man was born in Beaufort West, The Karoo, South Africa. A born leader in his field, he did something that was unheard of and against the norms of society at the time. This did not stop him. He performed the first human-to-human heart transplant in the world way back in 1967. You can imagine the publicity and resistance he received. Many lives were prolonged by this brave and courageous act.

I always get goosebumps when driving on the N1 highway, entering the city centre of Cape Town, when one passes the Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital. It is impossible not to be curious about what went on in his psyche when he performed that first heart transplant. Having much adoration for such vision, courage, bravery, endurance, enthusiasm, and focus, this was a defining moment in the history of mankind.

Photo Credit Mallix

My mom adored Chris and followed his career, as they grew up in the same region and came from the same generation. In the business of hearts, he inspired many to greatness and demonstrated how we can make what deemed to be impossible, possible. He was quite charming and is remembered by his warm, wide smile.

Understanding how the heart works is not new to humanity or the 20th century. The ground -breaking, pioneering work related to the human heart of another genius, namely Leonardo Da Vinci – an artist, polymath, architect, inventor, scientist, and engineer – was ingenious and demonstrated what is possible through transdisciplinary research and when we apply wisdom of seemingly unrelated aspects of life. In his book, ‘The Heart of Leonardo’, Mr. Francis Wells, a consultant cardiothoracic surgeon in Cambridge, who has spent years studying Leonardo’s anatomical drawings, notes that Leonardo’s insights relating to the heart are quite astonishing. Leonardo used his knowledge of fluids, weights, levers, and engineering to understand how the heart functions. No wonder Leonardo said, ‘How could you describe this heart in words without filling a whole book?’

His discoveries could have been defining moment in the history of mankind, yet sadly stayed hidden because he was known as an engineer and artist, and not a cardiac specialist or surgeon. Besides polymaths not being recognized in the 16th century, there was no treatment for cardiac disease and surgeons occupied a low status in society. Leonardo’s insights could have made a huge difference if they were acknowledged and made public earlier.

Fast forward a few centuries, 25 years of scientific research conducted at the HeartMath Institute on the psychophysiology of stress, emotions, and the interactions between the heart and the brain, shares an innovative approach to improving emotional wellbeing. We can now learn to change our heart rhythm pattern to create physiological coherence; a scientifically measurable state characterized by increased order and harmony in our mind, emotions, and body. Who would have imagined this 2 centuries ago?

HeartMath – discover more about it here.

Francis Wells believes we still know very little about the workings and power and functions of the heart. What is clear is that our heart’s intelligence has something to do with defining moments in our lives.

Pivotal acts beyond the world of facts!

Some of these moments have personal significance and others shed the light on emerging patterns and our ancient future. Many of these events occur by happenstance, serendipity, and synchronicity, which we are able to perceive mostly by surprise if we live aware, connected, and receptive lives. It is something we did not personally intend, yet the wisdom and insights coming forth are always available, invaluable, relevant, and uplifting. Others arise through a sense of connectedness, pure intent, sheer dedication, unconventional audaciousness, and vivid curiosity.

Free will and audaciousness plays a huge role in whether we will take these signs seriously and act upon them, and if we harness the opportunities they so graciously present. We can either respond or react. Responding, we work together with the most positive energy and most probable possibility available in the situation, which in return immerses us in a state of flow. Reactive behaviour stems from fear and lack, and stymie flow.

Sensitivity and responsiveness to these triggers and prompts can be a pivotal act that sets loose a chain of events that have exponential reach and impact. It is the art of invisible influence and the butterfly effect in motion.

Not merely a mental process, these incidents impact us on many levels, such as an aroused will, racing heartbeats, and the quickening of our senses. We raise our proverbial antennae to be receptive to these sometimes unconventional and out-of-place signals.

Three such events in the past decade are still thought provoking, as there was no logic or deliberate planning involved, nor any expectation. I share them to demonstrate the power of synchronicity and flow states, and how they clearly showed the way to defining moments and pivotal points that have great impact. And there is a common denominator that will soon become clear.

Inspire-Code for Leaders

A long-time dream of hosting a radio show, (long before Podcasts became a trend) focused on sharing positive news and stories that exemplify the human ability to transcend limitations and thrive, became a reality one Sunday morning early 2013. I was doing research for a client and my eyes caught an advert from Blog Talk Radio. Following my intuition, I immediately signed up. Serendipitous, this was it! Unexpected, here was my chance to actualize that dream without much financial investment.

The next day, even with a poor internet connection, the first show aired. That was the beginning of something I never anticipated, and it demonstrated a clear, emerging pattern. 48 different Leadership, Self-Leadership, Innovation, and Employee Wellness shows later, with up to 7,000 listeners during our ‘Inspire Code for Leadership Series’, especially the episode ‘Leading from the Heart’ it was clear that there was a huge need for such wisdom, insights, support, and knowledge. It was indeed a defining moment, which I didn’t dare ignore.

Being in a state of flow and completely absorbed in it, with sharing 4 different shows during some weeks, there was not a single thought, concern or expectation about how many people will join and benefit from these shows. Hence the surprise to discover that we (Yes we, as the platform and those operating it were my partners and co-creators in this venture) had 20,000 listeners after a mere 6 months, with absolutely no marketing or promotion from my side.

Words and Pictures

Two years later, in mid 2015, whilst visiting friends at the coast, another such serendipitous event amazed me again. Sharing inspirational quotes and most beautiful visuals daily on Facebook was a daily spontaneous ritual since joining the platform. The intention has never been to get likes, or more followers, or to promote any services, products, or experiences. It was my way to remind us of the beauty and potential in life, and my contribution to making the world a better place.

On this particular morning, I posted this quote from Carlos Castaneda together with this incredible visual created by talented Jeremiah Morelli. I continued with my day without even thinking about it again. Four hours later, whilst having lunch, a dear friend asked me if I noticed what happened with my post. Completely oblivious, I responded that I am not aware of any such activity. She said, ‘You better take a look!’

Within those four hours the post was reshared over 78,000 times with over a million views. It is important to mention that in those days, algorithms were not yet used like today. It was mind boggling and a huge surprise. What caused this response to the post, as subsequently I shared the same quote and received a very a different response? Was it about synchronicity, as in being at the right place at the right time? Were the stars aligned? Was it the combination of the words and the picture? The magnetic force of their combined vibration? Yes, words and images have a unique vibration. What was it that made people become aware of it during those four hours and then to respond by taking the action to share it forward in such an expansive and rapid way? Why did they gravitate towards it?

Visual Credit Jeremiah Morelli

So here it is for your perusal. Perhaps read it at least three times and allow yourself to feel it:

“Look at every path closely and deliberately. Try it as many times as you think necessary. Then ask yourself alone, one question . . . Does this path have a heart? If it does, the path is good; if it doesn’t it is of no use.” ― Carlos Castaneda

For me it was one of those moments, where all the forces in the universe conspire and work together on our behalf. This happens spontaneously when we are in flow. And when we act from our hearts and not only from our heads, we get different results. It was deliberate and calculated when I reshared the same quote on other occasions, thus there was little heart in that.

Truth spoken from the heart

These wise words by Christopher M Bache accompanied me on another journey and unexpected experience, ‘Truth spoken directly from the heart and skilfully illuminated by the mind has an enormous power that cannot be eliminated even in the academic setting.’

The Society of Innovation in Management invited me twice a year to present a paper at their bi-annual global Innovation in Management Conferences in Japan and to publish this paper in the International Journal for Innovation in Management. An avid learner, I had no academic aspirations at the time and never took these invitations, that began early 2014, seriously. Every year I returned kind responses declining these very generous invitations.

In the latter part of 2016 I intuitively decided to take them up on their invitation and shared my paper, written in a complete state of flow. Upon receipt, the society immediately approved my submission and invited me to present the paper during their winter conference early February 2017 in Tokyo. There was an inner knowing that I could no longer ignore this prompt.

Travelling on a South African passport has its challenges, as visa processes are tedious, traumatic, and very expensive. This time around everything was aligned. My visa was approved within 5 minutes of submitting it in person and that is something that hardly ever happens at other embassies. People working at embassies and immigration are not the friendliest species on the planet. The lady assisting me was not only kind, friendly and very helpful, she also wished me a wonderful trip and great experience. And ensured I had everything I needed for the trip, providing several maps of Tokyo and activities to explore. It is one of those rare occasions imprinted on our cells and memory.

One aspect to consider was that I didn’t communicate in the traditional academic way. Having the courage to be true to myself and following my heart and intuition, instead I embraced the unconventional and did not deliver my paper. Instead I shared an experience during which those scholars present could have an embodied, real life experience of this body of wisdom with practical application opportunities that were relevant and meaningful. It was such a joyous occasion. Everyone loved it and wanted to experience and learn more. Unexpected invitations flooded in to share workshops at universities in Japan, Taiwan, Korea, and China, and to work together.

It was such an adventure and blessing to be with such great minds and open, gentle, and receptive hearts. Only 3 papers were selected to be published in the International Journal for Innovation in Management. I attended the most amazing presentations by other scholars, thus the surprise when my paper was selected as one of those 3 from 69 other papers to be published in the journal. It was most definitely a path with heart and Christopher’s wise words in action. That in turn inspired and led to the ground-breaking action-based research of the The Possibility Gap, something we will be sharing more soon.

Unexpected Common Denominator

Is heart intelligence a gravitational and magnetic force? Most certainly a resounding yes!

Heart-Intelligence was at play during all three instances I shared. Does that mean we should not take deliberate action? Of course we should. Yet, when infused and instigated by the heart, deliberate action takes on a different form and is perceived and received in a different way. It even makes sense and is logical, as it overwrites cynicism, scepticism, and fear.

We are not born with only a head or a heart, and we now know that we have three brains, not only the one in our heads, as another in our hearts, and yet another in our gut. Considering that our senses pass on 11 million bits of information to our brain per second, and that we only process 16 bits of data per second from this glut, we most definitely need to enact the wisdom and intelligence from our hearts and our guts to assist.

Peter Senge says that people with high levels of personal mastery do not set out to integrate reason and intuition. Rather, they achieve it naturally – as a bi-product of their commitment to use all resources at their disposal. They cannot afford to choose between reason and intuition, or head and heart, any more than they would choose to walk on one leg. This type of mastery is available to all of us, and we are about to explore this ability and its importance in our world at present.

We find ourselves in a state of flow when there is alignment between our minds, hearts, and bodies. Flow states results in all kinds of serendipity and synchronicity, which in turn loves the paths with heart and thrives in such situations.

So what does this all have to do with decision making?

Being in flow we have access to all these resources Peter speaks about and so much more intelligence, which makes decision making processes as natural as breathing. Yet aware, connected, and conscious, and not automatic.

Any decision we make is a defining moment and has the potential to be a pivotal act that sets a series of life-transforming events in motion. We all, without exception, play an important part in the history of mankind. Everything we think, say, feel, do, create, dream, intend, and decide, co-creates reality and the type of world we live in. The world is a playground and blank canvas, and human beings give it flavour, texture, shape, form, colour, story, meaning, and purpose. Life does not happen to us. Filled with zest, it flows through, within, around, and from us. We are life expressing itself in a unique way, thus a significant aspect and vital part of the bigger whole.

Humanity finds itself at an interesting crossroad. Many people begin to stand up for themselves and protest against life-transforming decisions that are made on their behalf by leaders. This is a turning point in the history and future of mankind, and what we choose will determine the course humanity will take from here-on.

A heart-centred choice is not complex or new to us, as our souls made this choice when we birthed into the wondrous, glorious world. It was a life-affirming, life-giving, life-generating, life-sustaining, and life-bringing decision, otherwise we will not be alive, conscious, and aware right now.

We do not have to give it up by allowing fear, lack, scarcity, the fear of not having or not being enough, to direct and control our lives. This unholy threesome is life-destructive, and a closed-circuit environment where we are not able to flourish and thrive. Nothing can grow in such environments and conditions.

The Power of Choice

We have access to an incredible power, namely the power of choice. We are not puppets controlled by puppet masters. We are not robots programmed to follow instructions and act accordingly. We do not have to live mechanical and automated lives, with no or little heart, nor do we need to act out of habit. We can choose differently in each moment, namely that which is alive, emerging, growing, energizing, exciting, nourishing, stimulating, strengthening, and fulfilling.

We are alive! Breathing, moving, conscious, intelligent, interconnected beings resonating with life, we are able to think, feel, relate, sense, imagine, envision, touch, hear, taste, smell, see, intuit, understand, create, exchange, share, enjoy, experience, make, choose, explore, discover, invent, learn, and so much more.

That is super amazing, as these inborn abilities and sensibilities are available to us no matter the circumstances or conditions around us. With them we can shift reality and co-initiate breakthroughs. It gives us access the vast field of possibilities and the ability to practically ground them into the material world. Add to that our talents, gifts, skills, wisdom, insights, lessons learned, knowledge accumulated, relationships, and we have tons of resources available, besides the power of will, mind, and wisdom (heart). Coming back to our true nature, we realize that we are a vast storehouse of intelligence! And we have the ability to re-dream and re-imagine any situation. Energy flows where attention goes.

How do we know that we have chosen a path with heart when making decisions?

Our hearts beating is an indicator that we are alive. Trustworthy beyond measure and anything else, what better indicator do we need? Authentic, powerful, and prolific, a path with heart is a path that is alive, thus life-giving, life-generating, life-sustaining, life-enhancing, and life-bringing, just like our human hearts are!

Any decision made from lack, doubt, fear, scarcity, and unworthiness, will seed more of the same. It is a sure sign that we did not chose a path with heart, as our heart’s intelligence knows none of these! It is the multitalented conductor and orchestrator of life and connects us to our innate potential and infinite possibilities. According to Brene Brown wholehearted living is about engaging in our lives from a place of worthiness.

Engaging only our intellect when making decisions, we do not live a whole-hearted and wholesome life. The brain does not function in isolation from our hearts, neither do our cells and neurons function independently. There is this powerful and seamless interrelatedness and interconnection playing out spontaneously. We limit ourselves if we only engage one of our intelligences. Likewise, we can’t expect others to make decisions on our behalf and then blame them when its not a path with heart.

Selling those in leadership positions out, passive aggressive spectators and commentators do not contribute to a better world. It is easy to judge, blame, complain, shame, criticize, and project when not standing and walking in someone else’s shoes.

A reality check into the world of leadership

Not a healthy situation, leaders are so busy fighting fires, managing crises, emergencies, and disasters, and overseeing operational issues, that they are not able to embrace defining moments that could set a series of events in motion that can transform our world.

Imagine yourself being a leader. Needing to show the way, making decisions that impact the whole world, with so many expectations, demands for your attention, much pressure and stress, and little time for reflection, processing, integration, rejuvenation, nourishment, and self-care! So much fear of not having enough or not being good enough.  

The general outlook so heavy, taking on the collective fears, carrying the world on your shoulders, dealing with injustices, keeping the spirits up, and instilling a sense of stability and peace, you are exhausted and your ‘calling’ can easily feel like a burden. A path with very little heart…

The widening of generational gaps, increasing power struggles to get to the top, upholding extravagant lifestyles that cause all kinds of shenanigans, and your public image that need to be constantly nurtured and maintained, adding more pressure. It can thus become unbearable.

What else is possible? The path with heart…

There is a great imbalance that needs attention from all of humanity. It is not up to a few men and women to transform our world. We each have latent potential and access to our innate heart and leadership intelligence. The path with heart is full of mystery, yet the moment we make decisions from this place unseen forces begin to conspire on our behalf.

The world can be harsh and unforgiving. In order to support humanity AND leaders to engage cutting through awareness and the ability to create the inner environment for something extraordinary to occur, which in turn leads to the necessary breakthroughs and shifts, we dedicate our monthly Newsletter of The Possibility Gap to ‘The Path with Heart’. Each feature focuses on one of the 8 wonders of being human and one of the 8 wonders of organizing ourselves. You are welcome to sign up for to receive our newsletter.

Setting the Tone -Every journey starts with the first step

Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Curious or feeling called to co-initiate heart-centred defining moments that will set a chain of life-transforming events in motion for the highest good of the greater whole? Or ready to lead your organization/business, team, community, ecosystem, network, and relationships to the next level?

Setting the tone by harnessing our inborn Leadership Intelligence is more valuable, insightful, and powerful than any Business Intelligence in our world of big data, AI, algorithms, misinformation, fake news, deep fake, swindlers, censorship, and distorted perception.

Join other global Trailblazers during our upcoming online Leadership Intelligence Retreat. You are welcome to request more information here.

The final say!

When we quit thinking about ourselves and our own self-preservation, we undergo a truly heroic transformation of consciousness.

Joseph Campbell

Leaving a legacy for future generations is an honourable purpose.