“We strive to be Hopi. We call ourselves Hopi because maybe one or two of us will become Hopi. Each person must look into their heart and make changes so that you may become Hopi when you reach your destination.” — Percy Lomaquahu, HOPI
It has been said by more than one indigenous tribesman that it can take a lifetime to become one of their tribe. To take such a statement in proper context I need to clarify that most indigenous people refer to themselves in their own language as “human beings.” So what this Hopi elder is really saying is that it can take a lifetime to become truly human. He is also implying that to merely be born of a certain indigenous ancestry does not make a person indigenous—that is has more to do with how a person lives their life.
In our modern culture we mostly strive for academic learning and professional accomplishment, so much so that we tend to overlook the importance of understanding what it takes to be truly human.
While the world of organizational leadership is all abuzz about culture and its importance to change, innovation and adaptability, culture is mostly about what organizational experts refer to as “soft skills.” Soft skills could otherwise be referred to as human skills, or more simply stated: the ability to feel and act on empathy.
The ancient societies of what we refer to, as indigenous peoples have known this since time immemorial. While the modern world has run rough shot over indigenous people for the past five hundred years, we’ve been working hard to destroy the very cultural understandings that can show us the way to being truly creative, innovative, and adaptable.
Academic learning is mostly intellectual. Developing soft skills is about feeling more, feeling deeply, and having the courage to let our hearts be the true driver of our lives and work.
Intellectual learning is a tool. Heart-based living and leadership is about purpose—it’s the “why” we do what we do.
Financial success is not enough to create the kind of purpose in an organization that will bring about transcendent innovation. In fact, the more people are oriented exclusively toward the attainment of financial achievement, to the exclusion of all else, the more they tend to bend the rules of decency. Which, is exactly the point of Percy’s quote above, that we must strive to be human, that it may take a life time to achieve, and that only a few of us may truly achieve it.
I believe that implied in Percy’s quote is a call to a higher way of living and being. It is in this higher way of living and being that we find deeper purpose—the kind of purpose that inspires others to join with us and make magic happen in the world.
Many blessings to you and your family during the holiday season.
We will take a week off and join you again in the new year.