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Dr. Foster Mobley | Weekly Wisdoms

200 Words for Choice

It is said that the indigenous tribes in the Artic Circle have over 200 words for the concept of snow. To an outsider, that seems a little excessive at best, and confusing at worst. But, the value of an important concept in any culture is almost never accurately determined from the outside.

Culture is defined as "...the traditional ways of thinking, feeling and reacting shared by a society which help it address its challenges." Think about culture as the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves that define who we are. Culture is important because, while it doesn't necessary determine what happens to us, it heavily shapes the meaning we place on those events, and whether they empower or cripple us.

It's not hard for anyone to understand that snow, and all its permutations have very real implications on people in the Arctic regions. Therefore, their culture promotes a deep understanding of, and sensitivity to weather and its nuances of snow.

You know what I'd like to see? Our business organizations have placed so much value in the concepts of human development and consciousness (read as "awakenness"), like choice, presence and intentionality that we have 200 words to cover their many aspects and nuances. In many well-intentioned organizations today, uttering those three words get you branded softheaded, naïve or worse. Wise leaders know otherwise and act accordingly.

What is possible when a culture honors and values qualities attributed to the full performance of its people? What do you value through your words and actions?

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