Simone — great review of the course so far and what it means for you. Fully agree that ‘progress’ is not just about pain. We also have to appreciate what we have, or have achieved (assuming no element of nefarious means involved in either!), and learn to be content in the present.
The “better version of ourselves” already exists inside us. We carry it with us all the time. It’s about uncovering it rather than finding it anywhere else. You have an admirable commitment to wanting to find and be that best version of yourself. It is because subconsciously you know it is there that you are driven to connect with it.
Working on our (negative) habits is what the ‘deliberately developmental’ methodology invites us to do. It’s a good idea to start with habits that are easier to overcome before moving onto more difficult ones (not sure if the book says that). There is a link between this and how we feel we could live up to the social contract of an organisation. The latter has to (reasonably) align with our own beliefs (or non-beliefs), and you make reference to ‘belief systems’. Given the diversity of such systems in the world, however, it takes a lot of reflection and skill to come up with a social contract that honours this diversity in the workforce. That’s what I like about what a workplace — it’s a melting pot of all humanity trying to achieve something together.
There have been some attempts at putting out (social contract) frameworks on an inclusive, non-partisan basis. ‘Ethics for a new millenium’ by the Dalai Lama is one example. He outlines universal priniciples that we can draw on to transcend the dilemma of belief or unbelief. This is what he said about being open to helping others (in our increasingly urbanised world), which we covered in Week 4:
“… in place of our dependence on one another for support, we tend to rely on machines and services ….. We find modern living so organized so that it demands the least possible direct dependence on others. The more or less universal ambition seems to be for everyone to own their own house, their own car, their own computer, and so on in order to be as independent as possible ….. with these developments, there has arisen a sense that my future is not dependent on my neighbour but rather on my job, or, at most, my employer. This is turn encourages us to suppose that because others are not important for my happiness their happiness is not important to me.”
Don’t worry about ‘ego’ being crushed either. Ego is a false perception of self (as permanent, independent and singular). We work on our negative habits to dissolve our ego and not live with mundane hopes and fears.
I appreciate your point about not wanting “to steer outcomes to my agenda” and instead to let things unfold. The art of reasoning and debate as a way of arriving at a better version of the truth for all parties seems to have been lost.