Social connectivity VS superchickens

TodayI watched a TED Talk by Margaret Heffernan. It struck a chord that reminded me of why I prefer teaching yoga and meditation to teaching English. Why I prefer practicing with some groups of yogis compared to others. And without wanting to get too political, why the current government (here in Australia and in some other countries) is not helping the people. It was enough to make me write my second post for today.

And when I talked to producers of hit albums, they said, “Oh sure, we have lots of superstars in music. It’s just, they don’t last very long. It’s the outstanding collaborators who enjoy the long careers, because bringing out the best in others is how they found the best in themselves.”
— Margaret Heffernan

I love the idea that we all help and support each other. Yet all my life I was encouraged to get the best scores I could, to compete against others, to go to a good university and get a good job. I had been taught by society and peers that it was acceptable to look down upon those of lesser academic achievement and those with an inability to think logically (I was a science snob - I mean honestly, why would you study Arts??). I would find myself working with these 'superchickens' that Margaret discusses. Competing, soap boxing, moral high-grounding, scathing superchickens. Australia having sarcasm as a national trait helps hide the fact that this is not really the healthiest environment to learn, work or live in.

Competitiveness is also encouraged within the Language school environment with tests each week based on grammar and vocabulary when the best teaching methods use these as tools, rather than the focus of the lesson. However, you can't cover the 'required' material if you use the best, most organic teaching methods. So we create these memorisation superchickens without practical communicative skills...

But for the past 50 years... we’ve thought that success is achieved by picking the superstars... giving them all the resources and all the power. And the result has been... aggression, dysfunction and waste.
— Margaret Heffernan

In some areas of yoga, I see that competitiveness, between the followers of different yoga superstars or different lineages and between practitioners. And, most difficult for us all to break away from, against ourselves from one day to to the next, constantly comparing our own performance to previous days. (And maybe not just with yoga, but work, physical and mental performance as we age...)

The first style of yoga I practiced encouraged competition within the individual to look like the pose, to push yourself, to not give up no matter the strain on the body. When I moved to Nundah Yoga, I realised that yoga was enjoyable and relaxing, not stressful and some poses were unachievable at times. However, I realised that 'yoga' - the connection between the mind and body - was always achievable. I was then encouraged to do my own teacher training.

When I first moved to Redcliffe, started practicing yoga at Sutton's Beach while completing my teacher training and was immediately warmly welcomed. I was invited to coffee on my first day and quickly included in the conversations around the table. Everyone is willing to chat to everyone who comes along. I think Monica has a beautiful example of social connectivity in her group that has built up though her years of teaching in the one place the one group. Everyone tries to help each other. There are no cliques and there is an acceptance of everyone's need to do what they have to do to look after themselves. Thank you Monica and everyone who welcomed all of us newbies. Whether we were new a few weeks ago, a year ago or a few years ago.

I am starting to see the same kind of connections, community assistance and care in my own small group of yogis; both in the park for yoga and in the meditation room. The sharing of ideas to help. The sharing of inspiration and laughs. The sharing of skills. The sharing of ears and hearts. Asking for help when it is needed. Thank you to you all.

Supporting ourselves and each other in tree pose.

Supporting ourselves and each other in tree pose.

It can be difficult to function effectively when surrounded by the competitiveness that seems to rule the western world at the moment. When a sympathetic ear is scoffed at, when a lack of perfection is condemned, both by others, and more damningly by ourselves. However, when we can return to these little pockets of social connectivity, and hopefully help them grow by spreading the love, so to speak, it makes it a little easier. If we can continue to help them grow, hopefully, we will reduce our need to go into the world of the superchickens. If we can share examples of how educators and CEOs are making social connectivity work effectively and profitably, maybe we can help and, just a little, step-by-step, social media share-by-share, change the world.

Start by listening to yourself. To your body. To your heart. NOT to your negative thoughts. Not to jealousy or competitive inclinations. But to what you want to do to help others, or if you need to ask for help yourself. To what makes your soul sing. If you know what you love, it will be easier to communicate with others.

Start by listening to someone today. With your full attention. With your phone away. Without even thinking about your next comment or question. Connect, get to know each other, share what you can and you will be surprised who and how many you can help. And as explained in the video, increase profitability - whether it be and increase in self-worth or in profits of your day job.

it is only when we accept that everybody has value that we will liberate the energy and imagination and momentum we need to create the best beyond measure.
— Margaret Heffernan