Thursday, June 18, 2009

Jumping through the Johari window

Ever had that feeling that as soon as you learn something new, there's a whole lot more you did not know you did not know. It's like a hall, not of mirrors, but of Johari windows.

The Johari window was invented by Joseph Luft and Harry Ingham in 1955 to better understand how we relate to others. The four quadrants reveal for us, what we and others know about ourselves (or don't know):

* Arena: What we and others know about who we are. * Blind spot: What we don't know about ourselves but others do. * Facade: What we know about ourselves but we hide from others. * Unknown: What both we and others do not know.

There is a way to access what we don't know we don't know. We can learn to jump through the Johari window and discover a new you, or new aspects of the world. It's what children do when they play cowboys and Indians, doctors and nurses or mothers and fathers. We invent our way to a new and different personal future through collectively imagined interactions with others.

Here's how it works. Each person in the group (A1, B1, C1) invents a character that they would like to become (A2, B2, C2), an ideal "you", unfettered by past constraints. Your new persona might be somewhat like the person you set out to be in your youth, but other choices got in the way. Or it might be someone you would love to become, to start life afresh.

Instead of arguing over "he said" and "she said", then "he did" and "she did" you engage in conversations with others from the perspective of your new persona, we jump off a "cliff of possibility" together, except the cliff of possibility advances with us. It's great for rebuilding relationships that have been damaged or are stuck in a circular argument.

Sure, your new character can't do brain surgery overnight, run a 3-minute mile, or help you pass exams you did not study for, but you get a second chance at life to change your attitudes, develop new relationships and set new goals.

Collectively we become what we imagine, and bring the future into the present faster!

Here's how to do it:

1. Craft a character for a play about the person you've always dreamed of becoming, what you believe, your interests, deeds you do, relationships, mannerisms, dress...and give your character a new name...
2. Looking at the other characters, describe the kinds of relationships you could have with each other. Respond like this: Name each of the other characters: describe how you will relate to them.
3. Create a scene where all the characters come together some time in the future, e.g. the staff Christmas party or to jointly solve a problem/issue. Craft the dialogue your characters will use to interact with others.

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