EP 52: Leadership Manifesto Principle #20 Zoom Out Often
Play • 11 min

We often do our best thinking when we are not thinking.

From Archimedes to Newton, great breakthrough discovery examples “away from the job” are rife in science, technology and the arts. It appears that it is often through a break that we really break through

Leadership is fundamentally about setting the right direction and making the right choices. Those choices, however, are only as good as the perspectives they are based on. In this episode, I explain how our “factory setting” as a species is an up-close perspective as it aids our survival in the moment. So how do you rise above your default programming to Zoom Out and gain enough valuable perspective to truly break through?

Insights include:

-How I suddenly remembered that thing I couldn’t remember!

-Why leaders typically don’t Zoom Out

-How great thinkers thrived when not thinking

-The “Pale Blue Dot” – Carl Sagan’s timely perspective on Zooming Out


“Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there-on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot.

Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.

The Earth is the only world known so far to harbour life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.

It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known.”
Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space

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