Intro to the Table of Stable Growth
We need heuristics and analogies to help us guide our lives because we mostly think in metaphors. That means rather than thinking totally objectively and rationally–as we like to believe that we do–we mostly examine things for what they mean in relation to us and in a given context. And if we don’t have a framework that we can apply to a given situation, then we end up filling in the blanks with stories–often really shitty ones–because our brains need to know what something means for us. It’s how we’ve survived and evolved over a really long damn time. The heuristics and analogies are the frameworks that allow us to make sense of things in our lives. They allow us to relate our lives, or just pieces of our lives, to something that actually allows us to think clearly about what’s happening, rather than getting caught up in emotional turmoil, or just being ineffective at looking at ourselves with enough detachment to be productive. To condense that all down into one, simple little sentence:
we need systems of self-examination that help us evaluate the different aspects of our lives and keep them in balance.Enter the Table of Stable Growth. For almost 3 years now, we’ve been using the Table of Stable Growth to guide our personal development as a staff at BSP NOVA. We’d, up to that point, been spending a lot of time on personal development in our inservices, and during our reading/assignments, but we didn’t have a metaphorical tool that allowed us to look at our behavior, give it a value, and then plot a course for change. And we needed it. All of us were working hard to improve, but all of us had problems with balancing the different parts of our lives–personal, professional, physical, and enrichment. So, I came up with the idea of using a table to represent our lives and legs as the different parts that we need to keep in balance so that our table remains stable. A stable table can hold a lot of shit–or like food and other nice things. But, here’s the thing, a table needs maintenance to remain stable and steady–and that takes constant vigilance and work to keep the legs screwed on securely without a wobble. Let’s break down the table metaphor and look at the constituent parts. Then, we’ll have a look at the actual table poster that’s hanging on our wall at BSP NOVA so we can consult it every day. This lesson is to introduce the table and the parts that make it up. In part two of this series we’ll talk table-balancing action plans.