Autotelic vs. Entropic
Over 2300 years ago Aristotle wrote that more than anything else, men and women seek happiness. “Happiness depends on ourselves.” More than any other philosopher, Aristotle enshrines happiness as a central purpose of human life and a goal in itself.
One idea is to seek and find your sweet spot, your overlap. Scott Belsky, wrote the national best seller, Making Ideas Happen. If you can imagine a Venn diagram (at right), these three overlapping circles represent your genuine interests, your real skills and the opportunities that’s your troika, your trifecta!
Aristotle’s happiness wasn’t material, food, sensory gratification it was friendship, it was the reward for friendship and doing the right thing, the Greeks called it virtue. Happiness depends on acquiring a moral character, where one displays the virtues of courage, generosity, justice, friendship, and citizenship in one’s life. These virtues involve striking a balance or “mean” between an excess and a deficiency. Happiness is self measuring and wanting to improve.In today’s world successful companies are conscious of their firm’s culture. They manage it with the same attention to detail and skills they apply to strategy, financials and their other Key Performance Indicators. A key to achieving happiness, success is finding the overlap. This sweet spot is an autotelic place. Autotelic is described as having a purpose in and of itself. In his book, Flow, Mihaly Csikszentmihali uses the term autotelic to describe people who are internally driven, and as such may exhibit a sense of purpose and curiosity. This determination is an exclusive difference from being externally driven, where things such as comfort, money, power, or fame are the motivating force. The autotelic organization, person translates potential threats into enjoyable challenges, and therefore maintains its inner harmony.
Winners, winning organizations change the disorder and negative of an issue, into an opportunity. Entropy can be defined as a measure of the disorder that exists in a system, a measure of the energy in a system or process that is unavailable to do work.
Remember your Mom, saying you could have taken the trash out with less energy than you spent complaining? Winners turn entropic events into opportunities and are pumped to learn. Some keys to being autotelic include goal setting, being involved in the issue, staying connected, paying attention and learning to enjoy the experience. Surfers speak of the power of the ocean, how when they catch the wave and they seize the energy, go with it. This is the same thought as growing, winning organizations.
An additional thought that links the autotelic person or firm to the ocean is the never ending sets of waves. Sitting on the beach you can enjoy the sound, sense the rhythm, power and perpetual nature of the ocean. The circular never ending pattern maybe likened to life to business. Real happiness does come from finding the overlap of your genuine interests, your real skills and the opportunities. Finding issues, capturing the power and energy and making your life, your culture better.
It is the voice of life that calls us to learn….