Breakthrough Newsletter
By George Pitagorsky

Volume VI, Issue 6                                                                        Top    June 2014
In This Issue
Breakthroughs - AHA Moments that Change Your View
"Productive insight; clear (often sudden) understanding of a complex situation."  Free Dictionary

Pop the bubble of conditioned thinking and emerge into the creative realm of "no absolutes," continuous change, uncertainty and unlimited possibilities.

Then, there can be innovation, adaptation and optimal performance.

Performance & Open-minded Mindfulness:
Open-minded: questioning everything, accepting diversity and uncertainty. 

Mindful: consciously aware; concentrated.

Foundation for blending process, project, engagement and knowledge management into a cohesive approach to optimize performance.
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Breakthroughs - AHA Moments that Change Your View 

by George Pitagorsky   


We need frequent and profound breakthroughs to achieve optimal performance - the ability to sustainably achieve often conflicting goals in a complex and ever changing environment in the most effective way.     

What is a breakthrough? What is it breaking through? What is it breaking through from and what is it breaking through to?


According to the Free Dictionary a breakthrough is a "Productive insight; clear (often sudden) understanding of a complex situation." A breakthrough is an AHA moment, an epiphany, that changes your view.


Breakthroughs spontaneously occur when you relax, let go and stop trying to figure things out, though they are generally preceded by intensive effort. They are followed by effort to validate and integrate the breakthrough into action.


An ordinary breakthrough opens you up to a new way of thinking about a problem so that creative solutions emerge. It is the kind of experience that might occur in a moment of relaxation, maybe in the shower or on a walk in the country or reading a poem, after days of analyzing, thinking about and discussing a complex problem.


Profound Breakthrough

A profound breakthrough permanently changes the way you see your world and the way it works. It changes the mental models and beliefs that underlie your approach to life and to the way you think and behave. This kind of breakthrough, like the first kind, is spontaneous, occurring when you relax and stop thinking for a moment or two. Like the first kind of breakthrough it may follow a period, perhaps years or decades, of intense study and practice.


In the Zen tradition Satori is the breakthrough experience of seeing into one's true nature or essence. It is an enlightenment experience. It is an opening which when followed by continued practice leads to a permanent enlightenment.


A breakthrough cuts through the conditioned thinking that limits your capacity to see the whole picture in all of its complexity. It is the synthesis of many factors into a cohesive whole, though not as an analytical, intellectual process. Rather, it is linked to right brain, holistic, thinking.


Breakthroughs break through from not knowing to knowing.


Group Breakthroughs
Breakthroughs happen to individuals and to groups; in families, teams, relationships and organizations.


In organizations, a breakthrough occurs when enough of the right people stop thinking in simplistic terms and see how processes really work. For example, perhaps an organization has been driven by the belief that if executives set a goal and whip the staff sufficiently the staff will meet the goal, regardless of how unrealistic it is. A breakthrough occurs when the organization's leadership recognizes that a more collaborative approach to goal setting coupled with a less punitive management style results in higher performance.


Group breakthroughs are preceded by individual breakthroughs, particularly the ones that profoundly change mental models and, in general, one's world view.


Individual Breakthroughs

Since group breakthroughs depend on individual breakthroughs, let's focus on the individual. Minor breakthroughs solve problems or result in creative ideas. Profound individual breakthroughs are linked to the recognition that everything is a process in which the slightest change in any part of the process will effect the process going forward.


This recognition is profound because it breaks down the preconceived notion that everyone of us stands alone and is the center of the universe. It breaks from thinking that situations spontaneously occur and that anything is permanent and solid. When we say that everything is a process, we mean everything, including our bodies, minds and personalities. It is all in motion. Everything is dependent upon everything else. Everything is impermanent.


This insight is beyond an intellectual understanding. It is an epiphany, a deep realization.


False Epiphanies
Interestingly, there are breakthroughs that seem to result in new understanding and have the look and feel of a profound breakthrough but are false or delusional. One must be careful to distinguish between the kind of breakthrough that is based on concepts that are misleading and those that truly reflect the nature of things. At some point someone might have had a breakthrough idea that the earth was at the center of the universe or that a particular religion was the only true faith. Their life and the lives of those they may have influenced were profoundly changed.


Be careful. Test the breakthrough idea. Is it one that can be reconciled with your practical reality. Be open to doubt and change. If the breakthrough is to an exclusive, never to be questioned new view of reality, reject it.


Ram Dass tells about a conversation with his brother. His brother tells Ram Dass that he is God. Ram Dass says "I am God too. We are all God." Brother says, "you don't understand. I am God, the one and only God."


Exclusivity, grandiosity, divisiveness are signs that a breakthrough is a belief that is anchored in linear thinking or delusion rather than a holistic view of how things really are. Does a breakthrough belief that it is necessary to kill a family member who leaves the one true religion or shames the family sound like a reflection of an ultimate truth or is it the distorted reflection of someone else's thinking?


Deep relaxation, clarity, acceptance, kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy, all without discrimination are signs of a true breakthrough.



"Pop the bubble" of conditioned thinking and emerge into the creative realm of "no absolutes," continuous change, uncertainty and unlimited possibilities. Then there can be innovation, adaptation and optimal performance.


2014 George Pitagorsky                                     Top