We're All in This Together by Polly McGee

Professor Mohamad Abdalla is the Director of the Centre for Islamic Thought and Education at the University of South Australia. The pleasure of hearing him speak in an audience of leaders across sectors about interconnectedness was a profoundly transformative experience – humbling and inspiring all at once. Mohamad is a storyteller of the first order and took the audience on a journey of the history of intersection between the ancient Islamic world and Western thought all the way through to the aftermath of Christchurch.

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Polly McGee
Complexity - it's SIMPLES! by Polly McGee

Our collective coping tendency is to keen towards nostalgia, for times where we weren’t a 24/7 information superhighway, where we were rested and recharged overnight, where there was childhood innocence, trust in our institutions, our roles were defined, there was no need to be always agile. If you want to see what futile nostalgia and resistance to complexity looks like, you need look no further than what is happening on the world stage, as leaders rush to close borders, bring back nationalism and classify people into clear, recognisable camps of friend or foe.  The fact is humans like simple. 

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Polly McGee
What Happens In Samvega by Polly McGee

Buddhists have a word to describe a place of seeking that I suspect will be an a-ha moment of relief for many people. It certainly was for me when I came across it in author and yogi Stephen Cope’s excellent book The Wisdom of Yoga. That word is ‘samvega’. Cope, quoting Buddhist monk Thanissaro Bhikkhu, describes samvega as three clusters of feelings occurring simultaneously: shock, alienation and dismay at the futility and meaninglessness of life.

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Rob King
MVP (Minimum Viable Permanence) by Polly McGee

Impermanence and interdependence in business is a good thing: here’s how and why. Part of the difficulty for many people in starting up a new business or bringing their ideas to market is that there is a fixed idea of what they are providing, the pathway that will get them there, and the customer whose problem they are solving with their (and by ‘their’ I mean ‘your’) genius. None of this is wrong, and traditional approaches to business planning focus strongly on having these elements and answers in place prior to market entry.

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Rob King
The Eight Worldly Dharmas by Polly McGee

The eight worldly dharmas is a Buddhist concept that so speaks to our current global situation in a macros sense, and our individual struggles in a micro one. Unlike the juicy good Dharma which is us finding our jam and delivering our gifts to the world, the eight worldly dharmas are in that perfect paradox of so many philosophical concepts, the coupling of shame, fear and desires that keep us stuck in suffering and ego. They are practically the blueprint to the base note of addictions, and drive that painful cycle in so many subtle ways.

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Rob King
Stop Being Human by Polly McGee

Back in 1982, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five released a song called The Message. It's regarded as the first rap song to have politicised the situation unfolding in the boroughs of NYC, and the escalating epidemic of crime, drugs and gangs that was destroying predominantly black and lower socio economic communities. The Message was one of those moments in music that enshrined genre and culture at the beginning of a time of change in how we consumed sound with video, and the use of technology to create beats and loops.

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Rob King
Live Beyond Your Memes by Polly McGee

Back somewhere in the 80’s electronica performance world of the US, Laurie Anderson released the song/spoken word ‘Language is a Virus.’ Like all her work, it was way before its time and speaks to a condition of self-cherishing that is only amplified by our ever navel-gazing social vortex. As it was then, so it is now, and will be forever potentially, as the samsara of our own humanity is where all suffering comes from.

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Rob King
A Few Good Men by Polly McGee

This isn’t about good men, or a shortage of good men, or another feminist rant about the intolerable state of abuse towards women (haha mini rant boom!) in fact that headline is nothing more than a poor attempt to combine 90’s popular culture and a film title that included good and men. For the win!

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Rob King
Boundaries – clear is kind by Zoë Coyle

Only in adulthood have I recognised the importance of boundaries. I grew up in a beautiful but also enmeshed relationship with my mother. For those of you that don’t know what that means, and I had to have it spelt out to me by a therapist and my husband; enmeshment is a description of a relationship in which personal boundaries are permeable and unclear. This often happens on an emotional level in which two people ‘feel’ each other’s emotions.

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Rob King
Surrender in Action by Polly McGee

I saw a friend in the street the other day that I hadn’t seen for a while. I almost kept walking, she looked so different it took my eyes and brain a moment to connect. When we spoke, she was in a deeply vulnerable space, her armor was all gone, and all that was left was the shimmering and quivering beauty of her turning up her face as it really is.

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Rob King
Stop Selling, Start Storytelling by Polly McGee

Since recorded history, humans have been telling, or being told stories. Our first memories are of the oral histories our parents, families and guardians pass on to us. These narratives form our language at the same time as they build our values and our essential understanding of the mysteries of the world and our place in it. You might think as an adult that your storytelling is limited to the explicit narratives with which you engage, like books, newspapers, film and TV. In reality: storytelling runs the world, and operates in business and in your life in the same way.

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Rob King
Shit Sandwiches (Not a recipe) by Polly McGee

In her excellent book Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert recounts reading a blog by writer Mark Manson, he of The Subtle Art of Not Giving A Fuck who said that the secret to finding your purpose in life was to answer the one big question: ‘What is your favorite flavor of shit sandwich?’ It’s a crude analogy for what is an often unspoken truth—every pursuit in life comes with some unpalatable side effects, no matter how much Passion and Purpose sauce you’ve ladled on.

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Rob King
Starting a Meditation Practice by Polly McGee

I’m often asked about my meditation practice. It’s been one of my key tools in changing my neural pathways, re building reaction, and enabling me to be more present, more focused, and more compassionate. I advocate these as leadership goals, but many people have a very false idea that meditation needs a quiet mind and a still body. Nope. Not neither. For many of us who are A type personalities in big, fast moving jobs, it’s easy to see why this feels unattainable. Why even bother?

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Rob King
Gratitude by Zoë Coyle

Routine can feel like a prison, but it can also be comforting and stabilising. Each evening when I draw the curtains throughout my home, I feel gentle happiness, a hum of gratitude. I’m shutting up shop, battening down the hatches, folding in with my family. Another day coming to a close. Something about this shutting of the curtains moves me and reminds me to count my blessings. Research tells us that counting our blessings, or giving thanks is a deeply powerful tool for bringing more happiness into our lives.

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Rob King