From: Gurdjieff Legacy Foundation <>
To: nemonemini <>
Date: Sun, May 17, 2020 3:03 am
Dear Friends,

Read the article published in Forbes about Mr. Gurdjieff’s Fourth Way ideas and perspective.The Gurdjieff Legacy Foundation

How Teamwork Actually Works:
Accomplishing The Goals We SetBy Brett Steenbarger

The philosophy and practice of George Ivanovitch Gurdjieff begins with a simple, but powerful idea: We think we are awake, when in fact we lack a single, unified consciousness. That is, we drift from thought to thought, activity to activity, often without self-awareness. To that extent, Gurdjieff taught, we are asleep, not fully awake. “The greatest barrier to consciousness,” Gurdjieff student P. D. Ouspensky taught, “is the belief that one is already conscious.” To the extent that our thoughts and moods can be altered by random events and daydreams, we are no longer fully self-determining: our free will is at best partial. The goal of self-development, from this perspective, is to become more awake, more self-aware, more self-determining and less mechanical.

This idea is most relevant to our efforts at self-improvement and peak performance. We often treat performance improvement as a function of goal-setting. We work hard to set the right goals in the right way, assuming that better goals will yield better results. If our free will is partial, however, we will be unable to sustain the work needed to turn dreams into realities. Our failure to live up to our New Year’s resolutions is not because we were insincere at the time or framed our goals poorly. Our failure is a failure of consciousness: in one state we can feel the urgency to change, while in another we can drift aimlessly from habit to habit, routine to routine.

Gurdjieff believed that we need the equivalent of alarm clocks to keep ourselves in a mindful and purposeful mode. The exercise I recently shared in a video for financial traders, that of “taking your emotional temperature”, is a kind of alarm clock. The idea is that, during the normal work of trading, our phone goes off at random intervals and cues us to answer basic questions about how we are feeling, thinking, and acting. This enables us to become observers of ourselves and our performance, rather than caught up in market ups and downs. As observers, we can realize when our mindset is not right for trading and step back from risk-taking. Without such mindfulness, we can all too easily lose control of our performance.

But, alas, we can habituate to alarms, hit snooze buttons, and stay asleep. This is why the most effective ways of accomplishing the goals we set are to make these team-based goals. To put it in a simplified way, let’s say that I am mindful and intentional 50% of the time and caught up in randomness, routines, daydreams, and habit patterns the other 50%. Sustaining consistent movement toward my goals would be difficult. Suppose, however, that I team up with another person who is 50% awake and a third person who is awake half the time. Now, the odds of all three of us being asleep at the performance wheel are only one in eight. A team of sufficient size and self-awareness will always have someone available to ring an alarm and awaken the others. Well-constructed teams expand the consciousness and mindfulness of individual members, enhancing their ability to realize their goals.

This is a powerful, powerful principle. When we see successful traders in financial markets, we inevitably find people who have built well-curated information networks with peer professionals and who use these networks to share ideas and refine performance. Mike Bellafiore has written on the idea of turning best trading opportunities into “playbooks” that can be replicated over time. Supporting the playbooks is a team structure in which traders routinely share their trading ideas and trading reviews, so that performance improvement becomes a shared activity. It is not at all unusual to see team members remind each other of the goals they’ve set, keeping each other self-aware and self-determining. Good teams are good alarm clocks.

I was recently taken with a tweet from a successful trader, who goes by the name Modern Rock. Modern Rock is a founder of an online trading community called My Investing Club. An important practice of the group is the pairing of traders with “accountability buddies” that help them stay on course toward their goals. In the tweet, a member of the community shares that their buddy became so familiar with their trading vulnerabilities that alerts were sounded before problems even occurred! This is a perfect example of how teamwork can make dreams work. Left to our own devices, we will fade in and out of full consciousness awareness and self-determination. With the right “buddies”, however, mindfulness can be the norm. In military teams, there is an ethos of no soldier left behind: everyone takes responsibility for everyone else. As long as some of us are fully conscious, connected to our dreams, we can keep each other alert and wide awake. That is the true power of teamwork.

—Forbes 15 May 2020

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