Whenever the last people left on Sunday nights, my first reaction was always relief because I could finally have some time and space to myself. But there was envy too. I envied them for the lives they all had outside the house, away from the furnace of self-development we had created for ourselves. They were able to leave the analysis and self-reflection for a few days, allow the wounds of the weekend to heal, and get on with their respective lives. For me it was different. When I locked the door behind them, I knew there was no other place for me to go. I had cornered myself into an existence devoted almost exclusively to personal development.
Even though it’s what I wanted, there were times when I yearned for a neutral environment in which to practise what I had learnt. The others escaped the challenges and the confrontation because they had normal jobs to go to; places where they could implement and confirm their learning. On those late Sunday nights, I longed for the same, just to be able to test whether my life really had changed the way it seemed to have done. It would also have meant some breathing space. Respite from the intensity.
Karaj would explain to everyone that, whilst they may have thought their salaried positions were where they went to work, it was actually at the house where the real work took place. By comparison, their working environments were a playground; a place where they could apply what they had learnt about themselves the previous weekend. A place with familiar players and known variables, where they could observe the effects of changes in behaviour and strategy. And a place to research and gather data ready for the next weekend.
See your place of work as your playground. First and foremost, of course, you are there to do a job, but there are also numerous opportunities to further your own development. The environment is perfect. It is structured and predictable, with colleagues who behave in habitual ways. It provides the perfect opportunity for patient, long-term development and is available to anyone who wishes to use it. In fact, more and more companies are realising this and exploring the possibilities available to them. The playgrounds are there. Go play for a while.