1997, age 17. A flash. A poem. My parents -as always- respond with disheartening cynicism. My language teacher responds by sharing a poem he wrote at my age. His tone was spleen and Weltschmerz, where mine was (his words) ‘contemporary cynicism’. Sign o’ the times? My teacher points out that writing takes hard work, not just flashes. I never truly realised that until in 2013, age 43, I created my book “Scrum – A Pocket Guide”. Who would have guessed that in 2017 my book would be available in 3 languages?
An earlier pivotal moment was professionally moving to the Netherlands by the end of 2010. It was the start of a fascinating time supporting many people and organisations in growing their agility through Scrum.
2012. Dots got connected. The sudden realization that it took time to become what I didn’t know I could be. As a happy outsider. To be happy as an outsider too. Good at searching, not at finding; at travelling, not at arriving. Those small contradictions of life, a force rather than a noose. Being a total introvert, a hermit; yet, travelling the world for people and their way of Scrum. A vocation. Some unspeakable need to… ?
That same outsider in me sees the changes in my professional sphere since abandoning my spot of perceived importance in 2016. It affects me to the extent that it affects interactions and collaboration. A sense of bemusement hits me every time I realize how people stopped caring, ceased sharing ideas. A sense of bemusement when individuals compete with no other aim than personal fame or fortune, denying even the mere possibility of any greater, shared good. Displaying a cynicism that rules not my world. Not my vocation. Scrum gave me much. I will keep sharing back.
I observe the effects of the growth, even dominance, of Scrum. Scrum became a commercial model for money making purposes. Or Scrum is just a job, a career. Or the much hoped-for doorway to that personal fame or fortune. The use of Scrum to create better products while humanising the workplace, with people at the heart of it all, is a vocation that not many share.
If cynicism ruled my world, I should have started my own elaborate licensing scheme by now. Go down the worn-out path that many tread, at best paved with good intentions, but blind for the toxic side-effects. I should have re-issued, re-packaged, re-evaluated existing ideas, concepts and theories, added an extra rule and a tacky badge. Run it past the magical, buzzword-combining hype-creator. Act like I am the King of the sea. And the land. And the air. Denying even the mere possibility of any greater, shared good. Just imagine.
New! Unique! Exclusive! Copyrighted! Trademarked! Licensed!
Rather… the pathfinder way. As in our personal lives. If cynicism ruled our world, the doors of serendipity would inevitably remain closed. We would not be open to explore and discover, but be fretting our days away. Now we find ourselves bothered with, but not jammed, over missed absences and unwanted presences. We ended stressing ourselves to death with 2 day jobs (and survived the loss of income). We bought a house we didn’t know we needed (although better reasons are imaginable why we bought it). We live the art of the possible life. Not all is regardless some less expected ways of life, some is because of it. Mind: easy it is not.
We live, bounce, struggle, fight, survive, suffer, prosper, thrive, enjoy, recover, stumble more. At times we look back. With amazement. We see the events and what connects them. The achievements once unimaginable. The signs marking beginnings and endings. Growing a beard. We see the choices we made. And we smile. It looks as if there was a plan. But we walk backwards. We reel the string laid in this labyrinth. We grow younger every year. We have much to figure out.
Anger can fuel you. Dissent can too. Don’t let it turn into an endstate, a dead-stop of cynicism as your final destination. Invoke fusion to happen, beyond right, beyond wrong. Open seas rise in front of you all the time. You can set sail. Or stay at home.
A failing clown. No joker.