What's the value of an external perspective?
Let's start with the jam jar analogy.
Imagine a jar of jam. If you're a tiny person standing inside that jar, you can't see the label on the outside. In other words, when you're too close to a situation or too deeply involved in it, it can be hard to have an objective or complete perspective.
In terms of coaching and adaptability, this saying implies that sometimes, individuals might be too engrossed in their own routines, habits, or ways of thinking to recognize the need for change or to see a different perspective. A coach's role can be to act as an outside observer, helping the individual "read the label" by offering insights, alternative perspectives, and strategies they might not have seen on their own. This promotes adaptability by encouraging individuals to step back, re-evaluate, and adjust their approach based on new information or understanding. Which they are simply not capable of through self-reflection alone.
The link to the incompleteness theory…
Kurt Gödel's Incompleteness Theorems from 1931 are foundational results in mathematical logic, with wide-ranging implications for the philosophy of mathematics and other fields. In simple terms, Gödel showed that within any consistent formal system (like arithmetic), there will always be statements that are true but cannot be proven to be true within that system. This means that there are inherent limitations to what can be known or proven within any given system.
Relating the saying "You can’t read the label from inside the jar" to Gödel's Incompleteness Theorems:
- Limitation of Perspective: Just as someone inside the jar can't see its label, any formal system (like arithmetic) has inherent blind spots or limitations. There are truths within that system that it can't "see" or prove by itself.
- Need for External Insight: To understand certain truths or to gain a broader perspective, one might need an external vantage point. Similarly, to prove certain truths in mathematics, one might need principles or axioms outside the original system.
- Adapting to Incompleteness: Recognizing the inherent limitations of any system or perspective is crucial for adaptability. In the realm of mathematics, Gödel's theorems invite us to be humble and open to the idea that no single system has all the answers. Similarly, in life or coaching, recognizing one's own limitations can lead to personal growth and adaptability.
In essence, both the saying and Gödel's theorems highlight the importance of understanding and navigating inherent limitations in our systems or perspectives.