Radical New Paradigm. Radical Candor. Radical Acceptance. Radical Friendship. Radical Parenting. Radical Transparency. Radical Masculinity. Radical Rest (Huh??). These noun phrases are just a small sample of what seems to be a fascination with the radical modifier these days. Are you noticing it? I am continually seeing it in the media, amongst bloggers and it is a favorite with today’s self-help authors. In a time when even a rather mundane news story can be labeled Breaking News!, maybe it is not surprising that everything we do feels punctuated radically. If we look at the definition of radical, the second interpretation “advocating or based on thorough or complete political or social change; representing or supporting an extreme or progressive section of a political party,” its excessive use is with-out question, no surprise.
Candidly (just regular old candor), I find this word choice disturbing. How about dialing things down a bit? Finding some calm. Engage in candor, friendship, acceptance, and rest without the heat. Not everything is an existential crisis that requires radicalism. Radical Rest? Have we not jumped the shark?
But, at the same time, as I suggest dialing back the extreme approach, given the time of year, it might be worth looking at ourselves from a radical perspective.
The primary definition of radical states, “(especially of change or action) relating to or affecting the fundamental nature of something; far-reaching or thorough.” Many of us take stock at this time of year. You might be assessing the “fundamental nature” of you and all you entail. For me, this assessment is an ongoing practice. And while, I am annoyed seeing so many things radically modified, maybe I (we?) need to consider the radical approach.
What do you consider to be your “fundamental nature?” For me, there is lots of cultural conditioning, lots of how I am supposed to be, act, do etc. Take those and add an assortment of Shaun-developed stuff (good and bad) and that is likely my fundamental nature. Now, I don’t particularly like a lot of the cultural conditioning and certainly the bad Shaun-developed stuff is no good. Where does that leave me?
As I see it, I can do “work.” Maybe make a new year’s resolution, adopt a process or framework and over time maybe I’ll see some change. Or maybe I can choose a different route. Make the choice at this moment to be the man I want to be. To live the life that is here for me to live. To let go immediately of anything and everything that holds me back. Yikes! Certainly, far-reaching, and thorough. Both Scary and Exciting. And, without question, Radical.