AGS Saturday Seminar  22 March 2003




Gold, or Love, or Shangri-La - What is "Success"?

Or rather, What do you mean as "success" ?

We had a great time at our Milton Dawes Seminars in November,

but were they "successful" for you?


Four months or so after the AGS November 2002 "Success Seminar Series"

(aka "Milton Down-Under"), a group of participants gathered to  ...


... share recollections of the event,

consider what we can draw from it, and

resolve how to move on "successfully" !


This little collection of notes by Robert does not purport to be at an "official AGS record"; just some personal impressions.  It is in three sections:

  1. What was meant to happen,

  2. What did happen, and

  3. Some Reflections.


Please feel free to dispute and contribute material and recollections.

Robert James.



"1. What Was Meant To Happen - the Agenda"


Like any battle-plan, Robert's Agenda was not followed particularly closely, but for what it's worth, here it is (was):


Recollections from the Seminars

Video snippets.

Discussion of the experiences

How much did we forget?


*** Morning Tea Break ***


What did we like most ?

What was not so successful - Why?

How would we do such things better in future?


Admin matters: Finance, Venues, Promotion

Materials, Time and Travel, "Corporate Identity"


*** *** Lunch *** ***


Some personal philosophies, experiences and case-studies


A "mainstream Success Program" - Covey's "Seven Habits"

Other notable "Success" writers, teachers and practitioners

Why gs - What does it particularly have to offer?


*** AfternoonTea Break ***


Plenary Session - Shared Reflections

What do we remember from today?

Was it (why?) important for me?

How can I use it in future?




2. "What Did Happen"


The Institute generously funded the production of a video tape record of the November Seminars.  David has been strenuously working to have it edited and polished to produce quite a nice three-hour product to work with.  


Laurie, Betty and I (Robert) watched the edited video tape in Canberra on January 18 ("the day of the Canberra Firestorm"), and were discombobulated by the amount of material which we had "forgotten" (or not absorbed at the time).  This reinforced the value of having a record to refer back to, and inspired us to include a brief review of it in the March Seminar.


On Saturday, we viewed just small sections of the video, interspersed with discussion, recollections, introspections ("... Oooh - That's not me, is it?") etc.  These were fun and a valuable revisiting of the experience.  We could have spent all day watching the tape and recalling the event, but, alas, we had to be content with snippets.  The tape is available for circulation among members to re-view at leisure.


Urged-on by Robert's anxiety about "the Agenda", we proceeded to consider how effective the Seminars really were in terms of sharing insights and experiences which could really become a useful part of our lives.  We each recalled special moments and personal interactions with a lasting impact.  But was it worth the time, the money, the opportunity cost?  Could we achieve better results another way .. ? 


David's financial management and reporting of the promotional costs and outcomes revealed that newspaper advertising, PO Box leaflets and letter-box drops were not very effective at all.  The only promotional effort with worthwhile success was via personal contact.


There were differences of opinion on how effective the Seminar Series was in terms of a promotional vehicle for introducing g-s to potential new members, or for assisting lasting change in the lives of "the converted".  However, all agreed that Milton's serene demeanor and sparkling engagement with life and culture, were a pleasure to share and an inspiration to guide our g-s living and teaching.


*** * ***

After lunch, we considered a "mainstream Success program" - the "Seven Habits of Highly Effective People" by Stephen Covey.  We were impressed not only with Covey’s “packaging”, but with his use of expressions like

          "The map is not the territory" and

          "If you want small changes, work on your behavior –

            If you want quantum-leap changes, work on your paradigms."

Doesn't this sound rather like the "P1-T1" diagram"? 


We compared "P1-T1" against Thoreau's statement:

          "For every thousand hacking at the leaves of evil,

            There is but one hacking at the root!"  

Is the metaphor more effective than the diagram, in building awareness of this fundamental principle?  Who knows, but it was sobering (and fun!) to wonder about it and share ideas.


We considered Covey's assertions regarding the "Character Ethic" vs the "Personality Ethic", the "Power of the Paradigm", and "Principles vs Values".  Our time ran out before we got into "personal case studies", arguably the main objective of today's Seminar! 


The "Personal Paradigm Shift" exercise was left as homework, and we moved into Reflection Time to finish-up.


3. "Some Collected Reflections and Resolutions"


From the November Seminar Series:

          "I got what I wanted, and I got what I was afraid of."


          "Didn't really show us how we can enhance g-s in Australia"


          "I can operate more flexibly at the non-verbal level than at the verbal level."


          "Perhaps I'll try to use more

          "could" (a matter of potential) instead of

          "should" (a matter of judgement)

          from now on."


          "The drumming was awe-inspiring"


          “I loved the ‘non-verbal experience’ walks.”


From today:

          "Fun to organise,

          Rewarding to facilitate with such a rad group, and, as usual,

          Frustrating but gratifying that participants become excited and introduced ideas beyond the scope of the Agenda".


          "We're holding the key already; It's about time we used it in the lock!"


          “I think we raised more questions than answers!”


Things to do:

          Forward our financial reporting and promotional analysis to the Institute.


          Write papers addressed to the need for eg:

              ... "Introduction to G-S",

              ... "Stress Management for HSC students",

              ... "Bullying in Schools".

              ... etc.


          Consider always, how to use g-s to build your own concept of "Success"

          in personal, family and community life.


          Come along to David's Seminar: "Problem Solving" on April 13th.

" ... improve your problem solving skills. Develop your ability to cope with errors. And enhance your creativity via the use of GS formulations. We will also do a little 'time-binding' from other disciplines."




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