Posted by: Susan Hendrich | December 2, 2010

Learning and the Pursuit of Shibumi

“When in doubt about do or don’t, don’t.”

That’s my my new mantra. Almost sounds lazy, doesn’t it? Well, it’s not actually.

It’s all about Shibumi.  That’s spelled, 渋み. And it’s all about editing. Refining. Reducing. Simplifying.

Shibumi: “The ability to achieve the maximum effect with the minimum means” – Rough translation of a Japanese Zen concept

Shibumi is a concept I have been consciously (and even unconsciously) searching for since childhood, although I didn’t know the name for it until recently. The concept of Shibumi refers to a particular aesthetic of simple, subtle, and unobtrusive beauty. It reflects the ability of a person (or organization, or object d’arte) to achieve effortless effectiveness, elegant simplicity, and the height of excellence.

There are five key steps to reach shibumi:

  1. commitment
  2. preparation
  3. struggle
  4. breakthrough
  5. transformation

Read this short and insightful article if you want to learn more: Learning and the Pursuit of Shibumi – Chief Learning Officer, Solutions for Enterprise Productivity.

Susan

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