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you are not naked until I can say you are

December 7, 2016

Vizini, the giant and Inigo

Vizzini:                   He didn’t fall?! Inconceivable!
Inigo Montoya:     You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

The Princess Bride

We grow up swimming in words and are at any moment at risk of drowning in our own meaning.

Think of words like mother and father. Love and family. Discipline and respect. You and I both know those words. I know they have meaning for you but I do not know for certain what that meaning is.  Words like soon, today, adequate and acceptable are tossed into conversations with barely a thought that between your mouth and my ear their meaning is subject to change without notice or noticing.

A lack of words can make absent that which we do not wish to exist.

I heard a very successful CEO and member of many Boards attribute their success to growing up in a traditional Chinese Malaysian family where all the children were treated equally and subject to the same parental expectations. She was not any different to her brothers. No words were spoken that suggested to her that there was things she could not do or should not do.

Nor was the absence of those words spoken about. She went out into the world like an Empress in her new clothes.

Like the proverbial Emperor, she was surprised to hear the whispers suggesting that she wasn’t behaving the way she should behave. Didn’t she know that women don’t do those sort of things! Unlike the Emperor though, she didn’t begin to doubt herself because she had clothed her self in the certainty that comes from experience. She could and had achieved many things and she knew why and it had nothing to do with gender.

Research suggests that we cannot see something unless we have words that can describe it. Up until now I guess I had thought that would be something that created limits to what was possible in our lives.  Words have helped me to see their absence can sometimes mean those limits are never created which makes anything possible.


If you would like me to come and share with you and your team the benefits that come from my work in the theatre and the experiential learning environments that I create, make me an offer via the Contact Me page.

Here is what some participants have said about their experience with me:

I participated in the Samurai Game workshop Paul facilitated and I highly recommend it. I found it to be an exceptional opportunity to learn more about who you are as a person and how you behave/respond to different situations and events that you have no control over. You think you know how you will behave/respond, […]

Jodie Farthing (Environmental Advisor)

Paul facilitated the Samurai Leadership Challenge with the graduating Bond University 2011 MBA class. Compelled by the Samurai values and continuously challenged by Paul in his role as the unfair and capricious Fate of War, my team & I pushed personal boundaries to acknowledge, adapt and compensate for both self & team limitations. In the […]

Priya Natasen (Project Manager – Supply Chain & Finance)

For more on the Samurai Game you should start here and here.

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