The mystery of life isn’t a problem to solve — Tom McCallum

Tom McCallum
3 min readMar 25, 2022

The mystery of life isn’t a problem to solve, but a reality to experience

A process cannot be understood by stopping it. Understanding must move with the flow of the process, must join it and flow with it.

Frank Herbert, Dune (1965)

In working recently with a client, a thought emerged from them that will be of huge import to the future of their company, around having the need to have crisp clarity on the path forwards into the future for a certain aspect of the business. From this, their recognition was of the importance of having a clear position understood by all and so used to guide strategy and planning.

So far, so normal, then we explored this from different angles for a time. What we were talking about had many variables, levels, complexities, ambiguities, so no one answer was ever going to come through in a single conversation. However, a breakthrough came when I remarked that the real and huge strategic value of their thinking was simply in the need to develop that clear position, not in coming up with an answer quickly or even in that first conversation.

Sometimes the questions we ask are more important than what is often the default among corporate leaders, which is to come up with the answers quickly. Often it is far more valuable (particularly in a larger organisation) to allow clarity to emerge through a process rather than seek a quick answer themselves.

After this client conversation, the quotes above from one of my favourite books came back to me. The first part of the quote is best known: “the mystery of life isn’t a problem to solve, but a reality to experience”.

Taking the corporate leadership parallel, where a CEO or other leader poses a question to the organisation, there is real power in them demonstrating their confidence and trust in their people that the answer will emerge.

Now, later in the same passage in the book comes this: “ A process cannot be understood by stopping it. Understanding must move with the flow of the process, must join it and flow with it.

So, when we have a leader trust their people to come up with the answer, the next part is giving them a process to work with in order to…

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Tom McCallum

Sounding Board for Visionary Leaders ready to make a Massive Impact. Daily posts here, or https://tommccallum.com/newsletter-sign-up/