In Ancient Greece, Metanoia was a shadowy goddess. She follows in the wake of the handsome Kairos, the god of Opportunity. Yet her presence sheds light on a key component of generative learning.
Kairos is the god of Opportunity, young, strong, and handsome. He carries a set of balancing scales and wears wings on his feet.
His image reminds us:
➣ Opportunity never gets old.
➣ Opportunity appears in fleeting instants.
➣ Timing is everything.
Metanoia follows in his wake, shadowy and sorrowful. When she speaks, she identifies herself as a harbinger of punishment and regret, the price that must be paid when a moment is missed or seized incorrectly.
➣ Sews regret
➣ Inspires repentance for missed opportunities.
But Metanoia also holds promise for those who miss the opportunity.
Opportunities are fleeting after all.
Many will miss them at first.
Thanks to Metanoia, we are encouraged to reflect and transform.
“Metanoia is a reflective act in which a person returns to past event in order to see it anew. In metanoia, feeling and intellect collaborate in creating new knowledge and perspective.” - Kelly A. Myers.
Metanoia, therefore, expands the opportunities in the concept of Kairos.
Kairos is adaptive learning: responding to the current opportunity and learning how to grab it.
Metanoia is generative learning: responding to missed opportunities and increasing our capability to grab them next time.
They work hand-in-hand. Kairos is about taking decisive action to grab opportunities. Metanoia cannot be established unless that action has been taken. The ability to grab the next opportunity cannot be improved unless we reflect on the missed opportunity.
It’s like driving a car
We don't say we can drive a car if we've only ever succeeded in doing it once.
Developing capability means developing the capacity to reliably produce results.
Learning to drive comes from driving regularly, paying attention to mistakes, and focusing on what you can improve next time.
The concept of Metanoia shows that the key to learning as a process "lies in our personal journey of reflection, experimentation, and becoming more open." - Peter Senge.
This is where we'll begin our battle against the four horsemen of the work culture apocalypse.