Outside the Fishbowl: On Developing Maturity and Character


Did you ever wonder --

  • Why you relate better to some people - employees, bosses, colleagues, friends, neighbors -- and not so well to other people?
  • Why you might struggle with your child as a college student, even though you were very close and very successful as a parent when your child was in elementary school?
  • Why you are succeeding with some of the people you manage at work, and not with others?
  • Why sometimes friends don't last for a lifetime, even though you have shared deeply and really want to stay friends?
  • Why business and government leaders - well for that matter, neighbors and friends and other acquaintances - sometimes fail to behave ethically?
  • Why you (or someone else you know) succeeded at your last job, but after a promotion, you are really struggling?

I am sure that, if you are thoughtful and reflective, you have considered some possible answers for yourself. For instance, you might think that:

  • There are just different types of people, with different values, different needs, different cultures, different intelligences, or different personalities, and that these differences challenge the peace in relationships.
  • There are different jobs that require different talents, and that your promotion moved you beyond your comfort zone.
  • A "live and let live" attitude works best when considering other people's ethical choices.

But why are some people better at navigating these differences. And is there a way of understanding these differences that can help us to be more successful in our day-to-day lives? Clearly, I think so, or I wouldn't be writing this book. I believe that ethical and cognitive and other developmental theories offer ways to increase our successes. That's what Outside the Fishbowl is about. It assumes that more development is better, and so it asks us to "get out of the water" and look back through the glass bowl at our lives. It explains the theory and the theory's stages in ways that help readers to progress through the stages and to help others to do the same. And my personal and professional experiences (and, in fact, the research) show that developing in this way changes everything for the better.

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