Lesson 2: Building Parallels Between Relationships

by Kevin

parallels“The Way of the warrior does not include other Ways, such as Confucianism, Buddhism, certain traditions, artistic accomplishments and dancing. But even though these are not part of the Way, if you know the way broadly you will see it in everything. Men must polish their particular Way” – Miyamoto Musashi

Miyamoto Musashi was one of the most brilliant swordsmen who ever lived. In the quote above he mentions that “if you know the way broadly, you will see it in everything.” To me this means that if you can reach a deep understanding in one area of life, then you will be able to see and understand it in all other areas. This is the reason why the concept of building parallels is so important to not only learning, but also to life. Musashi was talking about the importance of depth in relationships and how the deeper the relationship, the deeper the parallels you are able to build.

In lesson 1 we talked about how a relationship is simply an exchange of value. This means if you can exchange value with it then you can build a relationship with it. 

Simply put: Everything = Relationships

This also means that everything can be paralleled through an understanding of relationships.

  • Biology: Relationships involving life
  • Chemistry: Relationships involving Elements/compounds
  • Math: Relationships involving numbers
  • People: Relationships involving emotion

It is important to understand that human beings are creatures of habit and patterns. Building parallels is really just looking for patterns between these different relationships. This is naturally how we think and learn. This explains why when looking at the clouds, or a rock face, you may see other patterns, shapes, faces, etc.

Here’s the video for Lesson 2. Check it out and let me know what you think in the comment section below.

Application of building parallels:

  • Business Parallels:
  • Business is about creating value for your business. If you have a deeper understanding of business you may be able to build parallels to create more value in other areas of your life by using these paralleled business strategies. Example: You could take a system for creating wealth in a business, and build the parallels to find a way to create more value in another skill set.

  • Nature parallels:
  • Nature is an amazing example of self-sustaining system, systems with no waste. If we can build the parallels from these self-sustaining system to recreate similar systems in our lives, we may be able to create even more value or less waste. Bio Mimicry is a great example of how we already use biology to build parallels in the systems we use in our every day lives. Example: You could break down the way a cell may divide and replicate and build the parallels to potentially help an idea spread and develop.

  • Video Games:
  • Video games are a great example of simple structures and systems designed to recreate specific elements of life. Someone could take their deep understanding of these systems to create and build parallels to their real life to create similar systems that may create similar value. Example: You could take the systems for motivation, achievements and problem-solving into your life to “level it up”.

  • Skill set development:
  • By understanding the principal nature of skill development, you can build the parallels from one skill that you have already developed to understand how you might achieve a similar level in another skill by simply building the parallels between the two.

Consider the following skills and examples of parallels between the skill sets:

  • Basketball
  • Soccer
  • Dance
  • Music
  • Math
  • Socializing

All of these skills are very different, yet they have a similar process when looking at the development of each of these skills.

  • Learning – When learning any skill we find that the parallel between all of them is the focus on the foundation. With all of the listed skill sets, learning the foundation of each is the most important.
  • Practice – After learning of a skill set, practice must occur to further the development of each skill. This is a necessary part of the process that can be seen throughout all of these various skills.
  • Warm up – Before the application of each skill, a warm-up is necessary to ensure the greatest chances of success. Every skill has some type of a warm-up.
  • Application – Every skill needs to be applied to real life situations in order to actually grow and receive value. Without the application no skill set would ever develop to the point of significant value.
  • Feedback – Getting feedback after the application is another essential part of the process in terms of growth within the skill set.

Lowest Common Denominators (Simplification) is a concept in math that takes an expression and breaks it down into its simplest form. This is the same idea we use when building parallels between skill sets. We look at all of the elements that may makeup a relationship and then attempt to find the commonalities in their simplest forms. These are the principals that govern these relationships.

By understanding the relationship building process in one area of life, you can build the parallels to other relationships you are trying to develop, if, you are able to recognize those parallels. I have found that you can only build parallels as far as the depth you have achieved in the relationship being paralleled.

Depth of Relationships = Depth of Parallels

If you have a shallow relationship, then you will only be able to build the shallow parallels. Example: You may be aware that all sports have some type of a warm-up, but you will not be able to break down and build the parallels to the specifics of the warm-up until you achieve that same depth in that relationship. You will not be able to build the specific parallels to the warm-ups until you have experienced those warm-ups to that depth. It is only then that you would be able to build those parallels to another skill.

“The Way of the warrior does not include other Ways, such as Confucianism, Buddhism, certain traditions, artistic accomplishments and dancing. But even though these are not part of the Way, if you know the Way broadly you will see it in everything. Men must polish their particular Way” – Miyamoto Musashi

We are all good at something, we just have to find the relationships we understand on the deepest level and apply the parallels to the other relationships/skill sets we are trying to develop.

Next lessons:

Lesson 3: Relationships = Math
Lesson 4: Understanding Value
Lesson 5: Human Needs
Lesson 6: Value vs. Relationships
Lesson 7: Coming soon…
Lesson 8: Coming soon…

About Kevin
One of the pioneers of the Social Dynamics movement and co-founder of Kingpin Social, Kevin is motivated to meet new people and eliminate his comfort zones. Kevin is also a passionate dancer, bboy and loves camping.

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Angelo September 17, 2012 at 3:25 pm

Masterfully written and Miyamoto Musashi is a great example. He certainly took the lessons he learned as a swordsman and applied it to other relationships in his life.
I dove into his 21 maxims and embarked in my own self-reflection earlier this year to identify a my personal set of maxims.

I see the very same thing with many martial artists. What we learn during our training transcends past the mat/ring/school to our daily lives. The philosophy I derive from training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu actually influences the way I write. I used to think that it was about catching that creative moment which lead to a stagnant relationship, but I learned that (like Kevin noted) it takes learning ,practice, warm up, application, and feedback.

Mike Shark September 17, 2012 at 10:41 pm

Hey Kevin,

When you brought up different aspects of relationships (warm-up, practice, etc.), I thought that perhaps developing a relationship allows you to different elements between your relationships. For example, you might start to see the importance of “Focus” or “Goals” in each of your relationships. What are your thoughts?

Great video, looking forward to more!

Kevin September 19, 2012 at 12:58 pm

@Angelo – Thank you for the positive feedback bro! Muchly appreciated. I love hearing that you’re able to build the parallels between the skills that you have developed. It’s crazy to think that Miyamoto Musashi was also an architect, an established writer (5 books), as well as an amazing artist! Some of the paintings he has done are unreal!

@Mike – I totally agree with what you’re saying. The different aspects I covered were only 5 examples I thought people may connect with most. Goals and focus are definitely huge. Even the idea that investing is the best way to create value, not just in business but in relationships, or skills, or food, or school, etc. I think that being able to see these parallels and patterns is a great way to learn and develop your mind! Also thanks for the positive feedback dude! 😀

Karim Saleh September 19, 2012 at 5:33 pm

Awesome work Kev! Liked your explanations and am looking forward to the next video 🙂

It is entirely true that the relationship that you develop with anything, you can develop with anything. Some of the best basketball coaches for e.g Phil Jackson used Zen teachings in order to keep his team focused and to build unity amongst his teams. We all know how successful he has been 🙂

Through building a solid relationship with myself, I have been able to understand so much about other people, situations, skill building etc. This is a great way of breaking it down, and I love the quote: it ties it all together.

Keep up the great work!! 🙂

Cam September 19, 2012 at 5:36 pm

The Phil Jackson analogy is money! 🙂

Kevin September 24, 2012 at 10:06 am

Thanks for the positive feedback Karim! That is a great analogy! It’s awesome to hear that you are able to use the positive relationship you have built with yourself to parallel other skills and relationships in your life!

Sergey Raiter October 5, 2012 at 8:56 pm

Loved the Musashi quote, I am his biggest fan. Relationships between people are very complicate thing. Most of the time though we just isolate value takers, instead of making them an enemy. Well, infinitive value taker is an enemy for sure.
For me to react or not is the biggest question. Sometimes, it is important to fight back, but most of the time being nonreactive is the best.

Cam October 6, 2012 at 10:05 am

Hey Sergey. Thanks for commenting! I definitely agree that you should separate yourself from value takers.

Sergey Raiter October 7, 2012 at 1:34 pm

Also, just a thought. People actually strive to a zero value exchange. If I go to a store, I pay for something, the store gets the profits and I am getting the product, so there is some positive value for both of us, but if you subtract it will be close to zero, so every one will get around the same value in return. If there is dis balance of value exchange, than you will get negative reaction from the other side.
For the value takers, I got this idea from Carlos Castaneda. That you can use the value taker to enforce yourself, if you up to the challenge and create a game plan. Value takers actually play an important part in making us stronger with the right approach off course.

Cam October 9, 2012 at 11:04 pm

I really like that idea from Carlos Castaneda. Thanks for sharing Sergey. 🙂

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