The notion of detached interdependence is well captured in the following quotation from Phil Jackson, a professional basketball coach:
“Yet even in this highly competitive world, I’ve discovered that when you free players to use all their resources — mental, physical, and spiritual — an interesting shift in awareness occurs. When players practice what is known as mindfulness — simply paying attention to what’s actually happening — not only do they play better and win more, they also become more attuned with each other. And the joy they experience working in harmony is a powerful motivating force that comes from deep within, not from some frenzied coach pacing along the sidelines, shouting obscenities into the air. [Jackson and Delehanty, 1995, pp. 5-6]
In this quotation Jackson paints two contrasting pictures. In one picture, there is a “frenzied coach packing the sidelines, shouting obscenities into the air.” This image represents what we often think of when we speak of good, hard-nosed leadership. In the other picture, a group of people with large egos have surrendered their egos. They have become internally directed and other-focused. They are highly attuned to one another, and they work in harmony while winning more games. This picture seems like the dream of someone who does not understand the “real” world. Yet we might note that it represents the philosophy advocated by a man who has more National Basketball Association championship rings than he has fingers to wear them on.