The real fundamental changes in societies have come about not from dictates of governments and the results of battles, but through vast numbers of people changing their minds.
Willis Harman, Futurist.
I am in what you might loosely call ‘the human potential business’ i.e. I work with people, organizations and communities and my sole task there is unleashing potentials. Perhaps because I am on the ‘people are amazing’ side of this human story, I often get asked about the opposite- about the horrific things people can do to themselves and others.
From Kathmandu to Oslo, Delhi to London- wherever I have worked in the past few years people are voicing concerns about issues like terrorism, Trump, suicide rates and human trafficking. I was once leading an Innovation Lab at an IT company and the timing was such that is turned out to be the day after a terrorist attack. A day long conversation that was supposed to be about innovation, vitality in business and staying ahead of the curve quick (and inevitably) became a conversation about humanity, violence and whether as a world we will manage to overcome this culture of anger we seem to be living in.
A TRICK OF THE MIND
Self and world are inseparable
We think about the world as though the conversation about innovation and business is unrelated to the conversation about violence and wellbeing. At the heart of all of this is the human being and at the most fundamental level, both business and world are asking the same question:
Are we as human beings selling ourselves short by staying stuck in an organization/world/life that is violent, intolerant and afraid? And is there a way out of this mess?
Every conversation about ethical business, racial equality, sustainable living, safer neighbourhoods and the future of the planet is really asking:
is there a way to live, work and govern that unites rather than divides, inspires rather than frightens, renews rather than destroys, and allows the fullest expression of this sparkle that is the human spirit?
While these look like questions about the world- about the systems and cultures at work in the world- really, these are questions about ourselves: is there a way for you and me, as individuals, to live, work and govern that is free from fear and open to insight?
THE BLINDSPOT IN COLLECTIVE CHANGE
The future of everything we care about hinges on us being able to illuminate this blindspot
The fundamental shift needed in our organizations, community and world is not an external one but an internal one. All the problems we face personally and as a country (or world) are problems that invite us to dig a little deeper and uncover the true source of human behaviour.
There is an internal lens through which we see reality and there is a direct causal relationship between how I think, how I see the world and therefore what role I will play in it.
- Without changing the hearts and minds of individuals in your team, family or organization, there is no way to create sustainable momentum forward
- Without being willing to change your mind, there is no way to create sustainable, breakthrough change in your life
There is no way to address the challenges we face as an organization, a nation or a world that does not consider the inner workings of human beings and answer the question: how do we upgrade the mental infrastructure of people?
In this dimension of the human infrastructure is the secret to all the innovation, resilience and heart we need to move forward into a healthier, happier, more prosperous future.
Ultimately self and society are inseparable. The individual and society, self and world are inseparable. Seeing this link between the individual and the mechanisms at work within individual human beings and the world we ultimately collectively create is the beginning of miracles for families, organizations and communities.
I will be continuing this conversation at Women’s Economic Forum in India, 3PUK Conference in the UK as well as several locations in Nepal, Singapore, New Zealand and USA this year. Watch the video version of this article and join the conversation at facebook.com/maimoocha.