, ,

Changing the Picture

One of the ways I know when issues people are facing become commonplace is when I hear the challenge being articulated a number of different ways.

  • We read stories about the “enthusiasm gap” among various parts of the electorate.
  • My foreign-born friends tell me about the “stale energy” they feel when visiting the US and how other parts of the world, particularly Asia, are the new vibrant spots.
  • My neighbors bemoan the lack of community and how difficult it is to get people involved in addressing local issues.
  • My clients feel at a loss at how to create meaningful and professionally satisfying work.

All of these complaints point to the same thing—many people feel stuck, trudging through a life that lacks the fun and joy they had hoped would be there.

A New Picture: A New Way Forward

Change is hard because people overestimate the value of what they have–and underestimate the value of what they may gain by giving that up. – James Belasco and Ralph Stayer (Flight of the Buffalo)

Moving forward requires us to change the pictures we hold in our minds. Like many of our preconceived notions,many have no idea how these ideas got there and cannot imaging living life without them. If we let go of the thought that says more is more—more work means more money to have more stuff that requires more money which means more work—what could possibly replace it? Is there anything else other than the accumulation and wielding of power and money? Perhaps some of those things we want in our life are not really things at all. If we stopped believing we need a bunch of stuff, our identity as Americans would be significantly altered.

I recently overheard a store clerk in the Heathrow Airport tell the person ahead of me in line at the airport gift shop, “You Americans may have more money than us, but we are happier.”

To help us in our quest to escape the feeling of being stuck, remember Einstein’s warning that the significant problems we face cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them. Einstein asserted that we cannot continue to do the same things over and over again and expect different results. If we are not as energetic and enthusiastic about our lives and our civic and and public engagement, perhaps we need to face our fears around doing things differently. In order to move forward it will indeed mean letting go of what we thought we wanted in order to have what we truly want.

By approaching life in a new and different way, we we will become the leaders who can show others that there is indeed another way of being.

Leave a Comment

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply