I attended the first in the new series of events for the Centre for Confidence and Well Being’s Ideas Academy last week, entitled “Whatever the Problem, Community is the Answer” led by Margaret Wheatley.
The day kicked off with an introduction from Carol Craig who talked about Scotland’s deeply unequal society – the same levels of inequality seen in Scotland in 1854. She told tales of people growing up in Scotland knowing everyone is equal and no one is better than anyone else, recurrences of the old “who does she think she is?” attitude, and “us Scots are brought up to believe we are all a bit worthless until we prove otherwise”. Carol introduced her new project Post cards from Scotland which looks promising and compliments Snook’s Dearest Scotland venture.
Carol noted the clear distinction between enablers and doers in Scotland and urged the audience to think about how they can come together. How can we celebrate positive emotions, strengths and goodness?
Margaret Wheatley asked the audience some fantastic questions: Who is encouraging you to fulfil your potential? How often do you feel overwhelmed and distracted? She suggested we are devolving as a species and slowly loosing the capacity to reason and care because we are being manipulated and not taking time out to think. We are not senseless machines – we must tune into our emotions and our senses -despite them being referred to as hippy shit, ooeey wooeey, kumbya moments, soft and touchy feely…
“There is no power greater than a community discovering what it cares about”
Margaret talked about young people not being able to think about the future and this really struck a chord with me- this is something we are coming across time and time again! Aspiration is such a vital thing – what the greatest recession has done to family life ”A craving for a simpler, slower, more centered life, one less consumed by the soul-emptying crush of getting and spending, runs deep within our culture right now” by Judith Warner
“Our greatest resource to get through difficult times has, until lately, been neglected. It is community, the web of our interconnections, the safety net of caring that we extend to one another when life is hard. We are now coming to realise that humans only persevere through difficulties when we’re truly together. It is time for us to relearn how to live and work together based on values of relationship, interdependence and interconnectedness, and for leaders to re-imagine their role as supporting the work of others: to convert from Hero to Host.”
The future is not about training, analysing, collecting data or reporting – it’s about creating conditions where people can come together. It was heartening to listen to Margaret share profound phrases and insights with us yet when I talked to those around my table I couldn’t help but think they were searching for practical, realistic ways to get themselves through the chaos they were battling in their daily work.
Another thing I learned was that deep and respectful listening that builds community takes time, you listen with every part of your being. When was the last time you listened like that? I dare you to become “a warrior of the human spirit …”