Truly Powerful People (445)

445.
Join me in inspiring truly powerful people. Each day I will add a new thought, story or idea to support your quest and mine.

I’m given to idealism; I know this is true. And, although I’ve harbored serious attempts to cure myself of my idealism, in the end I always come to this thought, “I do not wish to see the world through the eyes of “realistic.” There are too many dashed dreams in this world. There is too much lost hope. Too many people sit in front of the television and think, “There is nothing I can do.” I’ve tried that, too and it works if you can give up any desire for deeper meaning in your life. Numb is numb through and through.

Once, a client wanted to change the culture of his organization. He sought complicated interventions to cure the pathology of his business. He’d fostered a culture of negation; “Yes, but…,” was the standard reply to any request. All he need do was change one word: “Yes, and….” Building a culture on acceptance instead of negation was, to him, pie in the sky. “It can’t be that easy,” he said. He entertained it when I pulled my systems lingo from my pocket: “Complex systems are not changed through complexity. They are changed through local simplicities.” He entertained it just long enough to realize that he’d have to relinquish control and instead empower his employees. “Yes, and,” is surprisingly powerful. Change one word and the world can change. He wrote it off as too idealistic. Negation is negation through and through.

If you want to weep about the abuse of power (control wears a mask and we call it power) read Howard Zinn’s The People’s History of the United States. There is a nasty little theme lurking beneath the economics of the past 150 years of our history: the sale of weapons drives the health of the economy. War is not only profitable, it is necessary to float the boat and to unite an otherwise economically divided nation; we are not the first generation to recognize that 99% are pieces of a larger game; the 1% play a different game governed by different rules. It’s a national theme, a defining characteristic that when married to another defining characteristic – the easy distraction of the 99% – guarantees that future generations of the 99.9% will awake for a moment and say, “Hey! What about democracy and the ideals chiseled into the walls of our monuments! No fair!” Eisenhower warned us and that was a long time ago.

I am not so idealistic as to think that something other than a profit motive will drive our national action plan. I am, however, willing to entertain the pie in the sky notion that peace can easily be more profitable than war. What if we actually set aside our imperialist shadow side and walked our talk? War as we practice it is akin to digging a hole and filling it in again so we can dig a hole – all to wildly support the makers of shovels. I’m not kidding when I assert that the potency of life is found in what you bring to it, not in what you get from it. What do we bring? Numb is numb and negation is negation. Imagining the impossible (idealism) is at the heart of every innovation. Imagine what might be possible if we woke up!

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