I fell in love with learning later in life so as a result I was often found with my head in a book. Whilst working as a consultant on human leadership and peak performance, my boss said to me. ”Martin, you know lots more ‘stuff’ than I do because you’re always reading, but the few things I know very well, I apply to lots of different scenarios.”
From that day forward I set forth on a quest to uncover knowledge that could carry the human race to the next level. Years later, after much searching and study, of whittling away the superfluous and adding the necessary; I eventually uncovered what we most need to understand in order to transform our lives and the world. The knowledge, the challenge and the limitation, are the three essential ingredients.
The knowledge is that there is a universal life cycle that applies to everything. Our outer world is a merciless reflection of our inner world, not in some abstract sense; but literally. If I tell you a story, you’ll create a movie inside your head. Now we have televisions and movie theatres.
Our brain is complex and adaptive like the internet. Our evolutionary and biological life cycle is expressed in everything we do. Our relationships, businesses, the economy, all follow this same path. Once understood, we can begin navigating the path more effectively.
The second ingredient is the challenge. Our society is in the adolescent stage and it’s time to grow up. This age is characterized by 2C behaviours which are controlling and conforming. It seems we’re either trying to be in control or conforming to some hierarchical structure. And right now technological advances and human potential for self development, collaboration and creativity are already colliding into the systemic limitations of our 2C world.
The current form of capitalism doesn’t appear to be solving the world’s problems; it wants to make a business out of them, which just ensures their perpetuity. We want to move towards a 3C world in which we’re connected, collaborative and able to contribute to the whole. Free to pursue our life purpose with passion and mastery; making the world a more socially just, environmentally sustainable and fulfilling place to live.
The final ingredient is the limitation of fear. Fear begins with a question: “Will I be okay?” When we ignore the question the fear grows, attacking us just when we least need it. Like all lessons in life, challenges are repeated over and over until we either collapse and disappear overnight or truly ‘get it’. This is evolution at work and we ignore it at our peril.
There are seven fears we have to master if we want to transform to the next levels of economic, ecological and spiritual prosperity.
Accept reality.There is so much cognitive dissonance in society resulting from the conflict of values between the ‘business as usual’ approach and how we really want the world to be. When we accept the reality that it is up to each and every one of us to make a difference, then we’ll be more motivated to get on with it.
Letting the other person be right.No one group or person has a handle on what’s happening next or how to solve every challenge. To compete for the position of being the font of all knowledge and in control is delusional. We evolved personalities so that we could play to our own strengths and adapt to increasing complexity. Recognising and allowing others do the same is a sign of enlightened leadership.
Letting go.The ego is scared of only two things. Not getting what it wants and paradoxically getting what it wants. Once it has something it values at the societal level, be it sex, salary, status or security, it will not want to let go. But life, fortunes and seasons ebb and flow. Sometimes we have to let go of old systems, knowledge and lifestyles if we want to refresh. Evolution moves continuously forward bringing us new wisdom and feedback. We have to let go of what doesn’t work if we want to evolve, but it’s like having an identity crisis and it scares us.
Defencelessness.We become so busy building walls around our ideologies, institutions and ourselves against our fellow human beings that we miss out on all the love, diversity and wisdom that is out there. It’s time to break down some walls, both outwardly and internally.
Stopping.The default setting for people is to keep on doing what they are doing now. The majority are comfortably uncomfortable in their comfort zones. They know that something is bothering them. It might even be a lot of things; but they just can’t seem to stop supporting the very systems which inhibit their personal freedoms.
The Unknown.Remember being asked: “What do you want to do when you grow up?” Well we’re there again. Just as you didn’t have enough life experience as a child, nor do you have it now. We have no idea what’s going to happen over the next five years, this is where faith matters. Not to some outside institution but in yourself and humanity.
Transformation.It’s often said that people are afraid of change. That’s a myth. People change all the time to stay in the same place, easing their conscience by making small adjustments. People change jobs, change politicians, change the channel, change their minds; all of which negates them from doing the hard work of transformation. Until you shift, society is stuck.
We’re all a product of our environment, but we don’t have to remain a victim of circumstances. Nobody said saving the world was going to be easy. But actually it starts with you…
Martin Murphy is a performance coach http://www.theperformanceconsultant.com