Wednesday 14 December 2011

The great opportunity - What used to work well, often doesn’t anymore

I find the following words of Eric Hoffer staggeringly insightful:
“In times of change learners inherit the earth; while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.”

Many political, religious, education and business leaders are trying to live in a world that no longer exists.

How about you?

Once upon a time I could send one email to my databases in several cities and countries and fill a medium sized room for one of my seminars. Recently I have had to almost beg to get people to come and so I invented something else.

Once the baker delivered our bread to the kitchen table via an unlocked back door. Today most of us have to waste time finding a car park and then rub shoulders with stressed people we have never met, in a bland supermarket, all to buy stale bread.

Once I played in the playground free as a bird. Today I need a diploma in occupational health and safety, qualifications in security, and perhaps a lawyer, in order to take my Grandson to the local park.

What use to work well, often doesn’t anymore.

I don’t despair though. We are living in times of great opportunity.

I read much of what Thomas Friedman writes and his article ‘Something’s Happening Here' published in the New York Times on October 11th really caught my eye. Please read it yourself here.

Thomas writes about his views on two big perspectives of our time - one that says today is the time of “The Great Disruption.” The other that says today is all part of “The Big Shift.”

I think like most things in life it isn’t either/or. It’s both/and.

I am of the view that my Grandchildren will look back on this period of history as a great renaissance partly because our children and our grandchildren are creating a new world! The last great renaissance followed a period known for good reason as ‘The Dark Ages”

Today it is fair to say we have a lot of intellectual and other darkness. You only have to turn on your computer or the nightly news to know that. Yet at the same time there is much that is pioneering, breathtaking and truly innovative.

On the 8th December 1980 I was in a car with three colleagues driving from Los Angeles to Newport Beach when the announcement came over the radio that John Lennon had been murdered. I remember it as though it was yesterday and have used the word ‘imagine’ and Lennon’s song to inspire many things in my life.

In 2008 I was fortunate to visit Florence and see Michelangelo's statue of David up close and personal.

I stood for 2 hours without moving, my breath continually taken away by the magnificence of the statue. I wondered at what magnificent imagination Michelangelo must have had, indeed all of the great renaissance artists and thinkers.

These were defining moments in my life, one dark, one full of light. I carry the lessons of both these moments with me into every single day. I imagine each morning and then focus on bringing my art to the world.

We live in times of both disruption and shifts.

When I was a teenager my report cards often carried the words “Ian is a disruptive influence”. I haven’t stopped! I seek daily to be a disruptive influence as I carry out my mission to partner with people to break free from the status quo when same no longer serves. At the same time my hearts desire is to help people to make shifts and accelerate turning possibility into reality.

How about you? Are you a disruptive influence for good?

My wish for you in 2012 is that you will to do your bit to rid yourself of the darkness of the status quo that stains all of our lives. I wish that you will embrace the shifts you need to make to become more of who you are capable of becoming, that one-of-a-kind that each of us is.

We live in times of unprecedented opportunity. What used to work well, often doesn’t anymore. We cannot change the past. We can learn from our past and ensure that we do not let the darker side of our history repeat itself.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

For the sixth consecutive year I am pleased to have again provided an article along with 37 other personal and professional development experts for Gihan Perera’s Expect More ebook.

Please download Expect More from 2012 with my compliments here.

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