All results begin with thoughts. Positive thoughts will breed positive results. Negative thoughts, negative results. It can’t work any other way. Point lesson: “News” about the pandemic, economic issues, marching protesters, reports of violence between police and citizens all leads us to chaos, depression, cynicism, a feeling of victimization, and we are left wondering what can be done. Surviving difficult times requires that we admit they are difficult. Like every crisis, these difficult times will pass. But will we have learned anything?
When in a chaotic state, we must stop, so that we can understand, and then take meaningful, balanced action. People very often want change to take place RIGHT NOW, but it is the other person that must change! This attitude creates dissonance, and usually anger. Certainly, anger can be helpful, and if we stay with it long enough, we may learn something important, clearing new pathways toward improvement, but it can also be divisive and damaging. Balance is needed. While we tend to abhor those things that disturb us, disturbance brings opportunity to grow and learn. If we merely take sides, we make things worse, and if we avoid the conversation, the disturbance will control us.
Extraordinary leaders know that the logical thing to do is not necessarily the right thing to do, if emotions are in the way. Perhaps, instead of merely solving problems, focus should be on listening to what matters most to one another, and working to achieve success for all parties. Perhaps people don’t hear one another because no one is listening. A framework of truth-telling is required, allowing people to share their views, with all listening carefully—not to debate one another but to integrate the differing truths into a shared truth. Listening, deep listening, happens in the gut, requires attention, and is never judging. Once truth-telling is established, the larger culture can move forward, creating profound change.