(Part of a) Manifesto: Fear Dies Here

“Psychology, meet Economics.  Economics, this is Psychology.  You’re both kind of cool you should talk.”

The world is a mess. We don’t deny it. We’re occupying anything and everything including ourselves and love and every other city on the planet.

While occupying everything is a fantastic, amazing, incredible breakthrough it’s just step one. Step two is changing the conversation from what we’re against to what we’re for.

We’ve been complaining for a really long time. But here’s the thing. A complaint is just one half of a whole. The other half is the unvoiced request. Actually  A complaint IS an unvoiced request. You’ve heard that before and nodded wisely haven’t you? So what do we WANT?

“What do I want?”  is one of the most difficult questions any of us attempt to answer. I know this. I’ve been a coach for almost ten years. People just don’t know much of the time. And if they do know they don’t know WHY they want it,  at least not without thinking about it.  Also, I’ve been trying to answer the question for myself for a lot longer than that. The difficulty of answering the “What do I want?” question is the reason Leadership is such a rare and valued quality. A leader knows what they want and they are damn well going to get there too. Even better, what they want is usually something we wake up to wanting as well and what a relief not to have to figure it out anymore. A cause! Woo hoo! Sign me up!

But back to complaints. Complaints are preparatory. We usually see what’s wrong before what’s right. Complaints only get annoying whenthey don’t go away. They only don’t go away when we’re not sure what their flip side is, or we don’t believe WE can get to the flip side, or we want someone ELSE to get to the flip side for us.

It’s time to get to the flip side.

Clearly no one is going to do it for us and I as an unapologetically irrepressible optimist think we’re JUST the people for the job. We’ve got skills, as my daughter would say.

So. What do we want?

If it’s not crippling debt, corporate control and a poisoned earth what is it?

I’m going to take a stab at it:

A safe, warm, dry, reasonably comfortable preferably beautiful and well provisioned life in which we can connect, learn, grow, create, procreate, build, love, experience and experiment; A place in which we can delight.

(Suspiciously like desiring life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness isn’t it? Now, where have I heard that before? )

Anybody disagree? I thought not. I’ve been coaching leaders for years. Getting the vision right is the hardest part. But oh, when the vision is right. When it speaks to a compelling, unifying desire oh, that is marvellous to behold. Once we agree on the vision then stand back. That’s when the infallibly creative human brain in all its glory gets to work, even better if it gets to work in collaboration. That’s when Stuff. Just. Happens.

So if that’s what we want, what EVERYONE wants, why don’t we have it yet?

This is where we all start going Freudian, start citing the baser instincts of human beings, our original sin, our lustful, greedy, violent urges. There are only two problems with that theory.

  1. It’s only partially true.
  2. It sets up the story so that it’s unfixable.

And so, we stay stuck in our complaints because hey, its part true and it’s unsolvable. I mean, we can’t change human nature. Right? Right? So in our helpless fury and despair we start lashing out at the Meanies who are gaming the system and screwing us over. Meanies. Quit it.


But wait!


What if there’s something we’re missing? Call it Jung if you like. What if our shadow self is really not evil incarnate. What if it’s just a leftover strategy from a more brutal time? What if, when we’re safe we don’t actually need or particularly like to employ it. Oh, sure it is there but it only comes out under circumstances of dire need. Circumstances of scarcity and lack.  (Work with me here… what if? Look into your OWN experience.)

If that might possibly be true then we could ask, what about our current world makes it feel like we’re in dire need all the time? Because we sure do seem to have a fair few people who are lustful, greedy and violent.

(to be continued….)

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