Monday, March 06, 2006

Katrina and passivity--it is time to get active!

As we all know the debacle of Hurricane Katrina and her aftermath has left New Orleans devastated and many of us sitting by wondering--how did our systems get so ineffectual?

Recent reports as to what went wrong at all levels--federal, state and local governments have been posted and what stood out to me was a headline that said "Katrina Failure: Too little Initiative and too much Passivity".

The word 'passivity' hit me like a bullet. The Choosing Continuum talks about the 0-5 and the 6-10 side of how people deal with problems. On the 0-5 side, people respond to problems with a reactive, passive, unconscious, victim pattern. On the 6-10 side people respond to problems with a proactive, self-responsible, conscious, empowered pattern. What the report on Katrina showed is that most of the people dealing with Katrina at one level or another were 0-5 reactive and passive!

For the 10 years I've been teaching Life Puzzle, I've been well aware and audiences have consistently confirmed that most people respond to life in a 0-5 pattern. And I've shared that most of us do this because we're raised in a culture of systems that are also 0-5. For example, our medical system is a wait til it's broke then fix it, as are our schools, businesses etc. Audiences shake their heads in concurrence and I then ask, "Do reactive system create reactive people or do reactive people create reactive systems?" As the audience mulls this over for a minute or two, it become obvious that they create each other. It is a chicken and egg question because reactive people create reactive systems and then reactive systems reward people for staying reactive--and passive which just maintains the system!

But until Katrina I don't think any of us realized how extreme (and deadly!) this had become in our United States. I sit here in shock as I write this and just want to stand on a soap box and scream "This has got to stop!". But really it isn't about stopping 0-5--what I want to say is it time for all of us to start moving towards the 6-10. There isn't any more time to waste! And you can't wait for 'systems' to start rewarding you for this--you just have to do it!

I know this is difficult in the first step. We are so used to "doing what everyone else is doing" but as we've seen with Katrina, this is a recipe for disaster--personal, family, and community! Having the courage to say "time to do something different" isn't that hard when put in that context. You need only start with your own life--look at a few of your Life Puzzle pieces--nutrition, exercise, financial responsibility, work and get active, self-responsible. Be different and lead others!

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