Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Age of the Unthinkable....

Last week I did a presentation to Community College women (staff) who were at their summer conference. The focus was on wellness and managing stress in these chaotic times. I was sharing the Life Puzzle model as an example of living in the present moment while accepting that things are constantly changing. I shared that the Life Puzzle is a framework that enables you to be 'resilient'. As you become accustomed to recognizing that 'adding more pieces' over the course of your lifetime is normal and joyous it gives you the capacity to deal with what comes. This runs contrary to how many of think we're supposed to live--getting our lives fixed, safe and secure--and unchanging.

Coincidentally I was reading a book by Joshua Cooper Ramo, The Age of the Unthinkable. This book discusses the reality that our world is changing so much that what we once thought 'unthinkable'--suicide bombers, the Internet, another great Depression and 7 billion people to name a few--now is all around us. It is a an 'insecure' world and try as we might to apply old ways of addressing these fast changes--what he's discovered is that if we're going to create 'deep-security', we must change the way we see the world. We must give ourselves permission to try new ways of responding. At about page 100 I thought--he's talking about being a Life Puzzle maker!

As I continued reading--I could see that he is confronting the 0-5 side of the Choosing Continuum--the reactive, passive, maintain status-quo world where, frankly, most people live and most of our systems--medical, business, education, law and even our families support and reinforce. And he's saying--that's not going to cut it for our future---it is time to switch directions and become proactive, empowered and self-responsible. In Life Puzzle terms--that means going to the 6-10 side of the Choosing Continuum and building a life that that you create and take responsiblity for--day by day and piece by piece.

Now, of course, this book was addressing the big picture, big systems---like governments solving problems or financial systems redesigning. But remember, those big systems are made up of lots of individual people. If we're going to build what Ramo calls a 'deep-secure' world--it starts with each and everyone of us, individually taking the step into Life Puzzle making.

So, if you ever wondered if it was time to jump out of the 0-5 status-quo and into the 6-10, create your own future---in the Age of the Unthinkable...that time is now! The Life Puzzle gives you a framework on which to do this---a piece at a time with the whole YOU in mind!

I ended my talk at the summer conference with this line--"The only security in life is insecurity--learn to love it". I could see the audience faces scrunching their eyebrows at a phrase that seems to be an oxymoron. I know what they're thinking because the first time I heard this--I rebeled against it and thought--no, that can't be right. But it is. When you really get this, then no matter what stress or change occurs--you realize you can accept and deal with it in the now.

That's what living in the Age of the Unthinkable is saying too. That as much as we might want to try to control the world--a better strategy is to accept that change is all around us and be part of creating the solutions when necessary. For too long we've sat passively by and thought someone else would take care of everything, fix it all and make it safe. But with systems crashing down around us despite billions of dollars invested to prevent any changes--we can now see that this is a false security. If you want to create what Ramo call deep-security--wake up, become resilient (Life Puzzle maker), empower yourself and be ready for whatever changes show up. Because they will be showing up!

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