People come to my workshops because they are looking for something more in their lives. They sense there is something more but they just don't know what it is. Most have been sold the story that happiness lies in getting a good career, making a lot of money, owning lots of things, earning a good degree and holding down a secure job until one day they realise that they have got all that and they still feel there is a big nagging hole in their lives. It is not an unusual feeling. The thing that has really struck me is that I am getting more and more young people coming to the workshops now. I can tell you there are huge numbers of young corporate men and women around 29/30years old who are really miserable. They have played the game, they have done what they were told to do to be successful and they don't want what they have got. Their whole life has been designed around their own "needs" as defined by who? They just dont get it.
It was an intuitive decision rather than a well thought out strategy to start my workshops by asking
"What kind of world do you want to live in?"
I am always faced with the same response and I am still suprised. A deafening silence! This is not a question that many of us have considered. It is not a question that is floating around schools or coffee shops with discussions of what college should I apply to or where will I spend my Gap Year? Maybe we feel powerless to have impact on the rest of the world, maybe we are too "me" focussed, maybe it is just too big a question. It seems that we (and I include myself in this) rarely take the time to consider the impact of our personal visions on the rest of the world. I have a strong feeling that it is urgent that we begin now to ask these questions of ourselves.
I am not suggesting that we don't care when situations arise...look how many of us drag ourselves off to a demonstration when a cause arise or a march against soemthing like Iraq.
Perhaps there is another way. Perhaps things have only escalated to that level because we, as citizens of this world, have given up the day to day thinking about "the world"- our world.
I believe it is only by creating a vision of the world that we want that we can begin to understand where we are going and the principles and values behind our personal decisions. As Laurence Boldt said..."it is up to each of us to determine the cornerstone principles upon which our society stands and determine for ourselves the kind of society we will create". I believe we can only do this by taking these "world vision" questions back from the TV and media hacks, back from the academics and get them right into the middle of the living rooms. Have these questions floating around the cafes and when people meet on the street. For too long these questions have just been the domain of the academics and the TV bosses.
These are our questions. They are questions that challenge us to think about our own values and actions. They are questions that help us determine our life choices.It is only when we begin to see a picture that is bigger than our own little world that we can position ourselves in the whole scheme of things. We can extricate ourselves from the fear culture and imagine how things just might be. We can create leaders who really represent us and our values.
If we are "to be the change we wish in the world" as Ghandi said then we must know what it is we wish for. To know that we must explore our own thought about the world, we must talk to each other about it, we must educate our kids to consider these questions...to not see them as TOO BIG nor to give programmed responses.
" A man's value to the community primarily depends on how far his feelings, thoughts and actions are directed toward promoting the good of his fellows" Albert Einstein