The opportunity to reinvent a system

The scarcity of resources. Climate chaos. Food. Water. Mass poverty. Mass migration. Terrorism. Fundamentalism. Financial oligopolies. Technological oligopolies. There is increasing belief that we might have reach a good point for change and 2020 may be the year that we will remember as the beginning of everything, or at least the year that we globally recognize as the year of a new era apart from the start of a new decade.

Some time ago I got to know the work of Professors Otto Scharmer and Katrin Kaufer, Senior Professors at the prestigious MIT Sloan University in the United States. Otto has developed the "Theory U". Otto and Katrin discuss change from "an ego-system that thinks only of its own well-being to an eco-system that cares about the general well-being, including oneself". The ability to navigate this change therefore becomes the most important skill within leadership, a skill that is critical in situations of disruptive change not only at the institutional level but also at the personal level. The teachers diagnose the symptoms of this ego-system situation as "pathologies" that "divide":

  • The ecological divide - we are depleting natural resources on a massive scale, using 50% more than our planet can regenerate for our current consumption needs. Consequently, a third of the fields for agriculture have disappeared during the last 40 years and the scarcity of fresh water may lead to conflicts over food.
  • The social divide - 2.5 billion people survive on less than $ 2 a day. Despite the campaigns to lift the population out of this situation of extreme poverty, the number has not changed much in recent decades. We also see how the distribution of wealth continues to take place and in the United States the top 1% have more wealth than 90%.
  • The spirit-cultural division - this division is related to the disconnection with oneself, that is, the current “me” and the “me” with maximum potential. This disconnect is revealed by the chilling numbers of depression and burnout. According to the World Health Organization 1 person dies by suicide every 40 seconds.

How to leave the past behind to connect and learn about the possibilities that the future has to offer?

Theory U invites us to practice the "Presencing". Below its principles:

1. Attention follows energy. This means neither more nor less that we must shift the focus from what we want to avoid to what we want to be reality

2. Follow the movement of the "U". Movement refers to the shape of the "U". In order to start the process of ascent from the bottom, first we must descend by opening our mind, heart and will to observe, immerse ourselves in the issues that matter most depending on the situation in which you are; reach the minimum point to reflect; and make the new a reality, take actions even if they are small.

3. Open your mind, heart and will. It is the only way to leave old thoughts behind, empathize in new situations with different eyes and let the new arrive.

4. It goes through the "eye of the needle". As you imagine, nothing big can happen through a needle eye, so everything that is not essential will have to be left behind

5. Transform the three enemies. The enemies are the voice of doubt and judgment (acts against new ideas), the voice of cynicism (acts against the heart) and the voice of fear (acts against the will).

6. Always start "paying attention to the crack". The crack is you, it is your hands, what you feel. Pay attention to everything that makes you feel like the old ends and the new begins.

7. Take the necessary space to make conversations stop being debates and become dialogues of collective creativity. Become a carrier of change

8. Strengthen the sources of "presencing" to avoid the destructive dynamics of "absencing". Strengthen your mind, heart and will not to fall into the thought that there is only one way to do things.

Leave aside old rutines and habits is not easy but all it requires is practice. We want to see change at a collective level but it all starts with what we can control as individuals. If we incorporate these new principles to our lives as individuals we could make a real impact at a collective level.

Do you dare to start practicing the principles of "Presencing" and begin the journey of Theory U towards your future?

For more information visit the website of the Presencing Institute

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