Abandon that which has no future

My friend Hans wrote these words following a workshop we were at last week:

“We should want to abandon that which has no future. We should blow right through mere sustainability. We should desire a world of enhancement. That is what should come next. 

 We should want to expand the options of those who will follow us. We don’t need more dead clutter to entomb in landfills. We need more options.

It needs to happen. It must happen. It is going to happen.”

Can we imagine that?  Does our generation even have the possibility to imagine a world where human activity leads to enhancement?  Where we are expanding the options of our children?

I can imagine that previous generations (and many in the current one) believed that they were enhancing the world and expanding the options for us.  And in some ways they were and they did, but there were a lot of unintended side effects.

One of the enhancements bequeathed us has been a visceral learning on some of the many things that don’t work.

Perhaps this is the test of what we should be doing now and next – Will it expand the options of  all those who follow?  

We are part of an evolutionary cycle.  Survival is not mandatory (to partially quote WE Demming).  Species that prove themselves fit to survive do, those that don’t, don’t.  If we are not enhancing the options for all those who follow, we are already in decline.

The critical word in that sentence is “all”.  Without it we can be deceived into believing that somehow one grouping could survive without the others.  We are already a global community, there is good evidence that we largely spring from just two African parents 200,000 years ago (with a little bit of Neanderthal mixed in).

Our success as a species has largely come about through collaboration.  It has been one of the keys to our evolutionary success.  Our failures as a species have come about through imagining that one person, one tribe, one group, one company or one nation can succeed at the expense of others.

It is time to learn this lesson.

Competition does not need to be destructive.  Competition can be enhancing, the greatest sporting heroes are the ones who have strong competitors not weak ones.

Our own happiness and wellbeing are diminished by the suffering of others, not enhanced by it.

As individuals, companies or countries our fortunes and seldom improved, in the long term, by the failures of others.

I think of all life on earth as being like cells in the body of a single organism.  Each cell has its role to play and if some cells die off the organism as a whole is weakened.  So often we behave as if there is some advantage in the brain winning out against the heart.

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With love

nx

Neil Crofts
authentic business
+34 646391384
neil@neilcrofts.com
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About Neil Crofts

Writer, coach and consultant on authentic business and authentic leadership. Neil has inspired and motivated hundreds organisations and thousands of individuals to their highest potential. Neil has written three published books and numerous e-books. Neil is a coach, facilitator and consultant helping people and businesses find their authentic purpose and use it to inspire and motivate them to be everything that they can be. Neil has raced cars, been self-employed, run a company and sold it, been employed by large companies, experienced growth and contraction at the heart of the dotcom boom, tried changing companies from the inside and from the outside as European Head of Strategy at internet consultancy/rock band Razorfish. Neil has been independent for over 10 years and delivered his Authentic Leadership message to a diverse range of business audiences including people at BP, Shell, Microsoft, Kraft Foods, MSN, Jamie Oliver, South Gloucestershire Council, National Blood Transfusion Service, KaosPilots Business School, Fashion company By Malene Birger, German technology company Eleven.
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One Response to Abandon that which has no future

  1. As usual a thought provoking blog, but this week I disagree (or maybe misunderstand) the absoluteness to which you include everyone in your “in-group”.

    I believe that the majority of destructive competition is unnecessary and caused by a lack of understanding and fear. We should strive to be authentic, create understanding and remove fear; but hand in hand with this we also need to be able to identify when our definition of success is directly contradicted by someone else’s definition. Destructive competition cannot be completely removed unless we take control of the evolutionary process itself.

    “Our success as a species has largely come about through collaboration” I’m not sure that the concept of success can be related to a species. To me this implies that as a species we have a collective consciousness with which to define our criteria for success. If a single member of our species disagrees with this statement, then it becomes false.
    1) My understanding is that evolution is based on a completely random process, which would continue to create people whose goals cover a whole spectrum (and therefore some would contradict with others).
    2) My experience of life is also that many individuals have conflicting measurements for success.
    3) Collaboration (by definition) is only possible within groups of people who share the same goals or definition if success.
    If you accept these premise then conflict (and in extreme cases, destruction) is natural and inevitable.

    The only way to completely stop competition from being destructive, would be for every individual to share the same goal (or at least for no two people to have contradictory goals).
    How is it possible for a species to evolve from being made up of individuals who have conflicting goals to a collective entity that’s success is made up of only compatible goals?
    In my mind this would be a very destructive process indeed, and I’m not convinced the end justifies the means.

    Although this dialogue may seem removed from every day life, I believe the rejection of it significantly limits a persons ability to be authentic. First seek understanding then, if it is necessary, stand up for your integrity.

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