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Requirements for Success


by Robert Theobald


I believe we are further along in understanding the needs of the new era than we often recognize. I see many promising developments.

However, because of the pluralistic nature of the new era, there is no one right way to list the factors which will and are leading to success.

So the list I'm about to give is certainly not final or complete. Rather, it is my way of sharing a number of patterns which seem to me to be moving out of the fringes and shadows into the foreground of our visions of a good life. They reveal ways we can get there and also ways many of us are striving to live right now.

Some readers may find this list useful as a credo or a repertoire of affirmations. I like to notice how these things are already happening and listen not just to the words, but to the music. I encourage you to recreate this or other such lists for your own individual and collective insight, growth and guidance.

Here's what I see:

  1. We focus on opportunities. Problems dealt with in their larger context can open doorways to opportunity. But focusing too closely on isolated problems limits our vision and obscures the horizon of possibility.
  2. We encourage appreciative, creative, generative thinking. With these, we break out of old mental and emotional "boxes" that limit our sense of possibility.
  3. We place healthy personal relationships right at the center of our significant efforts. We try to build functional relationships with people we've previously considered alien or enemies. Instead of trying to improve bureaucratic efficiency, we work towards effective personal and team decision-making.
  4. We see spirituality as central and we encourage tolerance. We know there are different ways of expressing the same truths. Grounded in our personal spiritual reality or chosen tradition, we realize both the importance and the inevitable diversity of deep spirituality in any healthy culture.
  5. We are committed to using such values as honesty, responsibility, humility and love as a compass. With such values we believe people of goodwill can disagree without fear of reprisal, agree without generating conformity, learn from their differences and discover common ground.
  6. We are moving beyond dichotomized thinking, which has acted as a barrier to deep understanding and creativity. The best is often the enemy of the good; extremes can crowd out the most perceptive voices and workable alternatives.
  7. We accept that everything is connected and know that our sense of reality is molded by our personal and group perspective in an effort to make sense of our unique situation. We no longer assume that we can develop complete, objective pictures of "reality."
  8. We try to understand and honor personal, relational and ecological limits - and even unknowable, critical thresholds - since pushing beyond them causes major difficulties.
  9. We acknowledge and empower competence based on knowledge, skills, abilities, wisdom, perspectives and experience. Everyone has competence needed to make a positive difference in the world.
  10. We recognize that strengths always carry weaknesses with them and vice versa. Understanding and creatively using and balancing diverse strengths and weaknesses can help make our activities successful.
  11. We are learning that we can make progress together to the extent we control our ego needs and grow beyond them.
  12. We encourage people to know for themselves and to pursue their perceived self-interest within a context of respect for community, values and nature. We trust that people already have a natural impulse to do this, which we can encourage.
  13. Naturally, since we are unique, we interpret and react to the world in highly diverse ways. We find many different viewpoints valid and useful. We can co-exist and co-operate to the extent we welcome diversity and become active, careful listeners.
  14. We realize our collective intelligence and the possibility of developing it. Our ability to see, think, respond and create together depends largely on how consciously and creatively we use our diversity to learn from disturbances, problems and changes.
  15. We realize we actively participate in whatever happens next by the mere fact of living our lives as we do. We believe that the direction of our culture's evolution depends, to an unparalleled degree, on what each of us does in the next few years.

from Thinkpeace Issue 40/41, Vol X, No 1&2, August 10, 1994