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:
- 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.
- We encourage appreciative, creative, generative thinking.
With these, we break out of old mental and emotional "boxes"
that limit our sense of possibility.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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."
- We try to understand and honor personal, relational and
ecological limits - and even unknowable, critical thresholds
- since pushing beyond them causes major difficulties.
- 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.
- 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.
- We are learning that we can make progress together to
the extent we control our ego needs and grow beyond them.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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
from Thinkpeace Issue 40/41, Vol X, No 1&2, August