I find there to be a sizable tendency in our modern culture for reaching for fixes while the solution we seek is right before us. One example is that the majority of online publishing nowadays is geared to serving up article after article with lists: twelve tips for losing weight, eight steps for motivating employees, six pitfalls to avoid, and so on. These types of articles draw us in, break issues down into bite-sized morsels, and give us the impression that if we follow a linear progression of tackling one step, then another, and then another, that we’ll reach our desired destination.
The problem with this approach is that it keeps us rooted in a linear mindset, which is inherently intellectually based.
We humans are arguably the most intelligent of animal species on the planet. We have great minds capable of amazing powers of analysis, and we also have opposable thumbs, which enables us to create technology. So why is it that we continually war with one another, deplete the eco system at rates far faster than nature can replenish, enslave and oppress people, and put our faith in systems that consistently let us down?
Could the answer be that we are relying too heavily on our intellect?
The Solution is Before Us
Indigenous culture teaches us many things that are directly applicable to the world of business and commerce, and there are a few consistent threads that run among them. Principally is the invitation to feel our way through situations, to tap more deeply into our intuition and connection to “Spirit,” and to follow the path of the heart. Fortunately, we’re beginning to hear more about the importance of heart-based leadership, and yet the challenge in this is that it’s uncomfortable to do.
Following the heart means that we have to fully feel whatever it is we’re feeling, which may not be easy at times, because not everything we feel is necessarily pleasant. So we tend to want to avoid the unpleasantness of feeling all that comes up for us, and instead to reach for “fixes” that are intellectually based, because it’s easier. A friend and colleague of mine shared with me some months back the slogan of, “Easy now, hard later. Hard now, easy later.” I think this is a very concise way of speaking to the malaise of our social culture that is very often spoiled by too much connection to high sensory input technology, creature comforts, and instant gratification in myriad forms. We have an app for everything, a pill for any symptom, and a drive-through window seemingly within every mile of paved road.
The Indigenous Elders teach us to stay close to nature and to feel her influence; if it’s cold, to be cold, if it’s hot to be hot, if we’re hungry to try and be with the hunger. By doing so we train ourselves to adapt to any challenge with ease and grace, and condition ourselves to be more willing to face into the un-comfortableness that comes with heart-centered decision-making and true innovation. The solution that is right before us is to feel, and by feeling we will be more able to delve deeply into the abyss of uncertainty, and by embracing the abyss of uncertainty we will transcend the ordinary and the analytical to discover the breakout creative solutions that feel right to us.