Sunday, January 03, 2010

Conversations with Calliope- Harnessing the Power of Creativity

Sliding Otter News
January 2, 2010
Volume 2, Issue 1

Harnessing the Power of Creativity

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.
Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. ~ Margaret Mead

As January starts, many of us look forward to possibilities for the New Year. I know I do after all the disappointments of the past year. I agree with President Obama that if we all put our minds together we can do great things.

It sounds good in theory but doesn’t seem so easy to put into practice. Could we all spontaneously decide to work together for a change rather than pitting ourselves against each other?

My chief frustration lately has been our pattern of using most of our energy to fight with each other on state, national and international levels. I wonder what would bring us together for the betterment of our world community. Lately it doesn’t seem possible that we can all agree on anything. We seem to want what is best for us as individuals without concern for each other’s needs. We don’t seem to realize that taking what we want at someone else’s expense sets us up for conflict.

Not too long ago I read H.L Mencken’s Notes on Democracy. His writing was not familiar to me but I liked the title and hoped he might have some ideas about working together. After looking at the possibilities from many angles, he concluded that only about twenty percent of us are capable of thinking and the rest prefer to be led along like sheep.

I found his conclusions cynical and refused to accept his opinion. With time, I have come to see that he might not be far from the truth. Maybe it is not possible for all of us to work together. Perhaps the best we can hope for is the small group of thoughtful, committed citizens to which Margaret Mead refers. Good ideas come and go and some transform our society.

Should we just wait for the next generation of creative geniuses to arise? We could but maybe there is something we can do while we are waiting. Twenty years ago Steven Covey wrote The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. His habits are ways to get our lives moving toward worthwhile goals.

Here are the habits he suggests: Take responsibility for our own lives. Know what is important in our lives. Act in ways consistent with the first two habits. Think of ways both sides can benefit from our decisions (win/win). Understand others before expecting them to understand us. Work together to
create new alternatives. Take time to maintain our physical, mental, social/emotional and spiritual energy. Perhaps these new habits won’t change the whole world but they will make us more open to appreciating each other’s ideas.

Life Lab Lessons

*See how many of these habits are part of your life.
*If you know what Steven Covey is suggesting, try it.
*If you don’t, read his book.
*If you can help lead, lend a hand.
*If not, get out of the way.

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