I like challenges. I’m in for the big ones, because “I believe as many as six impossible things before breakfast”. This may get you puzzled; don’t worry, you’re not the first. So let me help you: nothing = impossible. It all starts with believing. ‘I have a dream’, and thank god, we all can dream.
Seeing how we are stuck today, in our never-ending focus on performance and perfection, I have a dream that one day we will find ourselves and live life to the fullest, making way for our potential. Not because we have to be our best, but because we are becoming who we are. Which, according to philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, is our purpose in life. And with all I know and feel, I tend to agree.
Stuck huh? Yeah, stuck. Our mental health is on an all-time low. There are different issues. For one it’s our idea of how we are supposed to be. Our idea of normal. Normal has become a very slim concept. Strangely, it’s not so normal to fit the normal brief anymore. We seem to have a diagnose for everyone (OCD, ASS, ADHD to name a few). There even is a mental illness that we call ‘snapchat dysmorphia’, for people who want to look like their perfect snapchat picture – with filters – and who go to a doctor to make this happen.
In schools we train our children to perform well. You could even argue that we are ‘programming’ our children. Just have a look at this video and you can see what I mean. And we measure the performance to ensure that our kids improve.
The benchmark is the holy grail and tells us what performance we should be looking for. So what happens to our special talents if we all need do ‘the same dance’? The only dance we’ll be able of dancing will be a dance that robots – at some point – will be doing better than us. Did you know that artificial intelligence is going to exceed our human intelligence?
So we could ask ourselves this question: Are we – humans – the failing prototype of what we will improve with artificial intelligence?
I dare say no! Maybe in our current view, being homo sapiens. Literally this means wise man. But being wise – on the long run – is no longer what makes us stand out.
It’s time to rethink our own position. Time for a transformation to become who we are born to be: connected. You, me, us, we are Homo Conexus. We distinguish ourselves by our ability, but also our need, for being connected.
So this is my big project. A lifetime of transformation. To see ourselves in a different light. A light that shines bright and sparkles with our great potential. A light that shines so bright it can embrace us all. If only we can learn to see. Seeing is believing. And we can start seeing in our dreams.
1. On 16 April my TED talk at TEDxWassenaar will be about this topic.
2. Dutch readers can read my book ‘De mens van morgen; van homo sapiens naar homo conexus‘
3. On my website you can find a brief English summary of the book.
A story is a magical thing. It’s not just a bunch of words that presents some information. It’s a powerful tool to invite you on a journey. To go to a place you may not know, a place you may fear, a place you may think is not meant for you…
But as it’s just a story, you can go there in your mind. You
can have a feel of what it brings and experience how it might be just the thing
And then the magic happens.
It gives you a taste that is unfamiliar, something you could only imagine
in your dreams, but in this story it feels as if it’s real. It’s happening,
here and now.
Without knowing it your mind has made a leap into unknown ground, shifting your beliefs and paving the way for change. Welcome to the power of stories. From story writing, to story telling, to story doing.
For examples of our work click here.
Cowardice over courage
We live in a time of change. We aim for change and embrace it. We nurture and cherish our ability to change. But have you ever wondered how come we change and change and change, but somehow nothing seems to change?
A dear friend once told me a wise thing: “First change the way you think, only then should you change the way you act.” If you start with acting differently, then eventually your different actions will not lead to a different outcome. Changing the way you think – changing your beliefs – is what needs to come first.
Now let’s look into transformation. This is where the magic happens. What we really aim for is transformation. To arrive at a new reality. A reality that replaces our current reality.
You can change your outfit, you can change your name, you can change your org-chart. You can, but the big problem is, you can change it back again. Leaving the door open for going back to where you came from, means nothings actually changes. That’s why change doesn’t work. It’s the easy way, but also the useless way.
What you want is transformation. Transformation means that there is no way back. There is no escape route. Whereas change is for cowards, transformation is for the courageous. Transformation is much harder than change. You can’t manage transformation. You can’t schedule transformation. You can’t force is. The only thing you can do is enable it; create favorable conditions for transformation to take place.
There are three things you need to understand about transformation:
1: Transformation happens one person at a time. A ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach doesn’t work, because everyone is different. We all have different triggers.
2: Transformation takes time. As we are all different, we all have our own pace.
3: Transformation is tough. Think of how a chubby caterpillar transforms into a beautiful butterfly. Going from one state to the other requires effort. It’s a process. You need to let go of the old, to make way for the new. That’s pretty tough.
Looking at my own life I can pinpoint where transformation happened. Those where tough times, and eventually rewarding times. The things that set off the transformation where never clear directions. There were no instructions. It where personal experiences and personal insights. Sometimes tiny things, seemingly meaningless. But within a bigger picture, exactly what I needed to have the courage to take the required step. A step that only in hindsight was a step. Because it is not the action, but the mindset that really leads the way in transformation. Mindset first (change how you think) and then the actions will follow.
Instead of nurturing change abilities, shouldn’t we stimulate courage? Make way for courage by minimizing fear.
In the end fear is our greatest enemy. Fear that keeps us in the mode of change; fear that holds us back from enduring the toughness; fear that stands in the way of reaching a new reality.
Should we rather be cowards than heroes?
I know the answer and so do you. We can all be heroes.