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"In Germany they came first for the Communists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me and by that time no one was left to speak up."
Martin Niemoller

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Leadership Notes -- Thoughts on Leading People and Making a Difference in Organizations

Word count this issue: 396

Estimated reading time:  2:15 minutes

 

Another busy week working with wonderful, creative people. People just like you. The longer I work in leadership development and coaching, the more I see how simply amazing we are as a species. 

 

I’ve also been reflecting recently about how young we are as a species. We are fundamentally the creative species. Yes other creatures use tools and are wonderfully creative; living in a world where crows regularly drop oyster shells from their perch on a tree onto the road surface below cures you of thinking we are the only creative species. And yet, these brains of ours have created the intricacies of Mozart’s Requiem in Dm, Catherine Johnson’s number crunching at NASA, and the back and heart breaking work of putting food in front of children in the midst of famine. We have built amazing structures like the Blue Mosque, and the Taj Mahal, and our brains have worked out how to move thousands of us quickly through downtown Vancouver in the midst of rush hour on a subway. And what struck me is how young we are as a species. On the outside we homo sapiens (thinking or wise humans) have been around for about 150,000 years, and really coming into our own about 75,000 years ago. Compared to say Crocodiles who have been around for 200 million years, we are still toddlers. Perhaps we might call us ourselves homo toddlerus. 

 

 

And herein lies my wondering; imagine what we as a species could do, who we could be if we actually focused more on learning, focused more on gaining wisdom? What could we be doing, who could we be if we saw ourselves as a learning species, who still had so much to learn? We have been here for such a short period of time, and have created so much, frankly both good and bad, we might think of ourselves as 2 year olds. What if we chose to be that much more grown up, focusing our creativity not on our own selfish needs, but on those of the whole of the planet? What if we moved away from I have to protect what I have from you, towards, you and I can thrive together? What if we all started to do a little growing for ourselves and the species?