Written by Stephanie MoDavis
In the tapestry of time, humanity has been in a perpetual state of evolution, whether we perceive this or not. Our progress is marked not only by technological leaps but also by the evolution of our consciousness, perspectives, and understanding of the world. Yet, within this journey of evolution, a great paradox emerges: as we sporadically evolve, many of our leaders, be they in politics, education, medicine, industry, or technology, find themselves clinging to outdated paradigms, struggling to adapt to the rapid changes shaping our existence, fully believing their way is the path forward.
The Evolutionary Dance:
It has never been so evident, that our current era is witness to a sporadic burst of evolution or perhaps even a spiritual awakening. Propelled or kicked out of the nest by technological breakthroughs, global interconnectedness, and an ever-expanding collective consciousness. However, our systems tell a very different story. As the rapid decline of systemic fulfillment grows and ever more are in exodus, what’s left to evolve our system are some of the most brilliant and yes, blind to the holistic view. Many of our leaders, confined by traditional structures and beliefs, often fail to keep pace, this is often unseen by them as well. The result? An attempt to navigate an evolving world using outdated maps, leading to decisions that are increasingly incongruent with the needs of our time. Humanity is having to adapt to the outdated systems rather than the systems adapting to our rapidly evolving states of humanity. This is a profound conundrum leading to aggression, apathy coupled with bouts of downright confusion or violence. We don’t understand one another as we become impatient with our communications. We are needing individuals who can bridge this divide between the old paradigm and the rapidly approaching new without holding emotional stances on either.
Leaders in Transition:
Leadership in politics, education, medicine, and industry often operates within established frameworks that actively resist change or worse yet, feel they are in the know spinning wheels heading often left of center. While these structures served a purpose in their time, the evolving landscape demands a shift. The World Economic Forum highlights the need for agile leadership, emphasizing that traditional leadership skills may no longer suffice in our fast-paced, complex world. But what exactly are we looking for? Who will lead? Most likely it is not who thinks they can hold the position.
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world
The Urgency of Collaboration and Learning from Outliers:
To prevent the potential disastrous consequences of clinging to outdated paradigms, we must cultivate a culture of learning and collaboration. Seeking insights from outliers and those perceived as opposites can challenge our biases and expand our understanding. Neuroscientist David Eagleman notes, "The more diverse the input we get, the better our decisions become.” For example, healthcare providers must begin to work with their patients for proper feedback to help provide what the patients actually need, not what they think they need based off what they had studied or what is deemed correct from someone who knows nothing of the sort in navigating illness.
Cultivating Wisdom from Diversity:
Outliers and perceived opposites offer invaluable perspectives and skills that can complement traditional leadership. For instance, coupling technological innovators with seasoned philosophers, subjective experiencers, or bringing together activists and policymakers, can foster a rich exchange of ideas. This diverse tapestry of knowledge and viewpoints allows for a more holistic understanding of our world. Think of this as the adage of yin and yang or right and left brain. We have these apparent opposites in most all things. In order to truly evolve, get to know your opposite, intimately. As broad as you can span your perception the more one can hold to gather the true story and holistic perspective. This is what it takes to consciously evolve a society. At least it’s a much better step than where we claim we are at.
Remember, as we navigate an era of sporadic human evolution amidst stagnant paradigms, the onus lies on us to bridge these gaps. Our leaders need not just the skill to lead, but the courage to evolve and embrace new paradigms including new people to be a part of “the work”. By seeking wisdom from diverse sources and outliers, by challenging our biases, and by fostering a collaborative environment, we pave the way for a more adaptive and inclusive future.
Remember the words of Margaret Mead, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." It's in these collaborations, in these unlikely unions, that the seeds of our adaptive evolution and collective progress lie.