Our significant problems

attention change is a process mindset May 26, 2022
group of hands with a heart painted over them - the world needs more love

Our nation is once again wracked with shock and grief over yet another mass shooting.  My mind is spinning. How could someone believe they are acting in accordance with their mission, or that such a horrific act could be a good thing?

How can they think that way?  How is this possible?

I return to Einstein who said, “The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking that created them.” 

The problems we face

Humanity has blanketed the earth with our presence.  We have impacted the natural processes of nature to our detriment. The population continues to grow while our natural resources continue to be depleted. 

We have authoritarian mindsets that seek to control what is not theirs to control.  Violence appears to be the obvious outcome of conflict, no matter how minor.

We know that any positive taken to an extreme becomes a negative. I believe that the traditional mindsets, tribalism and patriarchy, have become so extreme that they are now the enemies of our species. 

Our current level of thinking will not solve our significant problems. 

Without a paradigm shift to a different level of thinking, we will continue down this path, destroying each other in the name of self-preservation.

Shift the focus

I believe everyone is creative, and our new way of thinking is somewhere inside us, already there, begging to be released.   Isn’t it time to believe a different story?

Instead, our attention is focused on our pain.  We must shift the way we view the world to unleash the creative thinking that will solve our significant problems.

We are locked in a paradigm of transaction.  We believe in things like an eye for an eye, domination, me-first, and believing our actions create our reality. 

To create transformation, we must allow a different source to inform us, one of emotional energy and permission in order to access the creativity that can change our direction.

Do I have “the answer?”  No, I do not.  I have only suggestions for how to shift our focus.

Where focus goes, energy flows

Our fast-paced world has created addictive ways to grab our attention.  Stephen Covey suggested that our attention and energy are focused in three concentric circles:

When our attention is focused on the outer Circle of Concern, the area that contains all the things I’ve mentioned, we can feel hopeless, perhaps overwhelmed.  Our desire then is to DO SOMETHING!  But when we examine our Circle of Influence, we realize our impact is so small.  We then feel frustrated and perhaps are pushed into an emotional state of anger.

Emotional states brought about by feelings of hopelessness and frustration are like a film over our eyes that blind us to our potential.  Studies have shown that emotional states like sadness, anger, and fear will actually lower our IQ.

They also block us from accessing our creativity. 

The language of transformation

René Descartes famously said “I think, therefore I am.”  In other words, if you are not a thinker, you don’t exist. 

That paradigm is exactly what must change and Covey’s Circle of Control is our ticket.  We will rise to another level of thinking when we acknowledge and manage our emotional state.  That’s really all we can control.  (Here’s how)

Our emotional state lives in our hearts and determines how we see the world and how we interact with others.  The “answers” will arise when our emotional state allows them.

That’s why meaningful art is so important.  That’s why music is the language of the soul.  That’s why hugging each other makes us feel so good.  Anything that allows us to feel more deeply and more connected will allow us to shift our paradigm.

Shifting our understanding of where the answers lie allows us to face our significant problems from a different level of thinking.  When we open our hearts and shift our emotional state, we open our potential. 

Accessing the wisdom of the heart will inform our thinking, will inform our actions, and will allow us to change the significant problems we face. 

The answers are not in our brains, they’re in our hearts. When we feel, we can heal.

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