We are what we pay attention to

In ‘current budget constrains’ (AKA cuts) the issue is not to ignore them or pretend that there is no pain. The problem is that talking about pain, referring to pain, discussing pain, lamenting pain and reminding everybody of the pain, does not take pain away. In fact, it multiplies it.

Leandro Herrero

This extract of a post by Leandro Herrero really resonated with me this morning.

Just where, along the way to now, did we decide to give constructs we have created, from algorithms, through budgets, to business plans supremacy over our ability to sense, intuit and feel what is going on around us and adapt?

I think one of the lines that most gets my goat in the last few days has been the idea of the “mutant algorithm”. When we create a construct, we know that it needs tending and human supervision. Every algorithm, every blindly followed process, every culture that suppresses debate carries a chaos gene within it, just waiting for the opportunity to express.

When we complain, all we are doing is hiding from the fact that perhaps we didn’t pay enough attention to complexity when we created it, and that maybe we let our excitement over that beautifully crafted budget, that elegant algorithm, or that exciting business plan carry us away. We constructed an image of a future reality and just assumed it would take care of itself.

We create our own realities, and determine our own futures based on what we have in mind. What we have n mind is determined by who and what we pay attention to.

We are the most creative, adaptive, influential species on the planet – for good or ill. We have not just a choice, but an ability to monitor our choices and adapt.

We are at the end of a cycle we have kept going too long. Infinite growth on a planet with finite resources that we cannot control is at best a high risk strategy, and at worst blind stupidity. We are part of nature, not separate to it.

In many ways, we are an organic algorithm. Unless we pay attention to the power that we give to those processes and routines, personal and technological we have created, nature will pay attention to the power she has given us. That probably won’t end well for us.

The good news is that we are more than enough to adapt, and manage what we are creating.

We need to start taking it seriously, and bringing our own future into being. I’m going to focus on how we might do that as individuals for the rest of this month, starting Monday.

I’m taking part in Catalyzingthefuture on Sept 30th. It’s online, free, and exciting. Join the conversation.

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