Under pressure, we move to the edges of a debate. We default to negating the opposing argument. Opposing for opposing’s sake. Identity not dialogue. It makes life easy, and avoids the inconvenience of meaningful action. Strike. Protest. Occupy. It sends a signal, and in so doing sends those we’re opposing ever deeper into their trenches.
It takes courage to occupy the middle ground, to tell the stories of possibility and find the narratives that engage. That respects those who are afraid to leave the certainty of where they are, and engages the humility of those who want to be somewhere else in recognising they don’t yet know what it looks like. It is after all much easier to identify what we don’t like than doing the hard yards to build something better and endure the inevitable failures that are part of the path of creating it.
In Improv, there is a central rule. No “buts”. only “ands”.
“But” brings things to a schreeching halt, whilst “And” maintains the momentum of the dialogue and changes direction in unexpected directions.
Stig Blomqvist, a famous rally driver of the 1960’s put it best. He was famous, or notorious for spending as much time airborne as on the road, and when asked how he knew where the road was headed answered “Well, it has to go somewhere, and I’ll just find a way to follow it”
Accelerating into a bend is always safer than braking. Braking will send you off the road.
Harnessing the momentum of change is always better than resisting it, even when we’re not quite sure where it’s going.
Good advice. If you want harness change, find out where it’s going and use it to keep momentum.