Pioneering the Possible is a book recommended to me last week by an inspirational businesswoman, who I feel privileged to know and never cease to be humbled by the extent of both her authenticity and philanthropic interests.
Having just looked on online to make a purchase, my mind immediately made a connection with the Rio Olympics 2016 and the opening ceremony later this evening, as the title seemed somehow to resonate with what I'm sure all athletes will have been training hard for and hoping to personally achieve over the next couple of weeks.
Yet, another random thought also led me to how we might improve our current educational system so that it inspires more young people to dream big and really come up with a vision for how a new world could be, and to dare to take on what has never been done before.
But to enable this, I believe the curriculum is failing and it now needs to rethink its priorities and consider the development and training of more soft skills, such as empathy, and our ability to listen, not just hear. As the book's author Scilla Elworthy notes: "Self-awareness at the individual level is what can enable each person to wake up and do what’s needed to ensure a future for us on this planet - to change the world from the bottom up."
Then we might make enlightened progress, and begin to make better decisions as individuals, caring more for those around us rather than simply looking for differences that divide us.
Perhaps I will be lucky to find some some answers in the book - and from a quick scan of the reviews, it does look like I am in for a thought-provoking read this weekend.
The essential skill of empathy and a humble commitment to keep learning the skills of deep listening and mediation. What I’m expressing here has been known in all great spiritual traditions, but now needs reclaiming for a secular world in crisis, and in language that all can understand. Without leaders like this in every sphere and institution of our world, our chances of survival are grim. With such leaders, a world can be built that our grandchildren will be proud of. I am certain that a different future for all of humanity is possible, if humans wake up. Interestingly, this is happening fast now in the corporate world. Reflection, mindfulness and inner work are now seen as an essential tool in many leading companies, extensively featured in the sober Financial Times of London and on the cover of Time Magazine.