Shore Watching

Helping weary immigrants out of the waves of change.

I’ve recently realized something fairly profound and it ties into a metaphor that I’ve been using over the years to try to make sense of my life as a whole. All of us are effectively immigrants now and are travelling to a New World, whether we like it or not. I’ve been fortunate, if you want to even call it that, in that I’ve been introduced to these changes far sooner than others have and thus I’ve become aware of these bigger changes that are profoundly affecting all of our lives but for the most part are invisible to most people.

The more I understood these changes and how we had to adapt to them, changing the way we not only perceive our society but our very selves, the more invigorated I felt because I felt like I could truly help people on a massive scale. There was only one obstacle in my way though. How do you communicate and persuade people of these massive changes occurring invisibly all around them, so that they can initiate their journey and be more capable of adapting to them?

For the longest time, I envisioned in my mind two worlds, our Old World which most of us still live within and our New World, of which few have found its shores. I have been to this New World and for the most part have travelled across it, visiting different places to try to understand its culture and its language, which is paradoxically different than our Old World.

Travelling back to the Old World with this knowledge of the New World, I have for the most part been accepted with confusion or derision at what I communicate of it. Even more so, I often get uncomfortable and somewhat angry stares at explaining the shortcomings of our Old World and how they can be alleviated in the New World.

So for the longest time, I’ve felt stuck between these two worlds, since people within the Old World, who I want to help, are evidently not ready to leave it. So no matter what you say, you are not going to get them to accept or believe in what you have to say…until they are ready and primed for this shift and change themselves.

Thus the feeling I’ve had for myself (and actually the change agent community online as a whole) is one in which we are continually travelling back and forth between these worlds but we haven’t been very successful in helping ferry people across to it, so as to help them avoid a painful journey.

Photo by K. Mitch Hodge on Unsplash

Today I realized why. Today I realized that the obstacle isn’t out there, it’s within me. I’m the obstacle. Trying to persuade and convince people to change doesn’t solve anything. All it does is make them more resistant and adverse to change. So my actions are not only not helping others, they are not helping myself in trying to achieve my life’s work.

So what’s the answer to my dilemma then? It’s obvious, isn’t it, now that I actually see it. If I just stop rushing around and trying to “convert and save people” in the Old World, sounding like some “The End of the World is Here!” crazy person on the street, I’d see that over in the New World, if I just remain patient and observant, there are already people washing up upon its shores confused and alone.

These are the people I need to be helping because they don’t need convincing or persuading. There lives have already changed and are already still changing and they know it. They just can’t figure out what to do next because the common sense that they used within the Old World no longer works and makes sense within this New World. In effect, they now have to go through an arduous sense making process of figuring out how this New World works, just like I did.

So I need to be the very person that I was looking for when I first washed up upon the shores of this New World confused and alone so many years ago myself. What help and answers was I looking for then? What reassurances was I looking for? “No, you haven’t gone crazy. Yes, the world has changed. Yes, most people aren’t aware that it has changed. Yes, what you’re experiencing is completely normal even though it feels completely abnormal.”

So all said and done, it’s not about being in the Old World and trying to aggressively push people through The Portal to this New World. It’s about being patient within the New World and helping to pull people out of the waters upon the shores of it. In effect, I really don’t have to do anything. I just need to let nature takes its course and be aware of the signs of when someone “arrives” on its shores.

By Nollind Whachell

Questing to translate Joseph Campbell's Hero’s Journey into The Player’s Handbook for The Adventure of Your Life, thus making vertical (leadership) development an accessible, epic framework for everyone.

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