Tag Archives: control

12-Step Program for America: Step 1

By Jim Selman | Bio

I work with organizations that are attempting to change. At the beginning of working with a new client, I point out what’s missing for any organization that has recurring or seemingly intractable problems: what’s missing is a different way of observing. Whether we’re talking about a company, a community or a continent, a new perspective always gives us an opening to create new possibilities, have new choices and take new actions: a new way of observing the world effectively gives us a different future than some variation of ‘more of the same’. =&0=&. When we do, we begin to realize that we have a paradigm problem. Until we deal with that, none of our seemingly intractable problems—from staggering debt to unending war, climate change to the underlying causes of the mortgage crises—can be solved. Albert Einstein expressed this concisely when he said that sometimes our problems cannot be solved by thinking the way we thought when we created them.

Paradigm problems are like addictions. They are ‘self-referential’ structures that, at some point, disconnect us from a larger ‘reality’. Once disconnected, we begin to follow self-destructive patterns of behavior until we ‘hit bottom’ or have some form of crisis that ‘breaks the paradigm’ and opens possibilities for making other choices. In AA and most ‘recovery’ literature, the self-destructive behavior is understood to be the symptom. The ‘disease’

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The Future Habit

By Jim Selman | Bio

It is almost impossible to turn on the television or read a newspaper or a magazine without encountering one pundit, expert or “man on the street” either talking about the future or trying to blame someone for something. Our media commentary is rarely about what is happening now: mostly it’s about what happened in the past or what someone thinks is going to happen in the future. Combine the establishment media with all of the blogging and chatting going on, and it is incredible

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The Promise of Networking

By Jim Selman | Bio

Do you remember when networks of computers first arrived on the scene? Moving information onto the new technological platform decentralized and dispersed information and knowledge, a move that resulted in a significant communications revolution that still has repercussions today. Giving people the ability to access and share what had previously existed only on paper or in the minds of certain individuals not only sped up the rate of transactions, but also freed individuals from a certain amount of manipulation. 

Some resisted the move to computers, feeling threatened by what they perceived as a loss of control—they equated giving up the ‘management’ of ‘their’ information and knowledge as a threat to their power. Ironically, organizations eventually embraced computers as a means to ‘manage’ knowledge, creating complex online systems to store and share the experience and expertise of their employees. We’re now witnessing an

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People and Places

By Jim Selman | Bio

I am coming to the conclusion that I am a travel-aholic.  Like most ‘isms’, travelaholism is the product of thinking we control something that we don’t control and, therefore, are controlled by it. One of the primary symptoms of an ‘ism’ is that we say we want to change something—usually our behavior—but continue in whatever pattern it is that we want to change. I protest that I am traveling too much, while at the same time filling in my calendar with airports and connections and hotels around the world. So far this year I have been to Buenos Aires, Geneva, Madrid, Sao Paulo, Paris, Amsterdam and am on my way to Tanzania before leaving for New Zealand, the Ukraine and New York City. While this may sound exotic, I rarely have time to fully appreciate the uniqueness of these far-flung locations.

It is also true that I love my work and am very happy and engaged when I am speaking with people in different cultures. The more I travel to different parts of the world, the more I appreciate that the ‘human family’ are pretty much all in the same conversations and have the same concerns. While the languages and the scenery may vary, we are more alike than we are different.

I am also always a little amazed by how informed and current people are about events and politics

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Fear and Risk

By Jim Selman | Bio

Our relationship to risk and our fears is closely related. Most of our lives we’ve made decisions based on some formal or informal process for assessing ‘risk’. In our conventional way of thinking, this means trying to predict what will or will not happen and with what probabilities based on some scenario or course of action. It is a ‘forward looking’ posture and, as with all predictions, draws on historical data or experience and projects it into the future. In other words, we take our past, project it into the future and then make our choices and commitments based on what our predictions (the past) tell us will probably happen.

Anyone who is even mildly paying attention can easily grasp that the predictions are wrong more often than they are right. Particularly now, when the world is changing around us so rapidly, we can no longer rely on this mode of decision-making. At best, we maintain the status quo and, more often than not, we are completely blindsided by something unexpected that wasn’t taken into account when we were assessing risk and making our decisions

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The Crisis

By Jim Selman | Bio

As an elder, what do I have to say regarding the ‘crisis’ in the financial system? To begin, I don’t know what to say about the crisis. But I do know that this is not a time for ‘idle’ opinions or mouthing platitudes and ideological dogma. I know the seemingly ‘sudden’ emergence of this situation is mostly the fact that the media and government pays attention only after something happens and doesn’t bother to listen to thoughtful

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Acceptance

By Jim Selman | Bio

I don’t think that age is personal. I know it feels like it is ‘me’ that is getting older, but I don’t experience myself as older. If anything, I experience my ‘self’ as being ‘better’ than at any time I can remember over the past 66 years. I feel more ‘alive’, more engaged, more present and more satisfied than ever. It is true that my body can’t run, wrestle or climb as easily as in the past. I make love more often

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Loneliness

By Jim Selman | Bio

Nathan Oates, a Christian minister who writes a very thoughtful blog called “Theologically Speaking”, did a nice piece on loneliness. His point: how we seem to fragment our society into all kinds of niches and end up not relating to or connecting with most of the people around us. Even in the churches that one would imagine to be the most community-oriented institutions, the norm

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Controlling Healthcare

By Shae Hadden | Bio

While Americans debate the need for universal healthcare in their country, Canadians are wondering about the need for stringent controls on the classification, labeling and distribution of therapeutic drugs, foods and medical devices. The federal government has proposed Bill C-51, touted as a ‘consumer safety and security’ measure, clamps down on the healthcare industry and poses a potential threat to the country’s citizens by limiting the options available to consumers

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Clinton and Obama

Well, it looks like Hillary is bowing out—actually more like accepting the fact that she can’t win. Polls in that league are realists above all else. I assume we’ll get the inside dope on whatever backroom deals were made in the weeks ahead. Now the healing and reunification of the Democratic Party must begin.

However, before we relegate Hillary to the political graveyard, I want us to stop and reflect on what an incredible process this has been and acknowledge her for her strength and courage

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