Many believes that great magical changes in our society will occur as a result of Covid. I respect their perspectives and I listen to them carefully but, deeply, I do not subscribe to this point of view. Here are my thoughts and observations on the topic.
Every week I see clients change, change their perspectives, change their behaviors, habits and beliefs and they share with me the impacts of those shifts in their life with great details and a lot of enthusiasm. Whether because they were really fed up , whether it had been a long slow maturation or an unexpected external event, their impulses to seek help were strong, clearly, there was projected personal gains of a certain magnitude to give them the courage to take the leap.
So to me, the question is… What projected personal gains to change will create collective significant visible shifts ? How many millions of personal gains added together cross pollinizing each others will we need to see real changes, I mean tangible, visible changes ?
That makes me reflect on Kohl's iceberg analogy , the tip, smaller visible part where we will see changes ( the masks on the street, the telemedicine, telework, social distancing etc.) and the bigger underwater part ( values, beliefs etc.) the deeper stuff. Rightly so, people expect serious, real humanitarian shifts, claiming justice for mother earth, for the sacrifices of freedom and lost of loved ones, no doubts there will be apparent shifts in the visible part of our Iceberg but what about the part underneath ?
My very simplistic way to reconcile myself with the idea of the overnight magical shift is the middle ground: Let's say for example, someone is at 3 out of 10 on his or her ecological consciousness scale and he or she moves to a 4 or a 5 that is fantastic move! If everyone moves from one point or two on the eco scale that is a major win, but if we expect everyone to be at a 8 or 9 after Covid, the wake up call will be brutal.
The expectation of the ''big change'' will prevent us from celebrating the smaller wins and we will find ourselves in a quest for a grail that will always be moving the goalpost. That example stands as well for the expectations on greater collective empathy, increased voluntarism, redistribution of money, respecting and taking care of our elderlies, buying local etc.
Some will argue that we need to aim high to move up on those scales of values and I agree, but realistically, I believe the changes underneath will be hard to measure and assess before many years, if not, decades, so we are better off celebrating and reinforcing the smaller shifts.
I also think people tend to forget quiet rapidly about the constraints as soon as they experiment freedom again, not to mention the fact that having been deprived of something tend to have an adverse effect on many who will want to splurge on what has been missing.
To see the changes that my clients are experimenting, we need to do like they do, change our beliefs, our habits of beliefs. Those new beliefs create new emotions, who are creating new actions and then, create new environments. To change our beliefs, we need to look inward and have that dialogue with our brilliant mind and see what are our subconscious beliefs are at the root of those changes we want to see; for example : empathy ( or lack of…) , voluntarism etc… If we keep the same deep rooted beliefs about them, chances are there will not be a lot of changes.
Let’s take for example a belief about empathy: ‘’ If I show too much empathy that makes me vulnerable and people will abuse me after’’ If you want to move the meter, you have to trade your belief for something like: ‘’
It strengthen me to show empathy and it strengthen others as well’’ for many, that is a deep wired very difficult shift to make. The brain keeps bringing us to what is familiar, it feels safer to stay with the beliefs that have kept us secure until now.
Meanwhile, we can all move towards those things we really want to change in our life and all those little and big changes, added together and multiplying, might constitute a good first collective step. We can all cease the day and the days we are having now to experiment those changes in values and experiences and try to chose one or two that we really want to bring with us on the other side of the Covid.
Then, it is up to each of us, to take a hard look at the beliefs that stands in our way and understand our absolute power to change them.
Then, we are ready to challenge ourselves to make those old beliefs unfamiliar and reframe new sets of beliefs that will enable the transformation we want to see, there is a famous quote '' Be the changes you want to see'' that is how we have shortcut and interpreted his even more profound quote : “We but mirror the world. All the tendencies present in the outer world are to be found in the world of our body. If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. This is the divine mystery supreme. A wonderful thing it is and the source of our happiness. We need not wait to see what others do.” – Mahatma Gandhi