"If you're in a bad situation, don't worry, it'll change. If you're in a good situation, don't worry, it'll change."
-- John A. Simone Jr.
Time. We are very time sensitive these days. Blogs need updating. Twitter demands tweets. Our Facebook and other social networking clans compel us to post, respond, upload. We are deeply and diversely connected.
Last night, talking with friends, we talked about relationships, disciplines and discipline. We talked about exciting, inspiring vertical spikes and the lonely disorienting vistas of plateaus-the long, seemingly endless flat land of practice. George Leonard writes eloquently about this in Mastery.
Relationships and connection need time. They take commitment, practice. Discipline. They also need flexibility, variation, and forgiveness. Last night we also talked about over-commitment where single-mindedness takes over and all of our energy pours into one place.
Over-commitment, over-concentration leads to illness. Illness takes time, steals and hordes time, saps and pools energy. Illness disconnects us from that which sustains. That which sustains are the diverse and myriad relationships, the abundance around and within us.
As we commit, as we practice, as we deepen our capacity to live and contribute, we also must allow our selves distance from our disciplines without disconnection. Forgive the necessary wandering, exploration and reflection that emerges from wide open spaces. Walk the fine line between distance, reflection and neglect.
Vertical growth and Big Change is exciting, addictive in the disorienting rush and clarity it brings. It is also rare, fleeting. Most of our time is spent on the plateaus, gazing out at the horizons surrounding us. This is where our communities-virtual and visceral-and the web of relationships within them sustain us. This is where discipline serves us.
Update the blogs, tweet away, maintain and strengthen those Facebook connections. Call friends. Get together, break bread, grill salmon, let the kids run wild in the houseyardneighborhoodpark. Get back on the mat and do some aikido. Renew commitments.
Every once in a while it is OK to step away. Take a breath and slide off line. Tenkan-take a different perspective. Plateaus are truly vast. Exploring the territory within and around us takes practice, discipline. It needs time.
When you come back you’ve got stories to tell, maybe a little wisdom to pass around the fire with the wine. Your communities are curious. Your people want to know where you’ve been. Your children want to play. You are home.
We’ll be giving a talk on the connections between social media and sustainability next week. As I was doing some research on the topic I came upon this slightly dated piece over at Max Gladwell.
They make a good point that there is nothing “inherently green about social media.” Indeed. Social media is exactly what it sounds like: means for conveying ideas and information, connecting people and creating and maintaining relationships.
We also need to understand that sustainable sustainability is not “green” either. Or rather, it is “green” but it also red, orange, yellow, blue, turquoise, indigo, violet, etc. Simply, if we want to sustain our selves and the potential in the human endeavor for all sentient beings to prosper, we must go full spectrum.
We live in a value web. We need to manage multiple polarities and find a way to stream value into as many of the nodes of the web as possible. The more we are able to strengthen and enhance the web the more we are able to benefit in return. It is (almost) instant karma.
This is where social media comes in. The potential in social media to deeply interconnect us and provide cross-functional, cross-divisional, cross-industry, cross-sector collaboration is already being realized in technologies like Facebook and Twitter. A recent Business Week article shows how Accenture has developed enterprise versions of these systems as well. WiserEarth, an online community, also has adapted Wiki technology to connect sustainability-oriented groups and individuals.
Social media can accelerate and deepen the connection process. Interconnection is a key success factor for sustainability, and beyond sustainability, abundance. In the end, though, it is not the technology that matters. It is the intent and capacity of the users. Designers can and will design user interfaces that can meet a wide variety of needs. If we want to get the most out of Web 2.0, I believe we first need to design Sustainability 2.0. Sustainability 2.0 is a full-spectrum, value web centered, coherent approach to doing well together.
Let’s see what we can emerge.