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Shared – dare I call it – WISDOM

Stuart Hill Shared Wisdoms

Authored by Emeritus Professor Stuart B. Hill

(these were compiled in 2005, based largely on my university & international development experience over the past 60+ years, as possible ‘testing questions’ for all theory & practice)

Learn from everyone & everything, & seek mentors & collaborators at every opportunity

Ask of all theory & practice – what is it in the service of? – before supporting or copying it

Work mostly with ‘small meaningful achievable initiatives’ vs. ‘Olympic-scale projects’ (most of these are abandoned or fail, & have numerous negative side-effects)

Don’t get stuck in endless ‘measuring studies’ (‘monitoring our extinction’) – these are often designed to postpone change that is perceived as threatening to existing power privileges & structures

To achieve sustainable progressive change, focus (at least first) on enabling & collaborating with the ‘benign’ agendas of others vs. trying to impose on them your own ‘benign’ agendas

Focus on enabling the potential of people, society & nature to express itself – so that wellbeing, social justice & sustainability can emerge (in integrated, synergistic ways)

Collaborate across difference to achieve broadly shared goals – don’t end up isolated, alone in a ‘sandbox’

Don’t let ‘end point’/goal differences prevent possibilities of early stage collaboration

Outcomes are only as good & sustainable as the people creating & implementing them – so start with the people; & remember that we are a relational/social species! (we need to be enabled to express & develop our social behaviours, not be ‘socialised’, which involves being manipulated to follow the social [commonly maladaptive & compensatory] patterns of others) 

Use the media – let me repeat – use the media! – such ‘political’ communication is key to change

Work with business & the public/community; government will always follow, but rarely lead!

Celebrate publicly at every opportunity – to enable the good stuff to be ‘contagious’

Keep working on & implementing – especially with others – your (shared) benign visions (this takes ‘stickability’)

Most of what is remains unknown – which is what wise people are able to work with; so devote most effort to developing your wisdom vs. your cleverness, which is just concerned with the very limited pool of what is known (Einstein was clear about this!) – to be relevant, cleverness must always be in the service of wisdom

Always be humble & provisional in your knowing, & open to new experiences & insights

Take small meaningful risks to enable progress, transformational learning & development

Devote most effort to the design & management of systems that can enable wellbeing, social justice & sustainability, & that are as problem-proof as possible vs. maintaining unsustainable, problem-generating systems, & devoting time to ‘problem-solving’, control, & input management

Work sensitively with time & space, especially from the position of the ‘others’ (ask: who, what, which, where, when, how, why, if & if not?)

Act from your core/essential self – empowered, aware, visionary, principled, passionate, loving, spontaneous, fully in the present (contextual) – vs. your patterned, fearful, compensatory, compromising, de-contextual selves

See no ‘enemies’ – recognise such ‘triggers’ as indicators of woundedness, maldesign & mismanagement – everyone is always doing the best they can, given their potential, past experience & the present context – these are the three areas to work with when enabling ‘progressive’ change

Be paradoxical: ask for help & get on with the job (don’t postpone); give when you want to receive; give love when you might need it, or when you might feel hate & anger (often ‘covers’ for deep, subconscious or unacknowledged fears)

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