We live in a world increasingly intolerant of getting things wrong.
As the general level of entitlement increases, so does the expectation of perfection. A just-in-time economy doesn’t build in much margin for error. The cost of increasingly sophisticated technology not working can, in some circumstances, be a matter of life and death (instrument failure in an airplane, for example.)
The 24-hour news cycle’s demand for the content and attention needed to sell advertising, combined with omniscient and ubiquitous cell phones, exacerbates the “gotcha” mentality that leads politicians to err on the side of not saying the right thing rather than risking saying the wrong thing. The media trainers say, “stick to the talking points” – as though the rest of us are too dumb to know what’s going on.
The obvious problem of a world increasingly intolerant of getting things wrong is that we get things wrong all the time. What happens, then, when there is reduced societal capacity to process it?
We live in an age of rapid change. If our species survives, we may look back on this time as an inflection point. Systems, power, status quo, privilege – all are being (rightly) challenged. A lot needs to change.
The process of getting from where we are to where we need to go is not clear. Building a future together that is more just and equal is going to be iterative. We will get it wrong along the way.
Which means that we need to do the work in a container that expects and can hold failure. We need to be able to risk getting it wrong without fear that we will create irrevocable damage in doing so. We need space in which we can try, stumble, get up, and try again. We need courage, trust, and compassion.
The decision to not say the right thing, or anything, for fear of saying the wrong thing is a strategic one. Creating space where we can leave strategy at the door and enter open-hearted is perhaps more important than ever.
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