Saturday, June 02, 2007

THINK About It (part 2)

I'm so excited for the Summit for Bigger Small Talk! As I've been telling people about it here in Fargo, the buzz is getting me enthused all over again! I'm sensing an amazing field of creativity emerging, and I know whoever comes to the summit will be exactly the right people!

We're going to be using Open Space Technology as a basis for the event on June 27. I don't want to give too much away because I want people to be spontaneous when they come, but Open Space does not require a pre-set agenda. I know that will freak some people out because we have been conditioned all our lives to follow pre-set agendas and not create them for ourselves. We want others to tell us what to do and when to do it. We don't really know how to think for ourselves because we rarely get the opportunity to practice and to flex those muscles.

That's the world we currently live in - a world of rules and standards and traditions and customs ... the world of the emperor in The Emperor's New Clothes. I love that story because it is so indicative of our usual state of being in corporate America. According to Wikipedia, the metaphor involves a situation wherein the overwhelming (usually unempowered) majority of observers willingly share in a collective ignorance of an obvious fact, despite individually recognizing the absurdity.

The Summit will be very different. It will allow us to suspend our usual conditioned behavior and bring us into the creative stage where we will have to think for ourselves about topics and subjects that really are important to us, the attendees.

Think for a minute about a day in the life of _________ (insert your name there). Where do you get a chance to think for yourself? You have the alarm set to the same radio station (or buzzer). You go through your morning routine without even batting an eye. You get into the same car, bus or train, and take the same route to the same office and do the same work and do it all the next day. Now I'm sure it's not that rigid, but I hope you get the point. I do it, too, although I'm a lot more flexible than I used to be now that I work out of my home (or various coffee shops around town). But I still find myself thinking the same thoughts I thought yesterday and the day before that and the day before that.

How might we encourage each other to start thinking differently? And how can we get out of that rut that believes that nothing will change anyway so what's the use? And how can we get beyond the cynicism and resignation that seem to plague the world we see every day and hear about on the news every night?

I think we'll uncover the answer to some of those questions at the Summit - at least that's my intention. I'll be there, so my intention will cause some shift in the outcome of the day. Your presence here will add to that intention and so each person who comes will add to that collective intention. It won't be the same if you're not here!

Our committee is already making plans for the 2008 Summit, so if you can't make it this year, consider coming next year!

How FAR will you GO? THINK about it, and come to FARGO!


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