© 2018 by Ana de Andrés. 

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Embracing Complexity

December 22, 2017

 

 

Missing you. This fall has been quite a ride… or was it only me?

 

So much for “tolerating ambiguity”, I am afraid.  I believe that we need to do much more than that… Unless we learn to navigate complexity with ease we will never profit from its potential as a force to explain the unexplainable.  I guess that we need to accept that life the way it is today, i.e. ambiguous and largely unpredictable -be it in the political, economical, social or organizational arenas- is not to be dealt with as a “problem” to be solved but as an opportunity to profit from.  This complexity could be really “cool” and even create huge openings to generate better futures if we only stopped trying to prevent water from flowing or clinging to “stability” and “predictability” as “values” to abide by. Could the fact that so many old “truths” are been dismantled actually represent an opportunity to create new ones? 

 

The world is no longer “complicated” and therefore “tamable”… it has graduated to “complex”,  and for good and bad complexity is here to stay.  That “movement” creates a great need for leaders who can grasp the basics, discover patterns and connect the dots while they are still emerging… for leaders who have a systemic view, who are comfortable living with polarities and who have transcended “binary” thinking.  For leaders who can time-travel and understand the consequences of their decisions –and their indecisiveness- in these post-truth times and who know how and when to “play the game” for themselves, but, more importantly, for others. Doesn’t this sound like fun?

 

Elif Shafak, wonderful Turkish author and wise colorful woman talks about how to learn to live with this complexity in a recent TED Talk.  She herself represents a beautiful “product” of complexity and she speaks so eloquently about it that I have decided you could not miss her.  She blends Western and Eastern traditions of storytelling in beautiful stories built upon her knowledge of history, philosophy, Sufism and politics, and she does so with a lot of humor, which I find is such a blessing these days.  In her talk, she describes the end of the distinction between “solid” and “liquid” countries, and how the world these days feels more as if it moved in circles -even backwards sometimes- rather than forward.  The unprecedented challenges we are going through make us cling to the “familiar” and to the salvation of a few instead of embracing plurality and creating the conditions for multiplicity to thrive.  She shares her particular conception of “homeland” and characterizes life itself as “fluid and plenty of ambiguity and nuances”. 

 

I wish that some of those who are “guiding our destiny” would exercise the kind of humanistic leadership that we need from them.   Lately it looks -and feels- more as if they were focusing on their own (narrow) tribe’s goals -when not just their own- and salvation.  I also wish they would value the privilege that leadership, especially in the public domain, represents.  And finally, I wish they would be wise enough to understand that the real “mission” is that of allowing the world to transform them for the better -as the great Dario Fó pointed out at the end of his life after years of trying the other way around- and not to be as simplistic and selfish as to try and change the world to meet their own desires and needs. 

 

Let’s hope that the world “detours” are only temporary and that the circumstances we are living push us into becoming the best version of ourselves.

 

In the meantime, my best wishes for a gentle winter and a New Year full of color, light and peace.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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