I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately – which may or may not reflect other people’s view on the world we’re in. We’ve been bombarded with events that are worrying, troublesome and downright despicable. And I keep coming back to leaders. Who are our the leaders in our world – stewards of direction and channellers of energy and those who focus our attention?
Whoever they are, they’re not doing that good a job of things at the minute as the world seems a more chaotic and damaged place this past few weeks. Yet I’ve not been outwardly critical and have been looking for 2 things instead. Intent and attitude.
Whether we need more of it or not, thinking and being philosophical on things isn’t easy, is sometimes derided (stop thinking, start doing) and challenges us in a world we can’t seem to make sense of hourly let alone weekly. Yet thinking and taking a philosophical approach is probably needed now more than ever. I was filled with anger on 23rd June at what had happened the day before in the country of my birth and residence. I was filled with sadness at what happened in Turkey and continues to happen in the Middle East. I was filled with despair over people’s actions in light of the referendum vote and the shootings and deaths in the USA I simply cannot quite believe.
I needed philosophy and thinking space and time more than I had done in a long long time.
I needed it and I revelled in it. I withdrew from the world and I got on with trying to work out my emotions, feelings and put them into words so I could make some sense and get on with the doing bits of life.
I questioned my intent and attitude a lot. I wanted to know what I thought of as important and what was now demanding my attention. What was my intent on seeking answers when there was nothing but emotional anguish racing through my soul. Well my intent was to not overreact. Not to join in with something I then couldn’t back out of. To not burn bridges and create stand offs and controversy that I wasn’t really ready for. I asked myself what was my attitude during all this. It bordered on arrogance, despair, judgement, disgust a range of things I don’t normally have to process. And I checked in my attitude and I made it good. Better. More philosophical. Only now can I address some thoughts of “what next?” Only this week have I been able to make plans and start doing. My attitude – it seems – is now one of determination, calmness, resolve and inclusion.
My intent now is to continue to make a positive difference in whatever way I can. I have restored my faith in grasping complex issues and making sense of them in my world and in my way. My intent is to be a participant in better.
I thought back to leaders I’d been around when things were tough. I replayed scenarios in my mind and I looked for their intent and their attitudes. Some were found wanting and had played an irrational, emotionally charged and controlling set of cards. Some were found to be considered, let emotions be known but weren’t afraid to be uncommitted until they were ready and they had a clear grasp on the implications of their decisions on a better future.
So i found myself in appreciative recognition of those 2 words. Intent. Attitude. I looked then into those around me and their actions and words and sought out their intent and analysed and deduced their attitudes based on what I could as evidence. I found many wanting and reacting in counter-productive even narcissistic and divisive ways. I also found some with compassion, reason and focus that made sense to not only me but to the world I woke up in several weeks ago.
In this pacy world the pressure is on to form an opinion and make a call as quickly as possible for the time is now. I still think there are times when we need pace and expedience. And yet my own soul – healed somewhat through contemplation and thought – would say otherwise. Don’t rush unnecessarily. I needed to show some emotion but I didn’t want to create a shit-storm of words that would box me in and create more grief not less. I wanted to share what I wanted and keep what I didn’t. I wanted people to know that glib wasn’t helpful and nor was gloating. I wanted people to know that only. Not what the final words were or the uptick of considered thinking was now like in descriptive terminology.
And again, I thought of leaders. Who people look up to when they can’t make sense of something and want others to guide the way. They too need time to think, reflect, pause, consider and if that’s the case – tell people that and join in with them about the only certainty being there is a lack of certainty.
When this happens we might see their intent and attitude as enough for now. Intent will show there is not ignorance or denial but intent to resolve. That will do for now. Attitude might show I’m pensive because it’s not clear. I’m not committing because it’s too dangerous. And that will do for now.
We’ll have a lot more challenges and anxiety to come maybe, but if we can be clear on our intent (and may need to be clearer as it forms into more cohesive references) and we can trust through a just and true attitude (which again, may alter as things become more known and clarified) then that will do for now.
We can learn a lot about ourselves when we question our own intent and our attitude to situations. We can learn an awful lot about others when we do the same thing. I guess my urge with this piece is that in lieu of certainty, clarity or comfort take heed from the mild inquisition into your own and others intent and attitude.
My intent for this piece is to bring productive, thoughtful comfort to troubled times. My attitude is to share and stimulate these words for the good of us all. In a spirit of togetherness that transcends labels and percentages.
I’m therefore standing by my intent and finding solace in my attitude. I’ll be looking for the best of that in others too. Especially those leading anyone else.