Posted on January 10, 2021
by Jutta Goldammer
with best wishes for the new year, we joyfully hand over our futuromat, which will help you to get rid of everything old, annoying and outdated and to transform it into what you want for the new year from the bottom of your heart. It’s very simple: Insert your old stuff, press the button and let yourself be enveloped by the steaming clouds of your dreams and desires, which smell of winter air, roasted chestnuts and crunching snow. They will accompany you through the new year and remind you at exactly the right moment what is really important to you and what you actually wanted.
I admit, this machine was born out of a longing that I am a little embarrassed about. I move in a world in which it is cool, yes, indispensable, to be agile, flexible and tolerant of ambiguity, to think in a interconnected, systemic and open-ended manner and to recognize complexity, uncertainties and unpredictability. A machine like the Futuromat, in which one comes from state A via a clearly defined process B to a desired result C, is too linear, too mechanistic, too simple. It is completely clear to me that we cannot meet the challenges of our time with a mechanistic worldview and that we cannot master them with a linear logic of thought.
And yet I am sometimes exhausted by so much complexity, uncertainty and unpredictability. Stressed out that I had to convert a seminar into a multi-day online conference within a weekend due to a short-term lockdown. Confused while shaping the future because I am aware that only in retrospect the effect of my actions will turn out to be a blessing or a curse. Overwhelmed by the many possible influences that have to be considered. And then I feel a deep longing for simplicity, for stability, predictability, security. In the past year I permitted myself this need and made the most amazing discoveries:
In order not to drown in the endless sea of uncertainties, it often doesn’t take so much. Small islands of stability help gain strength and then plunge back into the thundering waves. In my experience, grandmothers have a special talent for creating such islands. Places where you can arrive and just be who you are without being judged. Add a steaming cup of tea and the island is ready. Even if I hopefully have a few years left before I become a grandmother myself, in the last year I have learned to be this island for many people. Just by calming myself down. On the plane it is said that should you put on the oxygen mask first and only then help the others. That’s exactly what I did. Surrounded by tension and buzzing nervousness, I repeatedly took care of my own calm and stability and was surprised how immediate the effect was not only for myself: Without pushing or doing anything extra, my counterpart’s panic and insecurity transformed into calm and confidence. It worked with people who were afraid of Corona, with crying babies and with deadlocked teams.
Stability and security do not contradict an agile, creative, free-thinking mind, but rather strengthen it. As a tango dancer, I know how valuable a stable support leg is to make dynamic swings and embellishments easily with the free leg. I found out that this doesn’t just apply to dancing. In our innovation processes, we learned that an atmosphere of trust in which everyone could feel safe, as well as a defined methodological framework with fixed times and a clear focus, were most important. The freer and further the participants’ dared to think and develop all the more. Many pioneering artists and thinkers also created stabilizing fix points in their lives with the help of rituals and habits. For example Immanuel Kant established an almost pedantically structured, exactly repeating daily routine which allowed him to maximize the freedom of his philosophical thinking.
How can the need for simplification be satisfied without negating complexity? The focus on what is really, really, important to one, as the philosopher and founder of the New Work movement Frithjof Bergman puts it so beautifully, helps to let go of all insignificant. It helps to say no and to recognize clear paths in the maze of a thousand possibilities. What is worth living and fighting for? What is it that still counts when everything collapses? Whom and what needs to be protected, wherever the world or my life is heading for? For whom and for what is it worthwhile to continue in times of dry spells? Which of my actions are indispensable? Really indispensable? I found the last year very supportive for this exploration: Less activities out of habit, fewer courtesy meetings, more intensive contact with few people and more often the question “Is what I plan to do now really important?”
No matter where your life will lead you to in this new year, how many imponderables and storms your path may encounter and how many risks you will dare to take – we at the Visionautik Academy wish you that you can go through this year with confidence, that you will always again encounter islands of stability to hold on to and recharge, that your supporting leg and your free leg are in good balance and that you are accompanied by the certainty: This feels right!