July 22, 2020
This chapter is targeted to right within the second COVID-wave. It’s a letter to the near future. With leadership, I don’t mean bossy figures who tell others what to do. You might take a look at my book ‘Open Leadership.’ This leadership is Compassionate. It takes into account the human being as a total person, far from mere-ego. We need this more than ever in times of COVID. Namely, in being genuinely, deeply oneself, one finds the Inner Strength that gives one a more direct influence also upon health-related issues that otherwise remain out of reach. This includes stress, distress, and its impact on the body in many ways, including immunologically. In a few words, leadership is good for health; bossiness is bad for health.
So, good leadership – which, to me, is always Open – is crucial these days. The message that goes from this to the entire population has a subconceptual influence (deep-to-deep) that is an essential tool to curb the COVID-whirlpool. Open Leadership alleviates the COVID-whirlpool, just by being Open. So, the first piece of advice to leadership is to be or become Open. How-to? This chapter contains some suggestions.
Motivation, the Open way
Telling someone what to do is not motivation. It’s like pushing a ball underwater, but this ball grows bigger and bigger. It takes an increasing amount of energy to keep the ball immersed. With less push, it comes nearer to the surface. This may heighten the pusher’s conviction that more energy is needed. When the energy suddenly gets depleted, the ball breaks through the surface with a full splash. Everything is wet. That’s because there was never any motivation in the first place.
All motivation is deep motivation. You need to find out what a person would do without you telling him so. You need to lead a person to what already motivates him from inside out. Easier said than done. People are not always in contact with their genuine self. For instance, one may work for a few decades, then find out that this has never been what one really wanted to do all along. Inner dissociation: people are living on a surface level that doesn’t accord with deep-inside. As an unfortunate side effect, one may get into a groove of addictive behavior. The addiction sucks out genuine motivational energy. Many people are ‘addicted’ to many things – one more superficial than the other – and prone to burnout. This makes them especially vulnerable to a stress-virus that seeks this out as its niche. Something like COVID was bound to happen, and it is bound to happen again if humanity keeps following the same track.
Every communication should be oriented to being motivational. People need it not only to do what’s needed but also to replenish – while doing so! – their batteries. This is a task of Open Leadership. It’s what leadership should be remunerated for. Without good leadership, there is no good communication and eventually a choice only between manipulation and coercion, such as trying to ‘make’ people follow the social distancing rules, or sending in the COVID police and starting repression.
We will need to wear face masks for quite some time. If we are not genuinely motivated, after a while, we will experience ‘motivation fatigue.’ Our incentive will dwindle. We’ll even get demotivated. If demotivated, people always find reasons for not doing the right thing. This is not just a conscious process. People may really, yet incorrectly think they are not wearing it ‘for a just cause’ (freedom, religion…). Look at the motivation literature: people find to a huge degree reasons that are not their true reasons. In specific experiments, subjects are led to believe that they have made a different choice than they just happened to make (one picture over another). Even more, without hesitation nor conscious awareness, the subjects concoct reasons why they think they just made the choice which they actually didn’t. Likewise, people may not wear face masks for reasons that are not their genuine reasons. The main reason may be a natural dislike of blocking one’s airflow, as simple as that. This complicates the matter towards letting people motivate themselves from inside. It’s by far not enough to ask them about their motivations. One needs to go deeper. This can only be done through deep-to-deep communication.
Moreover, if one pushes the wrong motivational buttons, the reflex of the to-be-motivated-person is that “this reason why I should conform to the rules, doesn’t conform with me.” The natural result is demotivation.
It is scientifically evident – not only a possibility – that other people die because of one’s not wearing a mask. Then look at COVID-parties. Are these youngsters not aware of that? Of course, they are. But young people need to get out their energy, dance, and do all they spontaneously do. So, are young people murderers? Of course not. They do what youngsters do if not motivated towards other behavior. Their present behavior is, of course, not correct, but the source of their behavior is correct indeed. So, if you want to quell that source, or if you don’t make the right distinction between source and outcome, you are fighting against humanity and against nature itself. That is not efficient at all. So, don’t look at them as murderers or as ‘guilty’ of anything. Instead, look at the situation as one of joint responsibility to make the best of it.
In any case, if there wouldn’t have been younger generations over many generations, there would not be people. Looking at youngsters is looking at humankind. That is who we are as a species. If an older person blames a younger one for being young, he is blaming himself. Not efficient. As a leader, you should avoid stepping into these footsteps.
Instead, younger generations are to be motivated as younger generations. They can be Compassionate too, from inside out. They need motivation for that. They need to see why, as Compassion always does. Otherwise, it’s mechanical. In a society in which no wisdom is respected, mostly information and data – and money, of course – older generations are readily disrespected and put aside. Why would one wear a face mask to protect them? One communication may be that this is what a Compassionate society eventually stands for. This is what makes us good people. This is what makes humankind a good species.
Already in May, some people just had enough of it. They didn’t want to care anymore. What remained, was a wanting to get out, or get in: inside their mental bubble where COVID only reaches one as a distant dream from which one will awake one day. This amounts to a sheer feeling of being fed up with an unwelcome reality. It’s not denial. It’s not carelessness. It’s a numbness, a feeling of wanting to go to a mental and moral desert where one can wait for the problems to go away miraculously, or for others to make the problems go away. It’s all just too much. It’s above carelessness. The caring, in a deep sense, has evaporated.
Now, in July, after a few weeks of thinking it will go better until it passes, the idea comes to an increasing number of people that it will not be over soon. Worse: perhaps, the worse has yet to come. As indeed, it will. So, here’s the fed-up-feeling, and that too will get stronger. A side effect is that those who try to warn for some pretty bad months readily feel hostility from those who are fed up and actively block out anything that threatens their mental bubble.
Open communication from leadership, not even necessarily deep-to-deep, but just open, may be crucial. This way, in communication, a leader may also share his feelings. If he’s not open, he will not be sharing, and that shows one way or another. Thereby, the leader fails in his main leader’s function: to be there as a human being and, at the same time, in his symbolic function, representing ‘something higher.’ That something higher is many things, above all else the real symbol, which is hard to comprehend. It also includes the representation of the group as a team. Members of the team look at the leader to mold their expectations, sometimes even their feelings. Without team-feeling, people may be like projectiles being thrown through the air until being fed up. A leader brings people together, not just in words but truly, and enables them to trust each other and the group as a whole. Working together, the future will be a success. This is necessary within open communication.
Without this open communication, trust will vanish. Guiding people like puppets on a string is short-lived. The puppets lose momentum until there is none left. Contrary to this, open communication shows trustworthiness. One may show one’s doubt, no problem in that. A boss thrives on certainty, not a leader. A leader shows how he tries to make the best of it for all people concerned. That includes doubt. In this, as in many things, bossiness grows out of a relative lack of leadership. There is no blame for things past, but a responsibility towards the future.
If possible, an ‘enemy’ should be avoided. In the case of the virus, the enemy is readily chosen. Such enemy-picking is the easiest way out of genuine leadership. It also communicates aggression and is this way, before you know it, one more element in the COVID-whirlpool. Uniting people because of the unison itself is much more positive. Therefore, it is much better to avoid all talk about ‘fighting the virus, defeating the virus, killing the virus.’ The virus is, strictly seen, not even alive. Moreover, if fighting happens in an individual case of disease, what is being fought against is the patient himself. Who can think that this doesn’t play a role at the subconceptual pattern level? It may do so to a life-threatening degree.
Stress can profoundly change people
People react differently when under severe stress. Everybody may have had such experiences at oneself or others. A Compassionate way is to accept this and make the best of it. In times of corona, this may play a huge role, which is obvious to anyone who lives it. People may react more short-tempered. There is more misunderstanding, more aggression, more egotism, narrowness, survival instinct. It’s harder to be Compassionate. This can deteriorate in a vicious circle. A political manipulator may abuse this for own gains or even simply out of post-traumatic revenge. A leader is needed to prevent this.
Leadership, stress, and burnout are deeply related to each other. Open Leadership alleviates stress within a population. This may not be readily visible in individual cases. Yet, it can have an abundance of influence upon many personal lives. These people are not necessarily grateful because they don’t necessarily see where it comes from. On the other hand, contented people make a society that is as friendly to the leader as the leader is to the people. The ancient Chinese had a strong opinion about this. For them, the well-being of the empire and all citizens was dependent on the way of the leader, perhaps most of all in an invisible, non-dualistic (= subconceptual) sense. This points to non-conscious processing, and Openness in Leadership. At least, the intuition was very much alive. This is relevant in times of corona. We all need such leadership now, independently of whether the political system is a democracy or a one-party system.
Aurelis app + Lisa
A bold statement: when everybody uses this app, the whirlpool does not ‘take hold’ in many individuals, as well as in large groups. To divulge it as widely as possible, the app is made available for free. In my view, it should be given attention to by all. There are many lives to be saved. The background for this app is one of body-mind-unity and trust in one’s inner strength from inside out. Culturally, these are not evident. Many people, including physicians, live and work in another mind frame and thus may experience difficulty in accepting the app’s efficiency. That is very much a pity. The result in human suffering is tremendous on many levels, in many domains. Looked upon from a future perspective, it’s mindboggling.
With Lisa (A.I.-driven coach-bot), the whirlpool may even turn the other way. People can be approached individually and as efficiently as possible. Mental exercises can be molded on a personal basis. Moreover, with real-world evidence research, Lisa can be continually enhanced, as well as scientifically investigated. This is a future I wish to be in.