Rob: I think that something that activists really need to think about--the whole idea that beneath the surface things are happening, that growth is occurring--preparing for a sudden burst of growth that doesn't happen, sometimes, until much later. I really like that metaphor: growing bamboo. I love it actually.
Peggy: I know that has been helpful to me, particularly when you're working on something as ambitious as, "What does it take to change a social system?" That's not something that happens overnight. You can look back to any great movement and see an occasional burst of radical shift, followed by years of incremental changes in course corrections.
And then, I think the next section of the book sits in the middle ground at about a 10,000 foot level, and it's a set of principles that say, "Okay, if this pattern of change, this disruption, differentiation coherence, is something that you can predict, what are some principles that help up work effectively with that, as we think about going about our daily lives, or if we're planning some kind of interaction?" And so these principles for me, grew out of the work I've been doing in organizations and communities, bringing diverse large groups of people together and the science of emergence like this idea that "no one is in charge," have taught us. And there are five of those principles and the first one is the notion of "welcoming disturbance," and this goes back to what I was saying earlier. Since disturbance is the doorway to change, rather than fighting it, resisting it, etc, the more capable we become at being present to what shows up, getting curious about, "Okay, what does it have to offer and what can we do with it?" It becomes an entryway into possibility, and curiosity becomes a tool, and actually feedback that I've gotten from folks as they've run into the book is, just that idea of welcoming disturbance can be life changing.
Rob: It's interesting. I mentioned to you in our email exchange, back in the late 80s, I came up with this anatomy of positive experience, which was a series of stages and steps to go through and one thing a friend Gary Schwartz, the professor of the University of Arizona has talked about, is this idea of being prepared for the unexpected.
Rob: And I think that's what we're talking about here. Generally, what I've written about is if you want to be prepared for moments when you encounter situations that you didn't plan for. And you want to have in your mind a way to deal with it--a set of instructions for yourself. I've given myself permission when I encounter something I wasn't planning on to break out of the ordinary, to break my routine, to stop where I was going, to readjust my schedule, and to just stop and interact.
Peggy: I think that's a terrific example, because that disruption becomes the doorway not to resistance, but the doorway to creativity and we get there by doing exactly what you're saying: break a habit, do something different. And so one of the notions that I think of, one of these principles is based on the idea, "Be a Pioneer." And it's partially because [of], in all of the experimentation, it accelerates the feedback. So, where we find out, "Well, that didn't work," or "that did!" we want to do more of that.
So, the lots of experimentation, lots of breaking old habits, trying things new, and coupled with what we do, who we do it with. So, back to the notion of "No One in Charge," one of the ideas is to encourage random encounters. Go talk to people you don't usually interact with. Show up in their world and do some listening and observing and learning as part of that experimentation. Invite them to play with you. And there's a notion in one of the processes that I've worked with: appreciative inquiry of improbable partners, because it's very often at the intersection of unexpected partnerships that breakthroughs occur.