Winning Hearts and Minds

I was the smart kid in school. I thought others might be impressed or at least appreciative when I had the correct answer and made sure everyone knew, but as you might guess, this didn’t always work out well for me.  Even if I was right.

During the recent presidential election, my facts went particularly limp. I became frustrated when I could no longer hit people over the head with facts. I “knew” that people don’t like to be hit over the head with anything, but I really believed that facts — by definition — are what we agree upon. My heart knows however, that facts end up being mere words. My heart knows the heart carries more power than any words.

Perhaps this is why the English expression “winning hearts and minds” puts the heart before the mind. We can’t know something unless it feels right.

But let’s come back to that in a moment.

As Trump took office and began moving the country in a new direction, I was one of many who struggled with how to engage, how to persuade, and even how to have a discussion that could avoid devolving into talking past each other. All communication depends on a shared perspective, and if facts were no longer able to establish that shared outlook, then where does that leave discussion? Where does it leave our news and information sources? Where does it leave our relationships? Where does it leave our democracy?

Man is a social animal. We prefer the company of those who are like us, and it’s natural to choose sides, but what if those sides become so separated they no longer share perspective. Or worse, what if one side demonizes the other. The worst moments in history have happened when one side believed the other side was sub-human and could be excluded from society, or even eliminated from the planet.

With no rudder to steer my course and unable to find a fact-based bridge, I stepped outside the divide. My solace was to dis-engage. Removing the stimulation of needing to “fix all the alternate facts” gave me space to recover, but it also left me without motivation. After reading a book called “Start with Why” (5-min video), I understood I was being stirred rather than inspired. Turning off the outside clamor allowed my inner voice to be heard.

My heart-illuminated quest led this fact-based scientist down unfamiliar paths — it led me to consider heart-felt compassion for both sides.

Now, an idea doesn’t spread unless it’s message is shared, and the message isn’t shared unless it says something about its speaker. For me — on my path — the message is this:

Listen to your heart and you’ll connect with dreams, but listen to the salesman, and maybe you’ll latch onto a dream, but it won’t be your dream.

We all have our own paths, and we all have our own dreams.  Left alone, we would gravitate toward inspiration and light. In the presence of clamor vying for our attention, the light sometimes grows dim, or even goes out. We forget about our dreams and replace them with substitutes.

One of the top regrets of the dying is not having lived a life true to their own dreams. Our chance is now if we want to avoid that regret.

Angels inspire us toward the light. Angel Factories are inspiration distilleries, crystallizing the awareness, skill, capacity and leadership to build angels, each of whom follow their own path, a path of their own choosing. By distilling what makes a good angel, I’m following a path I hope inspires us to find our own light, to find our own path.

 

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