How Not to Give Up

June 29, 2022 by Joshua
in Habits, Leadership, Tips

A friend emailed to respond to yesterday’s post After the Pride and Queer Liberation Marches 2022: Washington Square Park wrecked again. I could cry to say “I have to admit I can’t even get myself to watch the videos, the images are truly horrifying! I don’t know what to say…”

I responded with a sentiment I’ve posted to this blog before, but I think it bears repeating. Leading in unknown territory, like toward stewardship, where people say they want to go there but do the opposite, is emotionally grueling. It’s lonely and full of people misunderstanding you. Most people act against stewardship without realizing it and get angry when the conflict between the behavior and their identity starts becoming exposed.

The only way to learn to progress in such a context is through experience, I find, which means through making mistakes, which is grueling.

I wrote her back:

crawling through mud

I feel like giving up every day.

One of the most valuable skills I’ve developed is the emotional skill to acknowledge the feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, disgust, futility, inadequacy, and so on, not deny them, but walk back to determination, compassion, empathy, understanding, and motivation to act.

This set of skills, though internal, is as important as, say, implementing the Spodek Method effectively, maybe more. Ultimately it makes watching such videos fuel to lead cultural change. As much as the people who created that mess, from extractor of fossil fuels to manufacturer of doof and plastic crap to vendor to purchaser to influencers and so on, believed they were creating carefree fun and joy, they’ll appreciate more genuine fun and joy based in stewardship, honoring people, and honoring nature all the more.

I’m no world master at these skills, but I’ve developed them beyond what I would have considered possible years ago. I still have a long way to go.

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