This is another conclusion to the last post, hopefully summarising it.

Please remember I have no particular credibility, so this is simply advice that may or may not be useful to you.

I also apologise for being a more hectoring than is probably necessary, so just ignore that if you can… and see whether anything is worthwhile.

It seems that in the crises we face, both business and state are implicated, so we have to work at the levels we can work at, and not hope that someone else will solve problems for us.

What to do in a crisis, personal or social

1 Recognise and accept the problems

  • This can be difficult. and may require patience. If you really accepted the problems then you might be dealing with them already.
  • You may have developed social and psychological defences against the problems, or be trying to persuade yourself the problems are not real.
  • You might recognise some problems and deny others. No one is perfect.
  • If lots of people identify a problem, there may be something in it.
  • You may be frightened of the problems. Accept the fear and the problem.
  • Blame, especially angry blame, is usually a defence, aimed at making you feel innocent and better.
  • It is probably the system that is at fault not individuals.
  • Problematic systems interact. Those interactions can be reinforcing of the problem, or possibly, opposing/balancing the problem.
  • In a complex system, there may be people at fault, and that may include you, but this means that you can possibly make a helpful change wherever you are.

2 Taking responsibility

  • Take responsibility for what you can do and for recognising the problems you, and others, face. That’s all.
  • That the problems are systemic does not mean you can do nothing.
  • Every small improvement counts
  • If you are the CEO of a heavily polluting company you have more responsibility for what that company does, and more capacity to act, than does a worker. This does not mean that you won’t face significant opposition. But you may have any easier option to make things a bit better.
  • Team up with others to make a greater difference, and to support each other.
  • Have some self compassion for failure. You probably will fail some of the time, perhaps most of the time.
  • Beware of acts which can diminish your responsibility, such as angry blame.
  • Don’t be afraid of experiment – but check its unlikely to harm others – look for what is happening as a result of the experiment.
  • You don’t know how much improvement a situation can tolerate until you try.

3 Keeping what works

  • Identify what what works ‘well enough’ in your life
  • Build on that.
  • When you team up with others, also recognise what is working in that team up, and for other people.
  • Learn from each other. Everyone has slightly different experiences and understandings.
  • However, sometimes what worked, can now form an obstacle to further progress. Does it need to be abandoned or modified?
  • It may be worth trying to take back the State, but this seems difficult in the extreme. It is probably best to work one seat at a time, in areas you can affect.

Final comments

It is up to us. In one sense, there is no one else available, although the crises need many of us. This means we have to look after ourselves, and not flog ourselves to death. Humans need rest. They need breaks. They need enjoyment, as well as dedication.

Final point. It is normal for plans not to work out, or for actions to have unexpected consequences. This is not a matter for blame but for learning. No matter how nice an idea sounds, it may not work in the real world, and we often learn by doing.