Rethinking Everything

by Scott Noelle

In a world of overwhelming complexity and too many choices, having answers feels a lot better than having more questions. That’s why so many people would rather stick with established answers than seek new ones.

But when you embrace a whole new paradigm — like the shift from control-oriented values to partnership values — then it’s time to rethink everything.

Fortunately, you can do that with one simple fill-in-the-blank question:

In a partnership world, what would take the place of ______?

Just fill in any practice or institution that feels less than wonderful when you think about it.

In a partnership world, what would take the place of...

  • punishments, rewards, threats, time-outs, and “consequences”?
  • compulsory education, age segregation, and grading?
  • shame, blame, accusation, and revenge?
  • the fear and domination of nature?
  • the battle of the sexes?
  • the daily grind?
  • etc.

New answers may not always be obvious, but you can always get a sense of how a good new answer will feel: it’s the opposite of how the old answer feels!

Then you can let go and trust that you’ll feel when you’ve stumbled into a new answer that’s right for you.

PS: It’s easier to figure out what things look like in this new world if you remember that in partnership you don’t care who’s right or wrong. Rather, you’re interested in what works for everyone, and you understand that finding what works is a creative process

Originally published on 2015-02-28
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