Leadership and the Environment

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370: Viktor Frankl on the pandemic

Ep. 370

Many people are looking to return to something they can call normal since the pandemic undid their earlier normal. In the meantime they struggle.


Almost everyone I know knows Viktor Frankl's Man's Search for Meaning. I don't know what they think the book applies to, but it applies to exactly this situation. I'll give the perfectly relevant quote here and elaborate in the episode:

We must never forget that we may also find meaning in life even when confronted with a hopeless situation, when facing a fate that cannot be changed. For what then matters is to bear witness to the uniquely human potential at its best, which is to transform a personal tragedy into a triumph, to turn one's predicament into a human achievement.

When we are no longer able to change a situation---just think of an incurable disease such as inoperable cancer---we are challenged to change ourselves.

Again, in the episode, I'll explain how this quote applies to our situation today, if you don't find it obvious already.


The episode refers to my book and three videos that explain step-by-step how to change yourself to turn personal tragedy into triumph.

Actually, two more videos round out that series. The above three frame what to do. The next two explain what to do and how.

More Episodes

9/24/2020

388: Nir Eyal, part 2: Another role model avoiding flying pre-pandemic

Ep. 388
Nir and my second conversation covered how I inspired him and how he inspired me. If I'm not too presumptuous to say I inspired him, the first part is about his choosing to avoid flying. Several months into the pandemic, we're all used to not flying, but when he committed, before the pandemic, most people I talked to called not flying impossible.By contrast, Nir emailed me about 24 hours after our first conversation to say he had already substituted one flight with speaking remotely. In our conversation, he shares about how he made it happen. Then we get into a back and forth about technology. We agreed on some and disagreed on other parts.Then I switched to what he inspired me on: barefoot running. When most people say barefoot running, they mean minimal shoe. Nir was the first person I met who ran without shoes. Finally I had a role model who ran in Manhattan without shoes. I had been sharing with him since our last conversation about my practicing. Finally I could share with him. He shared how he got started, what motivated him.On the other hand, our technology conversation may have sounded annoying. What do you do when you disagree on something? Not talk about it? Avoiding the conflict doesn't resolve it, which is fine on issues that don't matter, but air, land, and water matter. We can not talk about it and just let the ballot box decide. As far as the environment goes, we saw how that worked out in 2016.I hope to run with him when he gets back so New York can see two old men running barefoot together, laughing.
9/21/2020

387: Maja Rosén: Leading not flying

Ep. 387
The not-flying-by-choice community is fairly small. About 80 percent of humans can't fly because they can't, but among people who can but choose not to, we're limited. Still, I can't believe I only found out about Maja recently. A few minutes into her TEDx talk, I knew I had to bring her on.She's avoided flying about double how long I have. I could hear from her every sentence that she's had to face all the addiction speaking of people claiming what I did before I challenged myself to go that first year without flying---"I can't avoid it," "the plane was going to flyanyway," and all that.You know the feeling of understanding and support you get when you talk with someone who has shared a rare experience, nearly universally misunderstood? More than personal understanding, she revealed a situation I dreamed of and intellectually knew would happen, but hadn't heard of.For ten years people in Sweden said what everyone here says about not flying being impossible and all that addiction speaking. Then in the past few years it changed. The logic behind not flying didn't change. The pandemic hadn't hit. Their values didn't change. People talk about how Sweden's culture differs, but this change happened within Sweden, not between Sweden and some other place.She said that when they crossed a threshold of people who considered not flying, people started changing, I believe because their neighbors did. She described how a couple editorials from Swedish celebrities choosing to avoid flying influenced a lot. It sounded like my strategy for this podcast. I'm trying to reach a critical mass of people, focusing on influential people, to where people know someone who has acted.I can't tell you how much our conversation warmed my heart for feeling understood on something I value and for which I felt vulnerable and enthusiastic for seeing a light at the end of a tunnel I've been in now in my fifth year. I can't wait for when culture changes and people treat flying like a rare occasion.I was there. I looked the other way to avoid facing my pollution.There's a way out. We can shake the addiction. The main way out is spending more time with family and your community, gaining more control over your career. It feels impossible. When people around us change, we change. When we change first and others follow, that's leadership. You can help lead us out of this mess.Maja's TEDx talkWe Stay on the GroundFlight Free 2020Flight Free 2020 USA
9/18/2020

386: Bob Inglis, part 1: the EcoRight, a balance to the Environmental Left

Ep. 386
Everyone can lead when everyone around them agrees. How about when your conscience tells you what's right differs from everyone around you?Bob Inglis is a former Congressman from South Carolina---the reddest district in the reddist state, as he puts it. The short story is that he stated he believed the science behind climate change. That was ten years ago. They voted him out.You'll hear in this episode the story of how he transformed to take such a risk, how he responded, and what's come since. Last month he "endorsed Joe Biden for president Monday, arguing the Democratic nominee will help stabilize American politics and restore the country’s institutions."I'm linking to his two TEDx talks, a Frontline interview, and his new organization, RepublicEN, which I recommend no matter your political views. I consider acting on your values leadership. I've met or heard of few people who have led on sustainability as much as Bob. Many people on the left talk about it, but haven't led---that is, they've mostly spoken to people who already agreed with them. They haven't worked with hearts and minds.Most of us want to act on ours but hold ourselves back. I bet you'll find him a role model for actions you've held back on, whether related to nature or elsewhere in life.We talk about meaning, purpose, and faith. I hope we can wrestle the wedge from those at the poles of our polarized society, as Bob spoke at the end.republicENBob at TEDxBeaconStreet: Conservative Climate Change. (No, he's not kidding)Bob at TEDxJacksonville: Changing the Dialogue on Energy and ClimateThe Frontline interview