Sunday, 3 August 2014

Iceland, again

I love the fact that after the financial collapse in Iceland, visionary peace builders organised conversation cafes that involved more than 20,000 people in discussions about values. People felt betrayed by aggressive get-rich-quick schemes, but they also acknowledged that they themselves had participated in these schemes in the fever to acquire more stuff. Conscious of the ruin that they had brought upon themselves, they scrutinised their leaders and saw that it was time to look for a new kind of leadership that displayed honesty, humility and integrity. They saw that at the root of dysfunctional leadership was a kind of hyperserious meanness and self-importance. They voted into office as mayor of Reyjkavik a brilliant comedian, who also turned out to be a brilliant politician. In the end, once they had explored their values more thoroughly, the people found that they were safer with leaders who could authentically be themselves and not always take themselves so seriously. It is promising when so many people can sit and talk with one another and then make breakthrough choices.

Excerpted from Cultivating Peace by James O'Dea

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