We’re at an interesting pivot point, I think. After weeks of lockdown and moving around in small circles, the broader world is slowly, cautiously, opening back up. Every place is a little different, just like everyone’s opinion is a little different. People have different levels of skin in the game, which can be good because it can bring a better perspective. What will be most interesting for from a systems-perspective will be how things do or do not change as things fall back into place . . . perhaps some things will fall back into place while other things fall off the board completely.
Andy Crouch and the team at Praxis Labs have been meeting and are releasing some of their thoughts about some way forward. I’ve posted about their thoughts a couple of times before. In a post today, the group articulated some of their own founding, guiding principles. The whole piece is definitely worth a read and reflection. Something that resonated with me based on the idea of “stress tests” and what we’ve learned particularly in the context of withdrawal and control:
Withdrawal is the option of simply minimizing one’s responsibility and risk, often by revisiting the safety we experienced, or wish we had, in our childhood. Some of our Withdrawal responses are almost unconscious and involuntary — many of us have found ourselves sleeping far more than at any time in our adult lives . . .
Others have headed toward the Control quadrant to deal with the out-of-control nature of our times. We have been tempted to read incessantly, to “master” subjects like epidemiology in order to have a clear line of sight for what is coming next. Addictions and other compulsive behaviors are the classic results of a quest for control, and sometimes withdrawal as well . . .
All these dynamics were present before the Covid-19 crisis, to be sure — but just as the stress test reveals the underlying disease that might have initially presented as a fairly minor symptom, so this crisis has shown that we are far from being the persons, friends, family members, and leaders that we want to be. If the crisis were just a “blizzard” that is going to pass quickly, allowing us to return to normal, we might be able to ignore the results of this test. But if we are entering into an enduring season of new challenges, it would be wise to use this chance to diagnose the true state of our heart and accept a prescription and a training plan for improved health in the coming weeks and months.
From there, the article focuses on the “Praxis Rule of Life” and how this like time, money, and decision-making might have been affected by Our Current Moment. I like the use of the word “remedy” throughout this part of the piece.
I like the Praxis thinks about their task (which is about entrepreneurial work but can be generalized to other areas of life), particularly about “creative restoration through sacrifice.”
The article ends with an articulation of a “first task” moving forward:
So our first task, as we step out of the blizzard into the conditions of a wintry season and possibly a permanently changed climate, is to become the kinds of people who can give ourselves, not just in ambition or aspiration, but with actual authority and capacity, to the work of creative restoration through sacrifice. What practices do we need to commit to, or recommit to, in light of the hard truths we’ve learned about ourselves in the crucible of suffering? What will help us become the people we know we are meant to be? And whom do we trust enough to ask them to help us get there? Answering these questions, and acting on the answers, will prepare us for leadership in winter, and beyond.
All good questions to think through over the next few days and weeks. You can read the whole article here. Highly recommended.