I once heard an astronaut say that his favorite memory of the view from space was that he could not see land dividers. He only saw the beautiful planet that we all live on. Imagine no dividers. Some of you might be tempted to stop reading here or put a label on me because the thought scares you. You might be thinking that all the dividers are keeping us safe (or the lack of dividers are putting us in danger) but let’s go up a little higher than the immigration debate for a moment.
I have never read the training manual for terrorists but I would bet the farm that it starts with division. You’ve heard the term: divide and conquer. It is easier to conquer smaller groups. Groups that are not unified are not as strong. So that is their first step: divide the masses. Division at all levels is a good thing for terrorists. A divided human race, a divided continent, a divided country, a divided community, even a divided family. The more division the better.
Terrorists want to get people really fired up and angry and they love it when leaders do their work for them. Their goal: make people think that they don’t need anyone!
That leads right to step two: recruit the people that are on the “outside fringe” and angry. Find people who have been judged, name called and excluded so much that they have a major chip on their shoulder. Their hurt has progressed to anger, then hate and now they don’t value life. It is so much easier to throw away a life (their own or those of others) if they don’t see any value to it.
The trouble shooting section of the terrorist manual might address the issue of not enough recruits. Maybe they just wait until someone comes along to fire up the masses. History has shown that these people always show up. I don’t need to name them. We all know who they were and who they are today. They are masters at creating angry mobs using fear tactics. If we study the history of war, it was always the result of firing up the masses about something. These types of leaders don’t believe in facilitating solutions. That’s too hard. They just yell about everything, point fingers and paint the gloom and doom picture! One side against the other.
Is anything sounding familiar here?
If you happen to be using or buying in to these tactics to forward your cause, the terrorists thank you. But the rest of us want you to knock it off. Problems will never be solved this way.
For the last fifteen years I have taught classes in a global, virtual (online) classroom. Most of the students were 25 years of age or older and they were attending problem solving and leadership classes on behalf of various companies in all kinds of businesses located around the globe. The universal similarities far outweighed the differences. Why? Because we are all human beings and I believe that the similarities are there to unite us and the differences are there to help us need others. We are meant to work together in collaboration. Not divided in judgement.
We all know that there are many problems to solve. Big ones. There always have been and always will be. But history has taught us how to solve them. Work together peacefully and open up our minds. Who cares if others are different? That is by design. Does anyone want a whole planet of people that are exactly the same? That would be like a whole sports team of goalies.
Let’s not be the generation that future generations scratch their heads about. We don’t want to be a generation that is so busy yelling about the problems that we can’t find our way to the solutions.
We have shown that we can unite. The collaboration tools are in place. We have done it so many times in the face of tragedy. Now it is time to do it in peace. How? I have some ideas:
- Stay calm at all costs.
- Resist the labeling and name calling and don't wear labels given to you (click here for help with labeling less.).
- Recognize that fear and anger are dangerous sales tactics and do not buy in to them. Violence is never justified.
- Model a problem solving process that looks for root causes versus pointing fingers. We won’t solve all the problems but at least we won’t be credited with living in the Era that didn’t improve human relations ... or even worse: lost ground.
Realistically, we will probably be long gone before our individual efforts reap big rewards but aren’t we enjoying the rewards of earlier generations that sacrificed for us? Shouldn’t we do the same for future generations? All countries need to look for leaders that will facilitate versus dictate and unite versus divide. Calmly and confidently.
Sorry terrorists. We’ve had enough of your violence and we are united in that sentiment. Let’s go from there.