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Change Work April 2009

Dream the impossible dream?

How can a politician inspire us to believe in a brighter future?

The national debt is going to rise to hundreds of billions of pounds and we're all dazedly wondering how everything can have gone so wrong so quickly.  We need policies that will work - but how are we to know what will work?

Most have us have enjoyed rising levels of prosperity throughout our lives.  The coming years are likely to be different.

What if our escape from this situation requires us to do something that we haven't done before?  In her book "The Last Word on Power"*, Tracy Goss puts forward the idea that, as individuals, we are all limited in our future potential by the very thing that got us to where we are now. Each of us has a "winning strategy": ways of behaving, reacting and acting that have worked for us in the past.

However, this strategy also defines the bounds of what is possible for us. There will always be limitations on what can be achieved using any such strategy - the twist here is that we will see anything that's outside the bounds of our own winning strategy as completely impossible. Therefore, we won't do any of the things that might actually move us towards the "impossible" goal.

Therefore, it really is impossible - for us.

The way out of this bind is to commit yourself to a goal that seems beyond you.  One you have no idea how to achieve.  By doing this, you move it into "the realm of the possible" and free your mind to look for ways of moving towards it.  These ways will probably lie outside the range of your old winning strategy.

For all practical purposes, there's nothing you're likely to want to do that hasn't already been done by someone at some time.  Therefore (practically) everything is possible in principle - but your possibilities are limited by your beliefs.

Of course, particular circumstances might obstruct or even defeat you sometimes - but mostly you can find a way to do anything you want if you want it enough.  If you only attempt what seemed possible from within your old strategy then you will certainly not achieve any more.

The Opposition tell us that the Government's plan won't work.  I know that this is their job but I fear that they are fostering a belief that the task is impossible.

On the other hand, I suggest that even the huge job of getting out of debt and recession can be brought into the realm of the possible.  Previous generations have dealt with global recession as well as the economic and social consequences of world wars.  So we have to commit to the goal of recovery - because there are precedents and it can be achieved.

Which politician will inspire us to follow them?

Which politician really wants to?

* The Last Word on Power, Tracy Goss ISBN 978-0385474924