We were extremely happy with the message you delivered. You painted a very clear picture of how we can change our perspectives. It was exactly what we were hoping for – and then some!
— Sharon Calhoun, Senior Vice President, Columbia Bank
Making progress along a knife-edged ridge on earth's crest, above the Arctic Circle, Lofoten Islands, Norway, June 2018

Progressing

Progress, by definition, is a movement toward a goal or higher state.

In the western world, we now understand that the primary pursuit of financial gain as "progress" comes with significant collateral damage. So, we are reexaming our longstanding idea of growth. This does not mean that profitability is unimportant. It does mean that without holistic, balancing practices, singularly-focused economic endeavors are known to cause trauma. This includes environmental destruction, lack of equity, and societal strife.

With this in mind, how should we measure progress? We have plenty of evidence that Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as the main measure of growth manifests behaviors that harm our planet--and each other. Since we know that progress can no longer be just increased financial prosperity, it is important to add offsetting GDPs. Here is one thought: We Goodhearted and Deserving People are capable of no longer Grossly Degenerating our Planet.

Progress begins with collectively understanding and agreeing on common wants and needs. These ideals form the basis for our Greater Good Development Principles.

Every business, educational institution, organization, community and country should aspire to create better places using these guideposts. Workshops and seminars led by Ken Streater can help entities large and small bring these concepts to life as part of their daily practices.

The five principles are:

  1. Common ground is our natural platform. Given that over 70% of people agree on the fundamentals of life, we seek similar things. Always start with what we share. Watch this video.
  2. Regeneration of resources is essential. Economic decisions and actions require honoring ecosystems as finite and fragile. Put community before commodity.
  3. Equality is achieved by unlearning bigotry. And never teaching it again. Having mercy and practicing compassion are integral to this educational and emotional journey.
  4. Success is relative. There is no such thing as growth, prosperity, or success if it comes at the expense of another, the planet, or the greater good. Accomplishment must be humane.
  5. Trust is innate but can be lost, because we are taught to fear. Accountability to oneself and to others is the first step to rebuilding trust. Accountability begets respect. Respect begets trust. 

We are at common ground zero, a metaphoric place on earth that we have never known before. We haven’t been taking good care of each other or our planet. This moment is our common ground launchpad.

Business leaders, community advocates, spiritual advisers, and each one of us can shift what we see by changing what we look for. We can begin to do better by simply looking inside ourselves and asking this question: "What can I do?" This is not a time to focus on how others react to the virus or quarantine or violence or abuse or environmental degradation. This is a time to ask, "What can I do?"

Now is the time to lead, knowing that we have so very much in common. This is the time to make accountability, respect, and trust our most valuable assets. It is the time to operate every day with the five progress principles as part of your decision making and interaction with the world. So, look inside yourself, see others more purely, and recognize the benefit of the greater good. Ask what you can do and then go do those things. Welcome to common ground zero. Welcome to a better world.

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