World Thinking Day (February 22, 2016) is a tradition celebrated by Girl Scouts to inspire global connections and foster community and dialogue.
On this World Thinking Day, I was inspired to share the value Girl Scouts has given me so those who haven’t been part of the conversations and the community can be invited in.
I was particularly moved by a few conversations that took place at the Wisdom 2.0 Conference (February 20–22, 2016 in San Francisco) starting with Simon Crawford-Ash’s talk on decision-making. He shared that 95 percent of our decisions come from our sub-conscious mind which is influenced by beliefs we have acquired over time that may or may not still be relevant to us. Powerful! If we could give space and permission to open up dialogue with others whose beliefs are different than our own with an intention to seek understanding, what would be possible?
He challenged the audience to deprioritize existing beliefs that keep us from being productive. Think about how limiting beliefs could get in the way of innovation and societal progress.
Leila Janah, award-winning social entrepreneur, founder of Sama Group and Laxmi, shared the flaws of heros. “No human is incapable of human error,” she said. “Ordinary people need to get up and take action, we just need to allow ourselves to see” that we have what it takes.”
I had a conversation over lunch on Saturday about what happens when we let go of intentions and show up simply with the ability to be aware with an interest in understanding others.
What if we could all recognize that “others” aren’t bad because their beliefs are different and instead recognize that person has been influenced by different life experiences. Their decisions are influenced 95 percent of the time by beliefs they hold in their sub-conscious; beliefs they might not even be aware of.
Professor John A. Powell, the director of the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society at the University of California at Berkeley, shared powerful words on otherness and belonging. “We don’t have to like others but we have to hold onto their humanity,” he said. “We must lean into a culture where there is no otherness, there is only belonging.”
What would it take to build relationships with people outside of our existing circles in order to seek understanding and show respect.
I want to include more people in the conversation. I want to create a safe space to engage in a sensitive topic — whether it’s politics, spirituality, money, religion, sex, health care, fitness — with someone whose views are different than mine. I want to say, “You are not wrong. We may have different sets of beliefs and I want to understand you. I want to give us a chance to share an experience together so that we may be better connected and both expand our understandings of the experiences that influence others.”
World Thinking Day is about honoring global experiences and friendships that have enriched our lives.
The more we create relationships with “others” the easier it is to cultivate “belonging” and show respect for others, even with those who don’t agree with us.
Can I challenge each of you to reach out to someone outside of your circles and invite them in? If you were at the Wisdom 2.0 Conference, what piece of wisdom do you most want to impart with others? If you are a Girl Scout, what does World Thinking Day mean for you? Who else would like to share an idea to expand our humanity. Let’s start saying “yes, and… what is possible in the world when we come together to do great things.”
Since 1926, Girl Guides and Girl Scouts all over the world have celebrated World Thinking Day on February 22, to explore and honor the global friendships and experiences that enrich their lives. The theme of this year’s World Thinking Day was “Connect.”