For those that follow my blog, you will know that I promised to step outside of 'Overton's Window'. This is one such time. To challenge my thinking, to push myself and my understanding further, to realise that uncomfortableness is a means by which we can move towards better.
Unprecedented, never before, unique. This is how we have described our current situation. We're wrong of course.
The thing is, in the infinite history of time, this situation is/will probably be none of these things, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that it feels like that. To us. Now.
In the history of time this is not unprecedented.
In the history of time this is not unique.
In the history of time this is not a one time thing.
Probability theory tells us this.
So, if we can get past that, if we can move past these words, we are then free to make choices,
Choices about what the opportunities are,
Choices about what our challenges are,
Choices about the direction we seek to go, and
Choices about what we stand for.
It was Pema Chodron in her book called ‘When Things Fall Apart’ who suggested we should 'abandon hope'. She writes,
“If we’re willing to give up hope that insecurity and pain can be exterminated, then we can have the courage to relax with the groundlessness of our situation. This is the first step on the path.”
Abandoning hope, of course, seems to go against everything we have been taught. It flies in the face of how as individuals, as a culture, we have been brought up.
But let's just sit with it for a moment.
Let's open Overton's Window. Let's see where this goes.
I think what Pema is saying here is that the first step of our journey, any journey perhaps, should be the understanding that in order to experience things as fully as possible, we need to give up a 'hope'...specifically the hope that everything will be as we want it to be. It’s about realising that the suffering and pain we might be experiencing now, for example, is just something that’s part of life and to hope that it will disappear is futile.
When we are willing to accept this, we can then begin on the path towards better, but not until we do. But by accepting this, we also are able to experience all future possibilities with more openness and less fear.
What has this to do with 'compliance'?
Well, as you will all be aware, I have been of the view for some time that compliance neither exists, nor is it something we can do. We have to abandon the 'hope' of compliance in order to move towards the possibility of compliance.
Look at it this way.
There will always be 'non-compliance'. That does exist.
In fact, it's not just that it exists, it's actually an inevitability. All systems, all processes, all things lead and tend towards chaos, so non-compliance as an outcome is ever present. It doesn't matter how many policies, procedures, systems or controls you put in place, they will fail.
With this in mind then, we have to give up the hope of ever being compliant. If we can do this though, as strange as it seems, it frees us to begin earnestly on the road towards better 'compliance', because we can work on it,
With acceptance, and
With an understanding that whilst failure is inevitable, being open to failure brings a much wider and deeper opportunity for better.
Compliance doesn't exist, but non-compliance is inevitable. If we can give up the 'hope' that we will ever be compliant, we can then start on the journey towards better.