Three Cups of Tea. What a life changing book. Not only is this book about a powerful strategy for healing the world, it is about what we should be doing, being in conversation with others in the world so that we can build bridges and schools rather that attack and demonize those who like us are simply trying to take care of their friends and families the best way they know how. What is absolutely clear to me is that the only way to understand others, to build relationships, is through conversation. As Margaret Wheatley says, “I believe we can change the world if we start listening to one another again. Simple, honest, human conversation. Not mediation, negotiation, problem-solving, debate, or public meetings. Simple, truthful conversation where we each have a chance to speak, we each feel heard, and we each listen well.”
This is indeed the essence of leadership. Simple honest human conversation. When was the last time that you had a simple honest human conversation with your team members, your family, your friends, or those you simply do not understand? This is a question that we must all ask ourselves. Only through conversations will we ever connect and help others grow, learn, understand, and thrive as humans. This is our opportunity as humans. As I read Three Cups of Tea I was struck with not only Greg’s passion and abilities, but his willingness to open his heart and simply be in conversation with others. Because he was able to listen and learn, his heart and the hearts of those he hoped to help were opened to possibilities. He saw possibilities and greatness in the people of Northern Pakistan. What if we all saw possibilities in those from other cultures, faiths, and traditions? Then simply engaged with them in conversation. We too could change the world.
It has been a while since I felt like something was so important that I needed to write about it. So in this post I suggest a call to action. Not simply an intellectual exercise, but a commitment to contribute our knowledge, our time, our heart, and our dollars to support the efforts of the Central Asia Institute and its mission to build schools to educate girls in this part of the world. We can change the world, one child at a time, one school at a time.
Engage in conversations around questions that matter. And then act to help change the world.
Your friend in conversation,