My NBF Contest Pitch: The Greatest Leadership Opportunity of the 21st Century

Socrates /

Posted on: January 25, 2023 / Last Modified: January 25, 2023

This is my 4 min video pitch for the 2023 Nordic Business Forum Speaker Contest. Hope you enjoy it but feel free to let me know if that’s not the case 😉

The Greatest Leadership Opportunity in the 21st Century

A story I stumbled on in 2006 changed my life. “The Singularity is Near” by Ray Kurzweil totally blew my mind. It gave me insight into cool new tech like AI. It gave me meaning, purpose and community. It explained the world and who I was. It also told me I could live forever.

Eventually, I noticed the religious elements of the singularity and its theology of techno-messiahs, Gods, resurrection, and, ultimately, salvation. It provides the same utility, uses the same mechanisms, serves the same function, and has the same power as religion.

This new awareness made me seek the underlying process, and I discovered story. I felt like fish suddenly becoming aware of water. I started noticing how story permeates everything. That is why two people can share the same experience but construct different meanings.

This insight led me to my most profound realization: that our current planetary crisis is a story crisis. A story crisis because we can see our current story ends in our demise, yet we can’t agree on a better one. So, we find ourselves between stories, or what Jonah Sachs calls “the myth gap.”

On such occasions, the human story gets rewritten, and we end up with a revolution. For example, the last major iteration of our story dates to the Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution. Because as Kenneth Burke noted: “Stories are equipment for living. Human beings need storytelling […] to make […] sense out of life.” But our equipment for living has gone obsolete. And unless we upgrade it, we are going to go obsolete too.

Take Climate Change. We have the science. We know what we must do. We know the consequences. We have most tools to make a difference now. Yet we bicker and take insufficient action. That’s because our fragmented stories fail to create shared meaning. No shared meaning, no shared action, and no resolution to our shared problem. But most of our existential issues – like nuclear weapons, pandemics, species extinction or Climate Change, are shared and global.

That is why many find Climate Change depressing. Because we cannot imagine a common story where our global predicament comes to a happy end.

That is also why we must ReWrite the Human Story – a new, shared, global story to unite, inform and guide us.

This is the greatest leadership opportunity of the 21st century.

Because just like sunflowers are heliotropic and orient themselves towards the sun, we humans are storytropic and orient ourselves towards story. Now, our story can have many names: the Singularity, God, Democracy, Human Rights, the Blockchain or Let’s Make America Great Again. But we all turn to story as our compass.

Today our old myths are falling apart. When the stories that are our social glue fall apart, we fall apart. Because there were civilizations without the wheel, guns, steel, or the internet, but there were no civilizations without story.

So, the story I propose is the Multiplicity. But what is the story you propose?


For more like this go here: ReWriting the Human Story

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