Six New, New Things I Learned from Wisdom 2.0

By February 26, 2013Leadership

Wisdom 2.0Mindful curiosity can take you on new paths of understanding and discovery. About two years ago, I became aware of Wisdom 2.0. I always had a conflict when the conference was held, but this year it was a clear path.

After just completing almost three days of attending sessions and engaging in wonderful conversations with different attendees, I feel blessed for having the opportunity to participate. The conference brought together an interesting tapestry of people. I met professors, coaches, teachers, technology experts, and business leaders. The ages crossed every generation, bringing people together to explore mindfulness, spirituality, technology, business, and purpose.

Six New, New Things Learned

As I sift through my notes and thoughts, I center on six key things I learned.

1 – New ways to organize.

Old organization structures are being challenged. In many ways, they are outdated, especially given newer technologies and a refreshed spirit in workplaces. Whether it is holocracy or conscious organizations, there is a center within each that really focuses on giving people the authority and responsibility to make decisions and center on true company and individual purpose.

As part of an older generation, I am energized by what is unfolding in organizations. It takes what Reengineering the Corporation espoused many years ago and wraps it in transparency, real empowerment, flexible teams, and a diligent focus on purpose.

2 – New ways to lead.

Here is a sample of what I heard from different CEOs. Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn, talked of his personal vision “to expand the world’s collective wisdom and compassion.” Evan Williams, co-founder of Twitter and Obvious, discussed seceding control to a holocracy constitution and loving what it is doing within his organization in making the “implicit explicit.” And then Bill Ford, Executive Chairman of Ford Motor Company, discusses his mindfulness practices and what it has meant in steering his company and family business in new directions and compassionate ways.

There is a new way to lead, and it isn’t necessarily soft. It is focused on core principles of values, purpose, mindfulness, compassion, and raising the level of positive difference profit-driven corporations can make in the world.

3 – New ways to connect.

In an “always on” society, we can reach people outside our immediate borders and learn, grow, and do more. At the same time, a socially connected world requires us to seek solitude at times. Solitude enables us to connect to ourselves. It is where we gather ourselves to engage in better conversations. This is a new imperative.

In our social world, we need to connect outwardly to advance our missions while also connecting inside to ensure we understand our purpose and are keeping on the right path forward.

4 – A new attractiveness.

We see beauty around us. It is snow-capped mountains. It is fresh blooming flowers. It is two people dancing in complete rhythm. There is attractiveness beyond the visual obvious. There is an endearing attractiveness to kindness and understanding. People in enduring relationships find the most attractive quality to be these two.

We need to smile at others, showing our kindness in our outward expressions and actions. We need to listen mindfully, seeking to understand their point of view and emotional, spiritual, and life place.

5 – New way to think.

Mindfulness may hit people in a number of ways. It could be meditation or new age. It could be Eastern religion. It could be complex, not knowing where to start. Whatever it may mean, we need to release our preconceived notions and breathe in time to think, wonder, and create anew.

Mindfulness is a way to raise our self-awareness and our awareness of others. Centering our thoughts is vital. It is about awareness plus attentiveness.

6 – A new practice.

And, in here, it all comes together. One of the most common words heard during the three days was “practice.” Mindfulness is a practice. Creating new habits requires new practices. Creating new thoughts requires practice. Things are not going to just happen. If we want to rise up to a fresh level, then we need to adopt certain practices to achieve new understandings and leadership ways.

There is a discipline required. Whether it is 20 or 60 minutes per day, it starts with a minute each day. New practices begin by doing, finding a consistent point of time to gain momentum and renew attentiveness and understanding.

What Is New Is Old Refreshed

In short, there it is… yet there is so much to it than just these six lessons learned. What I know is this: these new ways will sink further in and be an instigator of change from within. From here, the lessons will emerge in my actions and in my writing. So, be forewarned!

As I think about Wisdom 2.0, it also dawns on me that there may not be all that much new in what was said. Much of the content was based on old principles and practices. Just as it is curious to see Wisdom 2.0 stenciled on an old, tired sign outside the exhibition center, it seems to say we can – and should – take old ways and breathe new life into them and apply them more diligently in our hyper-enabled technology world.

The old sign sends a call to action and reconsideration. Moving from outside to inside, we see a vibrant and thoughtful community. It sets an example of not discarding traditions or values. Instead, it calls us to go deeper inside ourselves and use them to re-center, re-focus, and rejuvenate. In our technology-driven world, the mindful call is stronger than ever before.

Be open to explore. Be open to discover. What we may find is value in old philosophies and practices and we can apply them in new, new ways.

Jon Mertz
Jon Mertz is one of the Top 100 Thought Leaders in Trustworthy Business and highlighted as one of the Leaders to Watch in 2015 by the American Management Association. He also is the author of Activate Leadership: Aspen Truths to Empower Millennial Leaders. Jon serves as vice president of marketing at Corepoint Health. Outside of his professional life, Jon brings together a community to inspire Millennial leaders and close the gap between two generations of leaders.
Jon Mertz
Jon Mertz

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Join the discussion 21 Comments

  • Darlene Mininni says:

    This is a wonderful article, Jon. I agree that we expand our capacity to do good in the world when we strengthen our own inner wisdom. Like you, I’ve been following Wisdom 2.0 since it started, and I plan for 2014 to be my year to attend!

    • Jon M says:

      That is great, Darlene. I don’t think you will be disappointed. Great people. Great content. Thanks for stopping by. Very grateful. Thanks! Jon

  • Peter Watts says:

    Inspiring article Jason. Looking forward to reading more of your Wisdom 2.0 posts. Points 1 & 2 inspire me particularly; here’s to new ways to organise, and new ways to lead

  • Alli Polin says:

    Jon –

    I’m inspired just from reading your post! To be in it for nearly three days must have been amazing. I admit, I was not familiar with this conference but took a quick look at their website. Living with greater presence, meaning and mindfulness in the technology age can be a challenge. Thank you for the reminder that it starts with putting a practice into motion even for a few minutes at a time. Makes it feel do-able.

    Fantastic post, Jon! Thanks for sharing your learning!

    • Jon M says:

      Thank you so much, Alli! It was a great conference, and it raised my awareness on the importance of being fully present with ourselves and others. Practice will be the key! Thanks again! Jon

  • […] Six New, New Things I Learned from Wisdom 2.0 Written by: Jon Mertz […]

  • Sounds like an absolutely amazing conference! Thanks for sharing your learnings.

  • Susan Mazza says:

    It is inspiring to hear about a conference that brought so many people from different disciplines to connect on such an “ancient” level. This comment from you in particular was music to my mind and heart:

    “There is a new way to lead, and it isn’t necessarily soft. It is focused on core principles of values, purpose, mindfulness, compassion, and raising the level of positive difference profit-driven corporations can make in the world.”

    It was not long ago that this way of leading a profit driven corporations was considered naive at best and delusional at worst. When we actually start to apply the wisdom of the ages in how we leverage all of the knowledge and technology we have amassed the field of possibility for our future opens wide.

    Thanks so much for sharing your experience and takeaways with us.

    • Jon M says:

      Yes, Susan, there is a new way to lead, and you are one of them facilitating this change! It was amazing to hear CEOs discuss compassion and mindfulness as part of their way of leading. Very refreshing. Thanks for jumping in here! Jon

  • That sounds like a wonderful experience Jon, and what a lot of work it must have been to distill what you learned into just one post (I want to hear more about it!)
    I love the sense of the whole-brain approach that seems to have been prominent – Ford’s Chairman talking about mindfulness practices!?! How cool!
    I’d love to attend something like that. I can imagine you will be inspired by it for a long time coming.

    • Jon M says:

      Thank you, Lori. It was a rewarding conference – a great mix of people and topics. Everyone was open and friendly and enjoyed engaging conversations. I really like the mindfulness concept and am energized to practice it more fully. Thank you! Jon

  • I agree Jon, old is gold. When we talk about life, nothing is new but refurbished. It’s not that humans started thinking only in the 21st century. Mindfulness is a globally and ancient proven tool of leading a happy life. I mentioned it elsewhere too that I consider mindfulness as a multi-purpose Swiss knife. Great post about new things to learn and implement in life, Thanks Jon!

    • Jon M says:

      Thanks, Harleena. It sounds like you practice mindfulness. I agree it is multi-purpose and I look forward to diving in deeper with my own practices. Thanks! Jon

  • Great post, Jon! I’m really glad to see business leaders talking about bringing consciousness and awareness to how we learn, think, and do things. The average person has 60,000 thoughts in their waking hours, which means about 1 thought per second. It’s impossible to monitor all those thoughts; it’d drive us crazy! However, the more we bring consciousness to how we make decisions and act, we bring out our best selves, nurture better relationships, build better organizations, foster greater community, and create a better world. I look forward to seeing your deeper reflections from your learning in your writing, Jon! Thank you, Alice

    • Jon M says:

      Alice, Wow! 60,000 thoughts during our awake moments. This raises the call for mindful practices more than anything! Consciousness and awareness are so essential to pursue, and it was great to see tech to car company CEOs talking about this. It is an important leadership practice to embrace. Thanks! Jon

  • Bruce Sallan says:

    So, did you learn ANYTHING “new” Jon? lol…

  • Suzie Carr says:

    Loved your number 4 the most: We need to smile at others, showing our kindness in our outward expressions and actions. A smile is powerful on so many levels.

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