We live in extraordinary times where everyone is facing complex challenges they haven’t faced before. From coronavirus to climate change, mental health to systemic injustice, what’s clear is that no individual or institution can transform these issues on their own. Our ability to respond – and break through to a world that works for all life – requires something more than everyone’s best personal efforts. Bringing about meaningful change requires us to build a sense of a “we,” that we can align a diversity of contributions and become partners in the wellbeing of all. And our ability to actualise this possibility requires a profound shift in mindset: towards what we call a benefit mindset.

What is a benefit mindset?

A benefit mindset builds on a growth mindset, when we understand that our abilities can be developed – and we also understand we can transform towards a more caring, inclusive and interdependent perspective.
It is called “benefit” mindset because it is concerned with the life-long process of learning how we can be the transformation and realise our unique potential in a way that serves the wellbeing of all.
Developed by Ash Buchanan in collaboration with a global community of contributors, benefit mindset is grounded in the understanding that fulfilling our potential is about more than how smart, driven or growth oriented we are. More completely, it is about how well we are able to transform how we come to understand our place in the world, compassionately attend to our individual and collective shadows, and become partners in the wellbeing of all people and all living beings. While a growth mindset has many advantages over a fixed mindset, what truly makes us thrive is our capacity to realise our potential in a way that nurtures our uniqueness and serves the wellbeing, not only of humans, but the entire community of life.

Me & We

“It really boils down to this: that all life is interrelated. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied into a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. We are made to live together because of the interrelated structure of reality.” — Martin Luther King Jr
In a benefit mindset, we understand we are not separate individuals going it alone. We are interdependent beings who belong to a massive global ecosystem – the community of life – and every one of us has a role to play in creating healthy conditions on the planet, no matter our interests, passions or expertise. Therefore, more than believing we can grow, it is also important we take responsibility for transforming how we come to understand our place in the world, and realise our potential in a way that affirms life and supports others with doing the same.

Everyone has something to contribute

“You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” – Jane Goodall
While we have the urgent call to respond to issues such as climate change, systemic injustice and socioeconomic disadvantage, it’s now up to all of us – schools, businesses, governments and the general public – to show up and make a contribution that serves the wellbeing of all. This is not a task for hero leaders, smart scientists, or a few enlightened ones. It is a responsibility for every human being. Everyone has a role to play.

The ripple effect

“Not only is it the case that happy people are more willing to help others, but as I generally point out, helping others is the best way to help yourself, the best way to promote your own happiness. It is you, yourself, who will receive the benefit.” – Dalai Lama
Because all life is interrelated, and our wellbeing is inextricably connected, when we act for the benefit of others and society as a whole, we can create a ripple effect. This is when compassionate actions, such as an act of kindness, ripple out to benefit others, and they also benefit us in terms of our health and wellbeing. In this way, acting out of a concern for all life gives rise to a virtuous cycle of mutual benefit and creates new possibilities for healing and transformation in ourselves and the planet.

Civilization renewal

Civilization renewal
“What if we used this disruption as an opportunity to let go of everything that isn’t essential in our life, in our work, and in our institutional routines? How might we reimagine how we live and work together? How might we reimagine the basic structures of our civilization? … That’s the conversation we need to have now. With our circles of friends. With our families. With our organizations and communities.” – Otto Scharmer
Awareness of our interdependency awakens us into a caring relationship with all people and the living Earth community. It also awakens us into the realisation that many of the things we consider to be normal and healthy in today’s society are actually destructive and unhealthy, causing deep harms for ourselves, others and the world. Thus, rather than seeing todays disruption as a time to bunker down only to return to the same old ways of living and working, we can use this time to reflect on who we are and who we want to be as a society, and choose to transform ourselves and the world by living into the possibility of profound civilization renewal.

A time of profound awakening

“When in history has humanity had such a shared sense of purpose? And when have we been so aware of our fundamental interconnectedness at every level? This is a moment not to be wasted by any of us.” – Paul Atkins
These are challenging times, yet they can also be times that awaken us to who we really are and who we want to be as a society.
Today’s disruption presents us with an unprecedented opportunity to come together and be of benefit like never before. Let’s use this opportunity to embody our best human qualities and contribute as awake, engaged and response-able members of the living Earth community.
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