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Positive Handprints for International Peace (Day)

On this day of International Peace, I thought we’d take a look at Positive Handprints through the lens of peace cultivation… What does peace look and feel like? How would we live it? … & just what would it take to reverse engineer a peaceful and thrivable way of being?

Peace, Trust & Sovereignty.

So often when we think about the world and it’s structures, what works vs what doesn’t… It seems like the walls are too solid, the barriers to equality and problem solving too great. Just how are we to mobilise SO MANY nations, organisations, PEOPLE, and overcome so much politicking??? Faced with such ‘overwhelming odds’, how on earth can we possibly hope to change anything? … So we contend ourselves instead with the smaller things we can trust…

It’s certainly easy to think that one persons actions are no significant lever for impact against an entire system, a global populace.

Margaret Mead famously said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.“… In fact, when the Renaissance changed the course of an entire civilization, the tipping point was a mere 1,000 people.

History however, has a way of fading into just that, becoming less relevant to our modern-day minds and systems. So let’s take a look at systems, and what bonds them together. Perhaps more importantly, let’s look at what causes them to break apart…

Systemic Glue.

When systems function in good health, no matter what the system, there is a universal principal at work.


Without trust, cells in a system become defensive. In a constant state of stress and ‘fight or flight’, these cells have compromised communication and recognition, and become less capable of identifying those things that will bring nourishment, and those things that will drain it, or worse still, seek parasitic control. This is just as true for our bodies as it is for corporations and nations.

Without trust, communities of cells will break down alliances to the smallest groupings that trust and communication can be maintained, and all ‘others’ will be met with competition and skepticism.

As Stephen M R Covey wrote in The Speed of Trust, trust is not just a soft intangible factor in relationships at any scale – it is tangible, measurable, CRUCIAL – and it CAN be cultivated.

Prove Yourself.

While trust can be expressed in terms of hazy feelings and gut reactions, it can also be expressed in much more concrete terms and equations. There’s the Covey equation – “S x E (T) = R, where strategy times execution multiplied by trust equals results”… What strategies and execution will engender trust?

Covey also talks about a leadership formula for trust, following 4 traits.
These traits also demonstrate the system dynamics that allow cells to communicate and operate in harmony -

  • ‘Inspire Trust’ - through ‘character and competence’ .
    In worldly terms, competence can come down to INTEGRITY in regularly PRACTICING your stated values. Let’s face it, we’re none of us perfect, and none always perfectly competent. We are, however, capable of committing ourselves diligently and passionately to learning and doing well by others.
    In Positive Handprints terms:  When we display through our evolving and practiced actions, as well as our stories and goals, a commitment to not limiting or harming others’ ability to thrive (as people, in healthy & positive environments, profiting and deriving value from their actions/interactions, having the freedom to find their own meaning, and engaging their full passionate life force in what they do)… this is the authenticated behaviour that builds trust over time.
    In short, “respect existence or expect resistence”.
    It’s worth pointing out here that we are not suggesting healthy systems do not hold boundaries. On the contrary, by definition a healthy system will enforce boundaries that protect against dangerous forces, and trust depends on this competency. Worth noting also, is the crucial distinction between protecting against a dangerous force, and becoming one.
  • ‘Clarify Purpose’ – In systems terms, this pretty clearly comes down to identifying the simple “are you with me or against me”, and “what’s in it for me”. Covey says: “If people are involved in the process (of creating purpose), they psychologically own it and you create a situation where people are on the same page about what is really important—mission, vision, values, and goals.”
    Here we see the 5Ps in action again. ENGAGE PEOPLE, purposefully directed, who will then collectively ensure that their needs are met. If trust and engagement extends to the whole ecosystem, the group will move with purpose that supports their collective thriving.
  • Align Systems’ - “This means that you don’t allow there to be conflict between what you say is important and what you measure.”
    If we our communications, alliances and purpose are in opposition to wellbeing (even while we talk about working for the greater good), ultimately our system will become fractured; composed of factions   operating without the COLLECTIVE INTELLIGENCE and sufficient distributed information afforded by cooperation and trust. Perhaps this system may not have been consciously orchestrated this way, but if we do not CONSCIOUSLY evaluate and design our operating systems, we find ourselves at great risk.
    Our own human bodies have a blueprint for harmonious, fluent and cooperative organisation. We have immune systems designed to run checks on the health of this system, and to self heal and re-align operations. When good communication between sub-systems breaks down, our governing mind can implement healthy purpose to our patterns and eco-system, and REBUILD the functions of TRUST and COOPERATION. Without it will watch the body breakdown, as subsystems compete for dwindling resources, with a decreasing ability to make use what is still available. Sound familiar?
    We realign our purpose away from competition for resources, and back to mutual thriving, or we break-down. Committing ourselves to making Positive Handprints offers us a break-through.
  • ‘Unleash Talent’ - ”The fourth is the fruit of the other three”.
    When you work from cultivated trust, with shared purpose, and the right aligned systems, you unleash people to function from the fullness of their being. You allow for PASSIONATE ENGAGEMENT. And that, my friend, is where the real potential for shared profit and problem solving really lies!

Beyond competition, is peace.

When cells and groups do not feel the need to fight for scarce resources, or to be constantly mistrustful of other’s motives, there is peace. It really is that simple. Sure, we might not all align to run around together in the one body/commune/nation, but we don’t need to feel as compelled to compete with each other for survival, either.

By directing our PURPOSE to transparent & authentic cooperation and trustworthiness, we will attract and align other cells who share our purpose. Pretty soon we’ll see an emerging system, aligned to healthy function, and the cooperation and trust of neighbours.

Pretty soon we’ll no longer be lonely voices in a hostile crowd, or a lone nut dancing on a hill.

Pretty soon , we’ll have a movement.

. . . . . . . .

Stay tuned.

What’s your Positive Handprint?

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