The foundation of our society is competition. We compete in school to get the best grades, in business to win customers, in politics to win power, in sport to win trophies and in our social lives to win admiration. Yet around 70% of us are not competitive by nature. During economic games research, the high regarded Swiss economist, Ernst Fehr, found that around 70% of the population are naturally more cooperative than competitive. When these cooperators work together in the economic games they seek win-win solutions. Then when a competitive person joins the game and adopts a win-lose approach, gradually everyone in the game becomes competitive. Our society has developed in response to the 30% of the population who are competitive by nature not the 70% who are cooperative. So where is all this competition getting us?
The statistics on the prevalence of mental health problems in the UK make for some pretty unpleasant reading. Scary numbers reported on the MIND website and sourced from NHS research reports, tell us that of the people we see everyday at work, school and in our community, 1 in 5 will have had suicidal thoughts. That’s 20 percent. A stark illustration of just what a sad and unwell nation we have become. I am sure on World Mental Health Day on 10th October, we will become even more aware of the current challenges and the significance of good mental health for us all.
It is commonly believed that leaders now need to operate within an environment which is best described as VUCA (Volatile, Complex, Complex and Ambiguous). All the forecasts are suggesting that VUCA is going to stay with us for the foreseeable future (if there is still such a thing as a foreseeable future in the VUCA world).
Recent advances in neuroscience have found that our brain continually changes throughout our adult life. This has not been a surprise to many psychologists who have theorised, for many decades, that we continually change and develop throughout our entire life. These include psychologists such as Abraham Maslow, Clare Graves, Robert Kegan, Elliot Jaques, Jane Loevinger, Bill Torbert, Lawrence Kohlberg and Susan Cook-Greuter.