Wonder is a force that creates all of our success. It keeps cropping up in my conversations at work and at home, in different disguises. Sometimes it’s visible as a conversation about spiritual desire or as the intensity of a new business idea. There’s wonder powering the creative energy of the new group I’m part of, where we want to solve ‘Thorny Problems’ together.
Wonder is that volcanic surge into the world that every human can release. It is terrifying, though. When we want the world to be safe, wonder carries us out of safety into the raw turbulence of the future. It takes us out of the sensible place called Home, to Everywhere else. It turns what we think is fixed into the magical terror of Possibility. It burns out our other instinct, our perfectly normal instinct to stay safe, to hunker down in familiar places. It’s the dangerous key to disrupting our lives to make them fresh.
Each day, each moment, is a choice between two paths. A path to wonder, to look around and afar, or a path to security, when we look nowhere but at the walls we’ve built around us. Of course, Wonder brings with it the danger that we trip over the reality of the moment. This happens – we ‘forget’ to pay attention to where we’re putting our feet and fall into a chasm. I’ve done it; in love, in work, in sports; fallen into chasms of disaster. To avoid those chasms we are surrounded by messages to be sensible, to be secure, to be ‘99% germ free’. Success is reduced to meaning only to acquire so much that we can be ‘independent’. Yet I have those other conversations, with people facing a new phase of life but they’ve lost their sense of wonder. Retiring without wonder feels safe but without purpose. When our choice of path has been ruled by fear, we destroy the wonder that reignites purpose.
The choice is like choosing to love, when we feel that losing love will destroy us. It takes courage to live with passion if you’ve once been destroyed by losing love. To choose to wonder requires the same courage.
Wonder turned into action is the forward impulse behind all our success, all our enterprise in life. It is the colour and scent of living in your own truth. It is where we find like minded souls, delighted to be busy together yet also adept at rich solitude.
Where does this leave us?
We need to nurture Wonder, and not crush it under fear. Humans on the whole are better off than we have ever been. (Watch the late, brilliant Hans Rosling explain this here [https://goo.gl/BKSLra]). We have safety and we have enough of everything to fulfil our needs, though we don’t share it well. So to wonder and turn it to action must be our focus, to deliver the joy of being alive and to discover new paths to making life better.
For all of us.