In honor of what would have been my mother's 98th birthday, I published an essay on the HuffPost sharing my memory of how brave she was when I was ten years old. Seeing the movie "Wonder Woman" caused me to remember this very painful - but extraordinary, given what my Mom did - period in my life. And the film helped me finally understand that it was the depth of my Mom's love for my sister and I that caused her to literally risk her life to do what she did.
I have been thinking a lot about the lesson of the film: "Only love can truly save the world". More on that in a moment, but first this...
While writing this essay was a huge breakthrough for me, the miracle that then happened blew me away! Thanks to the power of social media, Gal Gadot saw my essay and liked it so much that on Sept 12th she shared it on Twitter... adding "There truly is a little Wonder in ALL of us!" 💕
This extraordinary act of generosity on Gal's part follows a connection I've felt with her, Wonder Woman, and her film since last year (when I went to both the Wonder Woman at the UN event in celebration of gender equality and R.I. ComicCon... where I actually got to speak briefly with Gal while getting her autograph).
Gal’s generosity also builds on the relationship I've had with the entertainment world in general since childhood. My parents were in show business, and my Mom was life-long friends with Danny Kaye (UNICEF’s first Ambassador to the World’s Children).
Entertainment has been my ongoing source of hope and inspiration since I first watched reruns of the Adventures of Superman on TV as a child (along with Sky King, Sea Hunt, and Leave It To Beaver) through the original Star Trek (so many important personal values lessons) and Batman (so much joy on display from those crime fighters) from ages 11-13 to more recent series like Battlestar Galactica (again, many important value lessons). The number of motion pictures that have helped me think about life are too numerous to mention, but I share a special fondness for the first Superman film with Wonder Woman's director, Patty Jenkins. I loved the sincerity and personal integrity of Christopher Reeve's performance so much that I posted this video so people could study Superman’s character traits. (The video is also a commentary on our times)...
I have spent more than 25 years championing the advanced problem solving methods I began to discover during my career as an engineering program manager. And while I had some success within such networks as the American Society for Quality, the Association for Quality & Participation, the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program, the UN Global Compact, and the 100 Year StarShip project (and even got to experiment with using Star Trek to make organizational strategy development inspirational and fun), my work now has much more heart in it than ever before. I have Wonder Woman (the film) to thank for helping me reach into that forgotten part of myself. And I have Gal Gadot to thank for showing me that my personal story can make a difference. Thank you, Gal!
At a time when our real world seems headed for an increasingly dangerous, potentially global crisis (not just in how we relate to Mother Earth but in how we relate to Each Other), I have seen many calls for us all to go beyond where we've gone before in our personal efforts to end this crisis.
With my newfound awareness of the importance of love in this "getting out of the crisis" equation, I am now working to add that perspective to how people view the innovation-focused, continuous learning and improvement-based “design thinking” philosophy I have championed to date. There is a "new design for our world" out there waiting to be seen and then implemented. It is a design based on a "love of new knowledge", a "love of learning", a "love of asking questions", and a "love of how being human means not being perfect... of loving making mistakes, because they are opportunities to learn and improve". And it is based on a "love of the diverse nature of the human family... a love of the fact that we are NOT all the same... a love of how that means there's a lot to learn from each other's cultures".
The thinking "science" of "discontinuous change" (brilliantly presented by Russ Ackoff in his TEDTalk-like presentation) is still critically important...
But I believe now that people will never be comfortable using such thinking tools if they still live in a world dominated by fear. Fear leads the masses to follow so-called "strong man" leaders (as Trump claims to be). Love leads us to be open to exploring places we've never been before.... sometimes partnered with people we've never partnered with before.
I believe the corporate social responsibility movement (AKA the sustainable business community) is the ideal place to begin championing this way out of the crisis... a way that marries both head and heart. To reach the pubic at large, I envision a partnership forming that ultimately includes such forward thinking wealthy people as Mike Bloomberg (business), Oprah Winfrey (entertainment), and Bill Gates (philanthropy) ... and mainstream entertainment companies (Disney, Paramount, etc)... but also including entertainment leaders who reach us at a personal level through music, film, sports, and more. Beyonce, Bruce Springfield, Emma Watson, and Tom Hanks are just a few of the names that come to mind.... and the wonderful Gal Gadot!
As a relatively unknown actor now identified with the values of her Wonder Woman character, Gal has the potential to be a unique beacon of hope ... an inspirational public voice calling for a future which embodies the broad definition of love I have mentioned above. I believe love of our fellow members of the human family is critical. But I also believe love of the qualities that make us human (curiosity, experimentation, sharing knowledge so as to increase the collective wisdom, etc) is critical too. And Gal's "brand" has a lot of love in it now, thanks to Wonder Woman! Here's one scene that shows that very well...
I am working to connect with Gal about all this now. (If you believe you can help, please contact me. I suggest you use Twitter where I am @SteveBrant .) And I will be attending the Bloomberg Sustainable Business Summit in NYC October 12-13. Wish me luck finding people there who are willing to push the frontiers of the sustainable business movement!
Here's to a day when everyone discovers (or rediscovers) that "only love can truly save the world"! 💗