If we want to transform the world, we need to better understand the power of place. Different places create different experiences, communities and cultures. My life and work taught me that we need to be more mindful of natural and cultural affinities of location, and how that influences what we can accomplish.
One of the things that continues to help me in my work as a consultant, project manager and writer is having had the experience of living in different places with different cultures.
In my early years, I lived in suburban Chicago, and when I was about 12 years old, my family moved to Western Illinois, living in farming country, not far from the Mississippi River. The differences in culture astounded me, but I learned from that experience.
Later, living and working in New York, and Germany on international assignment and then in downtown Chicago, I began to understand the nature of global urbanism.
As we look at the great political divides in every part of the world, we see people being left behind, struggling to live well, and wanting to return to the good old days. The complexity of change can be overwhelming, and it's often influenced by the power of place.
Many people want to turn the clock back, because we don't yet have a global vision of prosperity that addresses the needs of very different cultures and values.
Mindful leaders bring balance to prosperity, so that it's equitable and inspiring to different places. We can't transform this world around, unless we understand the needs driven by the influence of geography and nature's demands on people living in different locations.
Elders have a very important role to play in teaching about the power of place. This is one of our roles as we age -- we help younger people to learn about how places have changed, and remind them of how they can be restored.