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Drowning in Fate

There’s something tantalisingly free in the path of a butterfly. An envied, yearned for path of freedom, that leads in any and all directions all at the same time. It’s a smile. A hope. A freedom to be, and go, and do with infinite possibility. The exact antithesis of the reality of many everyday lives.

For many people life is simply something that happens to them. The power of fate given omniscient and omnipotent ability and ubiquitous right to rule the world.  Unquestioned and accepted.

And yet a life of fate is to be drowning.

It’s relatively easy to drown. Fighting fate is much harder.  It has a powerful tendency to fight back. It knocks hope down with a resounding thud. An aggressive statement of, ‘no, that’s not how we do things round here’.  A reminder, if you believe in fate, if you’re resigned to your lot, if you live a life that simply happens to you, that you have no control of where you are and where you might go.

Fate is a powerful narrative. That limits hope and constrains lives. And it’s real.

It’s easy for leaders, change makers to look in on others' lives and see what may be done. It’s easy to talk about others' problems when you’re looking in. The path to change may seem startlingly obvious, sparkling, fragrant, sensuous. A butterfly of promise.

But to throw in promises dancing on the wings of butterflies will never lure lives through shadows. The ‘oh look, a butterfly’ approach to change is beautifully tantalising and yet its beauty is misplaced.  The magic of hope and promise is never going to be enough. Because that very same path from the inside is invisible. Impassable. Pointless.

These are lives. Real people. Complex, complicated, people. For who outcomes are a pointless discussion because fate has control.

Change makers can sit and chat and make policy upon policy, plan upon plan, intervention upon intervention. They can give their lives, hearts and souls in caring. But unless that path is controlled and nurtured, laid by those whose lives need it, then simply throwing in the butterfly is never going to work.

I heard the question recently ‘how can you give responsibility and control to those who have never had it and further more do not believe they should?’

It’s a good question. And at the core of making real effective change that matters to lives.  It’s a growing realisation across change making, that ownership, co-creation, co-production, accountability and self matters. As Myron Roger’s says, people own what they create.

But how do you as change makers even begin?

Perhaps by considering the cruel reality that the story of fate controls lives. That for a life controlled by fate, change is in truth a wholly pointless possibility. When life is dark, when there is no hope. It’s not a question easily heard.

Where do you even begin?

A butterfly simply isn’t enough.


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