When Lewis Hyde writes about how the increase of a gift ‘is to speak of something simultaneously material, social, and spiritual,’* he catches my attention because these are Theory U’s three disconnects – and they’re really big ones. U theory is about anticipating the emerging future together, and the place we begin is observation.**
We have to be willing to see, even when what we see is unpleasant and unpalatable. To avoid the truth about ourselves, others, and our world is to impair our ability not only to see now but also to see the future.
“The most reliable way to anticipate the future is to understand the present.”*
This may not be good news to you. Your present (or the present of others or the world) may not fill you with pleasant thoughts. In my experience, though, there’re way more good things to see than bad or indifferent. There are so many values and abilities and energies and dreams.
Yes, we make mistakes and we fail – often, but life loves grace and providing another opportunity transforming mistakes and failures into things to learn from.
Honestly seeing the truth of who we are is not an end, then, but a beginning. Facing failure in this way makes us change-agents towards: ‘the beginning of something fresh and new in your life, turning you in a whole different direction … making you braver and stronger and more there for other people, and it will bring out your best human abilities’.^^