Changing Values - CRISIS.
by John Powderly FRSA

Welcome back to this series of writings dedicated to the work and worldview of Cultural Dynamics Strategy and Marketing. Here I focus on those periods in our lives when we lose a sense of control - when we experience a crisis.

When Reality and Values Clash

In essence, a crisis arises when our working assumptions and expectations do not match with reality, or our actual experience. It is a time when life becomes smaller, as our attention focuses on what is important - truly important.

This focus and enforced decluttering, combined with the will to do so, can result in a stronger foundation for a happier life. And that stronger foundation needs all three value modes to make it work well.

Settlers and Crisis

Named after communities of people who were willing to go back to basics and to start from the ground up, we are able to re-build a new life when circumstances demand it. At first, this may sound like a contradiction, because we are often seen as people who resist change, but this is only part of the picture. We are able to start again when we perceive it to be a matter of survival - physical survival and/or the survival of our long-held values.

So, we can reboot our lives, but we tend to create the same kind of life and lifestyle in a different place, such as emigrating abroad and continuing to socialise with ex-patriots.

We All Have Settler Needs

Initially, any form of change is very scary but, if pushed to our limits, a different side of our nature can come to the fore. And this side of our nature will also draw on some of our Settler consciousness, as our instincts for survival kick in.

When we talk about Settlers, we refer to individuals whose primary motivations are for safety and security; however, it is important to remember that we all like to feel safe and secure to various degrees. Every Prospector and every Pioneer also has to strive to satisfy their Settler needs, even though these needs are no longer centre stage. These universal needs are particularly evident when a group, a community, an organisation or a country is going through a crisis or experiencing some kind of disaster. This is often when people come together and support each other against the backdrop of a shared external threat.

When people look back at such times, they often recall the shared horrors alongside a shared sense of purpose and deep memories of being there for each other. If a nation or community loses touch with its Settler needs it is likely to suffer badly - perhaps even collapse.

Prospectors and Crisis

As Prospectors, the real challenges start when life forces us to tighten our belts and to start being more careful with our finances. This may be when we retreat back into being a Settler whose energy starts to take centre stage. That said, we never forget our Prospector needs and aspirations. When negative forces predominate, a well-timed retreat can be a good move, in order to keep our energy up and allow us to persevere. A confident retreat is not to be confused with escape or surrender.

During periods of recession the sale of lower priced luxuries increases, such as chocolate. This appears to be a symptom of our Prospector need to push the boat out, combined with the pragmatism of our internal Settler to reduce the size of the pool where we swim.

Moving from Prospector to Pioneer

When we change our centre of gravity and move from the need for external validation to internal, personal validation of the way we think, feel and act, this is likely to be experienced as a crisis. This may be a crisis of conscience, when we are faced with a moral dilemma, or an existential crisis when we recognise that the role and the path that we have adopted in life has started to lose its meaning for us.

Elsewhere I have written an article dedicated to this transition called "When Your Path Disappears"

Crisis and Pioneers

At our best, as Pioneers, we are very resilient in the face of major change. We are able to adapt to external change, whilst remaining open to diverse views and options. This is both our strength and weakness.

It is our strength when our flexibility works in partnership with the focused energy of our internal Prospector and the grounded awareness of our internal Settler. And it is our weakness when we get lost in our internal world of questions-and-no-answers, neglect our relationships (Prospector focus) and lose appreciation for everyday practicalities (Settler focus).

Something missing?

What would your life or your organisation be like without Settlers, or an appreciation for Settler consciousness? What kind of crises would this trigger?

What would your life or your organisation be like without Prospectors, or an appreciation for Prospector consciousness? What kind of crises would this trigger?

What would your life or your organisation be like without Pioneers, or an appreciation for Pioneer consciousness? What kind of crises would this trigger?

Something to ponder ....

It may even help you prevent an emerging crisis.

N.B. All views and opinions expressed through these writings are solely my own, and do not necessarily represent the views of Cultural Dynamics.

John. email: