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‘Hi Hein, what is you biggest anxiety?’

‘Let me think, a second,’ I reply.

‘That’s fine but then I conclude that you’re part of the chattering classes. Just like me by the way. Many people in the world don’t need to think about their biggest anxiety. It’s in their face every moment of the day. The rest of us are chattering about anxieties. It might be migration, climate change, war, starvation, …’ my dialogue partner confronts me with. Since we’ve agreed on the Chatham rule for our CEO Circle (you are allowed to share everything what you hear but without mentioning from whom you heard it), the person stays anonymous. It’s the first few minutes of our circle and I know it will be good. He is right. I am part of the chattering classes. It’s not very flattering though. And I am part of the problem. You probably are part of it too.

Interested in more forceful statements during the session? Hold on:

  • Fake news? We only accept the facts we like. The other facts never enter into our mind.
  • Climate change? Of course there is a climate change. 1931 was the warmest year in the world. But over the past years there is no increase in heat measured. The impact of humans on climate change is way less than the public thinks. A scientific climate skeptic can’t have an academic life at the moment. Within a year new scientific evidence will be presented that makes it clear that the climate is changing drastically but that the part we humans play in it is very small. We need to build floating towns and nuclear power plants.
  • Migration will continue the upcoming years: Millions of youth in the middle and far east need to move because of the changes in climate, water supplies and food. We ain’t have seen nothing yet.
  • Migration is already happening for many years. Our leaders tell that it’s a problem but are incapable in dealing with it. We do have a leadership crisis in Europe and beyond.
  • China doesn’t have a middle class (only 10-20 million people). They won’t be a superpower the upcoming decade.
  • Trump is just as coherent and presidential as Obama when you speak to him in a small group. But he wrote already in his book that he has got two hands: the left for doing and the right for what he is saying. These hands are acting independently from each other.
  • Our life -in the West- is so good and we’re afraid to loose it. That’s why so many people are angry.
  • Islam is just the vehicle for the terrorists. But there is no link between the two. The USA doesn’t have an interest in dealing with IS.
  • What you’re doing is not the essential thing. Your contribution to your community counts.
  • We have 80.000 thought a day: how many are negative? And life affirmative?
  • If you want to have impact, you loose connection. Different energies meet and oppose to each other. You end up without any impact. You better sit still, connect and change the world from within. The world will come to you.
  • Technology creates a gap between who we are and who we think we are. With the help of technology we think we’re the master of the universe. We’re not.
  • In 2040 we will have enough cheap energy for all of us. Windmills are out, sun, gas and nuclear fusion are in.

‘Who threw something away today?’ Several hands are raised. ‘Where is away? There is no away. This is it.’

So these are a few quotes of the first meeting in London of our New CEO circle: Enhancing resilience and mastery in a world of disruption. For sure it challenged me and made me think. And my companions as well. It was pretty hard to keep our voice of judgment (cynicism and fear) under control. But by doing so, we ‘checked out’ with beautiful statements what we never dared to share before.

I’m happy and impressed by our first meeting. Looking forward to the next in Amsterdam!


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