Change the way you see things; step out of your comfort zone.

Today the President gave the State of the Union message. A most unusual thing happened. Earlier, a suggestion was made to shift seating arrangements – to cross that great divide – the center aisle. A very Green Light idea. Members of the Senate and Congress normally sit in their designated spots and represent the party line. Their response to a key point would often be a collective one – a moan/groan/scowl or howl if it didn’t match their party line – a nod, grin, clap or cheer if it did. Group-think. (An oxymoron – with emphasis on the last 2 syllables.) Groups don’t think. Individuals do.

It’s really a reflex, a no-think. Granted the group-think is not universal, yet has been widely true. However, this time, they actually mixed! The folks elected to represent us – not the lobbies, their buddies or other interests, but us, the U.S. of A. – mingled. They sat together! Not the red party and the blue party but the purple – the blending that is America.

This encouraged individual responses, not the contagious, often outrageous practice of playing follow-the-leader – whatever the leader/party line says goes. This new style not only generated more thought-full responses, it also led to a more open, collaborative environment – and more civilized behavior. It brought a refreshingly humane environment. People could sit with folks of the other party – and WOW! They could actually find more ways to join forces, discover more common ground – to actually serve the Union. It also gave new freedom to people to be out of that great restraint/inhibitor: party politics. They could even have FUN doing the right thing instead of doing the party thing.

We are a nation. Many speak of one party, and then refer to the other as the opposition party. That Red Light label itself immediately sets up a divide.  It disserves our nation – and our union. We need nation politics – a return to our founding purpose – unity in making good things happen for everyone. How might each of us take a step in that direction – today?

NOTE. Those in mediator, arbitrator, teacher, partner roles – anyone in any situation intended to reach a win/win result – are well-advised to pay attention to how the people involved are sitting. If you are across from each other, it’s a Reddish arrangement. It feels like a battlefront with winners and losers – actually, it’s more like losers and bigger losers. A Greener arrangement is to sit at a round table – or even at an angle – on adjoining sides, rather than opposite sides. This diminishes the sense of battle and increases the sense of working toward a common goal – a win/win focus. To achieve a Green goal, take the actions that set up the Greenest conditions, the greatest likelihood for mutual success.

GO! Create more Green Light signals.  Marilyn Schoeman