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The Charlie Schultz Philosophy

February 3, 2010

Last Wednesday, I was seating on a bench at the Portland Amtrak Station, waiting for my train to Seattle, on my way to teaching my Systems Thinking class and completely absorbed in the reading of one chapter of Donella Meadows’ book Thinking in Systems, when a man who was seating on the same bench not too far from me, approached me and asked me if I could watch for his bags for a few minutes.  Of course, I accepted.

A few minutes later, the man came back (his name is Dennis), thanked me and asked me what I was reading.  My answer drew another question and another and we started a conversation about what I was teaching and where, what I was doing for a living and so on and so forth.  When time came to board the train, I gave Dennis my business card and said goodbye.  But a while later, as the train was already on his way, Dennis came to find me in my car and asked if we could continue our discussion.  We talked about things that matter to me: adaptive work and leadership; transformative work; living systems; sustainability; consulting; personal development.  It seemed as if Dennis was drinking my words.  He told me that he had been retired for a few years but was looking for something to do.  Considering his interest in my “stories” and all the questions he asked, it occurred to me that he was ready to move on to his next challenge and start a new career—one that would truly make a difference in his life and in the life of others.  I greatly encouraged him to find his new life purpose.

Meeting Dennis was like one of these serendipitous encounters that leave you with the feeling that you’ve made a difference in someone else life.  After we had said goodbye and agreed to stay in touch, I felt a deep sense of joy and connection.  Strangely, I also felt that this encounter had not happened purely by chance—that it was meant to have happened.

Yesterday, I received an email from Dennis who sent a little story and cartoon called: The Charlie Schultz Philosophy.  I am happy to share it with you.  Enjoy!

One Comment leave one →
  1. February 3, 2010 11:19 pm

    Thanks for passing on the stories – the one of serendipity, and the recognizing who is important in our lives.

    More and more frequently I have that sense of inevitable connection. Solution based thinking seems to require or at least nurture it.

    And, come to think of it, isolation and reductionist thinking carries with it a sense of inevitability as well. I guess we get to choose.

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