Why Pay Attention to This

Natalie MuyresArticles, Updates

Image: Iceberg off the Grey Glacier in the southern Patagonia Icefields in southern Chile & Argentina in 2019.  The border between Chile and Argentina is considered to be the continental divide, but the exact location of the border is being further defined as the ice fields retreat.

By Laura Kennett

There is a lot of messed up stuff going on in this world and it’s overwhelming to think about it, let alone do anything about it.  

It’s so much easier to retreat into a life of hustling to submit that annual performance review, rushing to recreational hockey games, and shopping for that special outfit to make a splash at the next social event. These are some of the activities that I do that distract me from the complex problems of the world, but I recognize these activities are not helpful in the grand scheme of life and humanity. So how do I reconcile my own tensions?  

What are you paying attention to? What conversation topics are you embarking on with your colleagues that would be helpful? What is preventing you from paying attention to and discussing the issues that are most impactful to the survival of the human species, the needs of the next generations and how humans steer their destiny? If these questions make you feel uncomfortable, then you are not alone. These questions make me uncomfortable, too.    

These tensions expand our learning, push us out of our comfort zones and bring us better understanding of the very nature of learning. I’m embracing the tension and uncomfortable feelings to drive me to learn and pay attention. Being aware of the struggles I’m embedded in makes it easier to say no more often to unhelpful and time-consuming activities and say yes to engagements where I can explore and test my understanding of reality.

Image: The edge of the Atacama Dessert in southern Bolivia in 2019.  Peculiar peeling of the top layers of clay as they dry out faster than the underlying layers


We’re embedded in a battle ground that encompasses our internal programming and the programming of societies around us. We can’t escape the reality that we live in a soup of authorities, hubris, intolerance, paranoia, myths, and bullies. It’s no wonder that denial, avoidance, polarization and accusations are intensifying around the topics of Middle East tensions, energy pipelines, immigration, abortion rights, deficits and climate change. This is an extraordinary time in the earth’s and human history where our planet is overrun with a relatively intelligent species that is beginning to recognize it may be on the brink of its own existential undoing.  

Wow! – It sure felt overwhelming to write those words! Perhaps I should retreat to watch a movie or flip through home renovation pictures… Or, I could embrace the presence of the Human Venture community and the Human Venture organization’s resources that are readily available to help us all distill the chaos into decipherable patterns.

I’m grateful to the Human Venture volunteers and I want you to pause and consider the caring, concern and energy that goes into providing us with:

  • An online portal for sharing our thoughts on current issues or messaging other alumni of Human Venture Programs
  • Book clubs where we have the choice to join in-person or online
  • Online workshops on various topics including: Current events, error inquiry, and applying a meta-framework of the human venture into our everyday work
  • Mentorship opportunities
  • Videos and maps available to view at any time
  • Book and article suggestions for further inquiry

I encourage you to connect and leverage these resources to support you with the difficult conversations in your various social circles. Embrace your internal tension and push your learning!

Laura is a Human Venture Leadership Alumnus and a Human Venture Leadership Board Member. Laura is currently the Director, Technology & Information Business Services for Liquids Pipelines at Enbridge.