The Movie Arrival is All About 2WK

Louise and Ian, a linguist and a scientist, are rushed by helicopter to the site of an alien arrival. Somehow they have to decode the alien communication system, or as Louise would say, have a conversation with them. The US Army, and indeed the world, wants to know ‘What is your purpose on Earth?’


Louise wants to learn their language because it is the heart of how they think. The Army thinks that will take too long.

The whole movie is this kind of juxtaposition of linear and circular thinking. Louise is subjective. She constantly learns through her feelings. She experiences them fully, allows them to permeate her consciousness, and then awakens to the meaning they hold for her.


Ian is all about breaking things down into their base parts to find a logical reason for why they have assembled in the way that they have. He wants to know the operating principle that makes things predictable. And sometimes he finds it.


The armies of the world are all about linear power. They have ways to assert their will even against the will of others. The challenge is to determine where the line is. When is the danger significant enough for them to use major force?

Once an aggressive move is taken, they are geared up to use the advantage of time and take the first strike before there is retaliation. It is unimaginable that there is a love based world where no matter what your behaviour you are worthy of love. Love is offered not because you work hard or you’re family or even because you exist. Love is offered because it is the nature of the person offering.

The news reporters are looking for the elements of danger so they can report them. They are bound by a duty to report the facts and are held accountable by their peers. This keeps a degree of control over the development of fear. The problem is they report the fact in a fear inducing way and leave the viewer to fill in the emotional parts. The biggest problem with the army and the news and most of the men in the movie is that they have a one-world view. It’s actually ironic because they have evidence of another world right in front of them. It exists in the form of the aliens and in the radically different way that Louise sees the situation. They are always looking for evidence of danger. They never awaken to the possibility of love.

But the really scary part is the social media that spins an emotional frenzy of fear and leads to anarchy in the streets.

I don’t want to give any spoilers for this movie so I will say something that will only make sense after you have seen the movie. Consensus decision-making is not the power of a veto. Consensus decision-making is when a group of people decide they will leave no one behind. They will stay in the circular world of connection no matter what the disagreements between people. There is a build -n trust of group wisdom inherent to this standpoint. A trust in the process over productivity: together we will know what is the right thing to do. The answer exists somewhere in the overlap between our independent perspectives.

Finally, I think there is a brave assertion in this movie that men and women view the world differently. One of the best lines in the movie is at the end. I was reminded of the Cherokee Proverb that says ‘The job of a woman is to lead men to their souls. The job of men is to make women safe to walk the Earth.’

Oh, and before I go, I would give this movie two big thumbs up! It is definitely worth watching. Make sure you have time to discuss it afterwards. It is very thought provoking.


Immigration Through a Circular Lens


It’s all over the news. Most of the conversations start and end with fear. Britain changed their relationship with the EU on the basis of this fear. Donald Trump is using this fear as the driving force behind his campaign. Countries all over Europe are struggling with conflict at the intersection of policy and humanitarian values.

Is it possible to see the story of immigrants and refugees through a different lens? What would the headlines be if we stopped pushing back in fear and started to embrace humanity? Could we see a shift in the real-life problems that we are currently afraid of? I’m interested to find out how using a circular approach to immigration could lessen the fear and actually create more peace.

Experts around the world have found terrorist organizations recruit from those who don’t feel they belong in their community. People are looking for a place where they will feel a part of something bigger than themselves. Countries are struggling with the fear that immigrants and refugees pose a threat to their citizens’ safety. Governments, who are responsible for this safety, are asking if they accept refugees are they opening their borders to an influx of terrorists.

How about making the shift to see immigrates as citizens instead of “migrants”? Canada has taken the view that immigrants and refugees are here on the path to become citizens, thus including them as one of their own. That is a unique perspective to take in a world where most governments have the migrant view of the “other” coming temporarily until they are able to go back home.

This migrant mentality is the barrier to inclusion and belonging. Indigenous cultures have a practice of welcoming strangers. Including strangers as a part of the community is imbedded in the Canadian culture and has made its way into policy. Circular thinking shows us we can value our differences for the betterment of the community. When people have a sense of community and belonging, they are less likely to be recruited by the same terrorists that created the fear. So, instead of pushing people out because of our fears, let’s pull them in thus eliminating the need to be fearful in the first place.

This shift in thinking is not an easy one. It isn’t one without risk. No one is saying a circular approach will result in zero crime and perfect societies. But living in fear breeds more fear. What we have now is creating more divisions and more problems in the world. How about trying a different way?

Written by:

Michelle Eades

What Do You Get From Complaining and Gossip?



Will Bowen’s 21-Day complaint free challenge has been getting a lot of media attention lately. It made me wonder why people are finding this challenge so challenging. We, as a society, must be getting something out of complaining or it would be much easier to just stop. How does complaining benefit us?

Both complaining and gossip serve the same purpose. They either create or maintain relationships. If you look at the complaints and gossip happening at work, are they being used to create bonds between co-workers? Do the complainers feel united in their cause to expose wrongs or injustices? As Will Bowen explains, complaint filled workplaces can become toxic, unproductive, miserable places to be.

In circular thinking, relationships are at the core of everything. So, looking at complaining through a circular lens, there must be a better way to create and maintain relationships than using destructive, unproductive behaviours. How can organizations build a culture that is based on positive relationship building? Harvard Business Review’s article on Proof that Positive Work Cultures are More Productive, sets out a 4-step model to create a culture where relationships are created and maintained without the need to resort to these negative approaches.

We all know neither a culture nor habits are changed over night. Research shows it takes 21 days to break a habit. (Perfect timing for a challenge.) But when we start relating to each other from a positive approach, we will find we are not only more productive, but we also will discover the authentic relationships we’ve been looking for.


What purposes do complaining and gossip serve in your workplace?

What are some positive approaches to belonging and connecting to colleagues you have found successful?

Written By:

Michelle Eades

Things Change. So Can Your Approach


Jim Hemerling’s Ted Talk illustrates just how inevitable change is in all aspects of our lives. Its our approach to change that makes all the difference. Personal transformation is seen as an exciting adventure. It motivates people to become better; inspires them to see change as a positive goal.

When organisational change is thrust upon us, we often fear the consequences. Its always easier to accept change when we make the decision to change. But how can organisations continue to run a business and make tough decisions, which often require changes, while creating a culture where change is embraced?

My thought is to change the approach first. Jim Hemerling suggests leaders approach organisational change by putting people first. His five imperatives for putting people first are: inspire through purpose; go all in; give them the tools to succeed;create a culture of continued learning; and have a clear, accountable vision.

Creating a circular thinking work place won’t happen over night. Habits are hard to break. However, when people feel included, wanted, and valued you will be surprised on how fast fear is replaced with trust.

Written by:

Michelle Eades


Single Track to Success Reaches for the $1Million Prize

Glaciers floating on arctic water

UPDATE: Oct. 28, 2016 Single Track to Success was chosen as 1 of 8 finalists for the million dollar Arctic Inspiration Prize. Wishing them continued luck! 

Jane Koepke founded Single Track to Success to be a place where the Yukon’s First Nations youth could find pride in their ancestral land, meaningful employment, along with a sense of well being through trail building and mountain biking. Kim was honoured to be an advisor to the management team getting the project off the ground.

Now they are in the running for the Arctic Inspiration Prize. This is a million dollar prize awarded yearly. The prize is awarded to groups who are putting the unique arctic knowledge to use in their communities. Single Track to Success was nominated for this prestigious award and we couldn’t be more proud of them.

Follow their journey on their Facebook Page and cheer them on with us.

The Real Problem with Trump

Politicians once lied to hide facts that made them look bad. They knew it was wrong but they played the odds against getting caught. Reagan said his administration had not traded weapons to Iran to secure the safe release of hostages. They probably did a cost-benefit analysis on this lie. What are the chances of getting caught? What was the penalty? The gamble was that while the moralizing elite might care, the voting public would be glad American lives were saved. So they lied. It was a calculated risk in the linear thinking world. When they lied at least we could understand it.


The lies of many contemporary politicians, which Donald Trump excels at, are a different animal. Today’s lies are designed to manipulate emotions. The lie may be outrageous but the sentiment it excites is valid to some. The lie reveals and supports a personal truth of the marginalized. People believe the lie because it provides a rationale for what they are feeling. It feels good to have someone validate their feelings. Truth in the conventional sense of the word is “trumped” by the need to have their feelings legitimized – their personal truth. This restores the feeling of belonging many Americans have lost. This is a very different kind of lie, driven not by twisting the facts but by triggering feelings.


Who’s to say a factual truth is more important than a personal truth? In actuality they are not related. And they are both important. In the US election, paying attention to the personal truth might be the secret to sapping Trump’s power.


When journalists and anti-Trump forces push back against the lies, demanding measurable evidence, it comes across as denying the feelings of voters attracted to Trump’s message. If they had any doubt that their feelings didn’t matter before, it is strongly confirmed every time the facts are denied.


Why are we focusing on the details while overlooking the underlying meaning?! (Does this sound familiar? Every relationship I have been in has eventually hit this moment where rational thinking feels like a block to the emotion I am trying to explain.) The more journalists and anti-Trump forces push for rationale thought (a linear staple), the more the disenfranchised voter wants to have someone on their side to push back even harder.


Most of the mainstream analysis I have seen describes the Trump supporters as uneducated white males who welcome the opportunity to push back against the power elites. The media often portrays them as irrational and gullible. This is not a recipe for winning people over.


Trump is building a specific kind of power – the ability to assert his will even against the will of others – by being the voice of an unhappy segment of the population. He is opportunistically using a group’s unhappiness as a pawn. The answer is not to focus on the factual errors in what Trump is saying. People will push back with their vote, just to prove that their feelings matter.


The answer is to take a real interest in the people that currently Trump is speaking for. Let’s stop responding to Trump supporters with objective analysis and start caring about them as people. What lies at the root of their discontent? Trump is fuelling a group of voters’ sense of being marginalized by fabricating supporting facts. The best counter-move would be to address the problems of the people feeling marginalized. This happens by being really good listeners and addressing the underlying emotions, even if the solutions being presented right now are hard to hear. This very simple act creates a shift in the whole definition of power. Power becomes rooted in being all that you can be and from there wanting others to be all that they can.


This is the power of Oprah. Rather than having a bunch of experts talk she would create space where people experiencing the issue could feel safe and appreciated. Under these condition people share what is meaningful to them. Oprah would really listen to understand what each person was saying. In one show there were stories from bullies and the bullied. It was heart wrenching to hear the experience of being bullied. The thing I hadn’t understood was that people who were bullied usually moved on – the impact ended with high school. Some used the bad experience as inspiration to do great things. Meanwhile, many bullies suffered a lifetime of self-loathing. Creating the space for good dialogue brought understanding to the issue and compassion for all the people involved. The key to solving bulling was to redefine their understanding of power.


The fact that Trump is lying is not the most important thing that is going on here. The big deal is that Trump is the voice for a lot of people who obviously have something to say. I want to know what it is and why they feel that way.


Let’s stop fighting about Trump’s misrepresentation of the facts. Creating venues for real people to talk and explore the meaning behind the fear and unhappiness that is being tapped into will shift the power dynamics. Let’s stop seeing people as obstacles to overcome and start finding ways to understand what’s driving the sentiments, and grow. There’s still time to shift this US election from what looks on the outside like a circus to an opportunity to understand some real social issues.