This week was about storms and climate change. First, Missouri football star Michael Sam ignited a storm and changed the climate in the NFL by coming out, making him, when he's drafted, the league's first openly gay player. A blizzard of mostly positive -- and a few regrettably negative -- reactions ensued. Climate change was less constructive in Sochi, where thermometers hit the 50s, giving the place a warmer Wednesday than many host cities of Summer Olympics. Along America's East Coast, however, yet another winter storm descended, which in turn ignited a chilly exchange between New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and Al Roker over school closures. Taking on special interests is one thing, but picking a fight with a beloved weatherman is another. Meanwhile, I was lucky enough to be in balmy San Francisco for the Wisdom 2.0 conference, devoted to spreading mindfulness in a stormy world. Not a moment too soon.
In front of an audience of entrepreneurs, mindfulness practitioners and technology leaders, Bill Ford shared personal anecdotes illustrating how he used these philosophies to navigate through a number of crises to help position his company today as a thriving global enterprise and a strong sustainability leader in its industry.
This past weekend I went to Disneyland. Not the actual Disneyland, but my version of Disneyland. It was a conference called "Wisdom, 2.0," which is designed to address "the great challenge of our age: to not only live connected to one another through technology, but to do so in ways that are beneficial to our own well-being, effective in our work, and useful to the world." We all know that technology is taking over practically every aspect of our lives -- mostly for the better. But there is also a growing awareness that our increasing dependence on technology puts us at risk of becoming disconnected from ourselves. As Wisdom 2.0's founder and host Soren Gordhamer put it, "We're done with this honeymoon phase and now we're in this phase that says, 'Wow, what have we done?' It doesn't mean what we've done is bad. There's no blame. But there is a turning of the page."
San Francisco has become the hot spot for the rapidly-growing think tank movement. Recent interdisciplinary conferences, including Wisdom 2.0 and the Yoga Journal Conference, have begun integrating a range of topics geared toward maintaining balance and humanity in our business and technology-oriented culture.