A better 2022? Absolutely!

By Martin Thoolen,
Published at 10 December 2021.
Read in 10 minutes

A better 2022?

Is that possible? For me too?

You might not believe it. Because we are all going through ‘heavy weather’. And there are clear signs that things will deteriorate in 2022. 

Nevertheless, it is possible! A better 2022 for you!

2021: ‘Heavy weather’ caused by leaders

Not just the pandemic, but above all the manner in which many world leaders behave and make choices is creating a profound sense of foreboding. The majority are acting on the basis of national egoism and narcissism, which limits our freedom to live. National governments are systematically ineffectual and lack good leadership, private dramas play out behind closed doors (whether they are within families or amongst neighbours) and loved ones are lost due to Corona. Polarisation, grief and aggression rule the day.

What will the weather be like in 2022? 

I can't make it better than it is, but it will get even worse in 2022. I like to shed some light on that inconvenient truth as well. Why worse?

Due to at least four current developments:

  • Polarisation, both at home and around the world, the dominant role of everyone’s ego and the absence of necessary self-reflection and positive self-action.
  • Primarily ego-driven rulers who are eroding individual rights and freedoms while clinging onto their positions.
  • We are living at a time when ultimate truth is coming to light, exposing the ever-present lies of politicians/leaders. For example, the Me-Too movement, etc.
  • Old (patriarchal) power structures are crumbling, which initially leads to more division (a natural progression to more individual freedom as revealed to us by the ‘Age of Aquarius,’ which we have just entered).

Where leaders consistently go wrong

The fact that the truth is becoming increasingly apparent threatens the positions of many leaders. They will do anything to retain and expand their power instead of truly representing the people. The consequence – ego strategies that guarantee personal interests or those of a political party become the driving force – denial, lies, character assassination and personal attacks. Unfortunately, in recent years we have witnessed this to an extreme degree in the political debates in our government (the upper and lower chamber), where a great many politicians constantly allow their egos to rampage. How? 

By stigmatising each other and launching personal attacks, permitting personal or party interests to prevail over everything else, lying as a matter of course, systematically failing to fulfil agreements, not putting words into practice (For example, the phrase ‘New Leadership’, which is a hollow concept), slandering opponents, failing to listen to the people, acting in a socially desirable manner on the basis of personal interest rather than sincerity, refusing to accept responsibility and step down when policies are ineffective in the long term and making extreme statements that shock or offend other population groups. Mutual respect is nowhere to be found and courtesy has abandoned the chambers of power and politics. ‘Courtesy has abandoned the chambers of power’

‘Courtesy has abandoned the chambers of power’

Despite the incumbent leaders’ anxious efforts to maintain their ‘false ego construction’, the light of truth will penetrate sooner or later. Or as my mother used to say, ‘honesty lasts longest’. So old power structures start to evaporate. You can see this in the fact that the old party systems, with 3 to 6 parties, no longer endure and there are now significantly more political parties, further highlighting the division.

The fact that the cabinet formation stands on an energetic foundation of lies, dishonesty and personal interest means that it can absolutely never function effectively. It lacks any credibility, and trust in the leaders has melted ‘like snow in the sun’ for the umpteenth time. 

I therefore predict that if, nevertheless, a new cabinet is formed in 2022 on the basis of the latest election results the government will more likely have to deal with far more civil unrest or, worse still, a civil war than it will contribute to peace and unity. Besides this, we, as a people, need a vision and strategy that will genuinely be enacted by the leadership. The current administration has proven over many years that it lacks competence for this, which consistently amplifies the cry for new leaders. A re-election, as a current snapshot, is necessary for peace in the country.

However, I suspect that the egos of politicians and political parties will briefly prevail and evoke the old familiarity, security and false sense of peace in order to quickly pick up where they left off with the old crew. A temporary pyrrhic victory for the old politicians, after which the true nature of the administrators will dominate, guide decisions and further exacerbate polarisation.

Our leaders will, therefore, not make things easy for you in 2022. But 2022 can still be a better year for you if you enact in your own life and work what ‘our’ leaders have, to date, systematically omitted.

‘It will be a better year for you if you enact in your own life and work what ‘our’ leaders have, to date, systematically omitted.’

Sick of missing good leadership by the government? 

Assume leadership of your own life! There are always situations that can make you upset But if they occur in rapid succession it can make you really sick. Before you know it you lose yourself, unnoticed, in constant complaining. And that doesn’t usually make you feel any better. Don’t wait for the leaders but develop your own leadership and don’t allow your well-being to depend on them.

Don’t wait for the leaders, but develop your own leadership and don’t allow your well-being to depend on them’

Take control!

When leaders fail to lead, complaining and your own anger or feeling of victimhood can easily start to control you. What is it that leaders apparently lack that you yourself can contribute to your own environment? Every day!

How do I achieve self-leadership?

  • Let go of your complaints and victimhood. Express your emotions without hurting others. Leave it all behind you. Release yourself and initiate your own positive actions.
  • See if you can do the following in your own daily behaviour and choices in relation to your partner, your children, your family, your neighbours, colleagues, your manager, your friends and your enemies:
    • Listen to each other sincerely instead of in a way that is socially desirable 
    • Explore beyond personal attacks and undesired behaviour
    • Control aggression and treat others with respect

1) Listen to each other sincerely instead of in a way that is socially desirable

Today’s politicians and leaders are apparently largely incapable of doing this. Why? Their personality. Their ego is the primary reason.

You would almost think – look for a job elsewhere – especially when considering the administrators and leaders dominated by ego and narcissism (usually without them realising that this is the case). If they listen, it is usually in a socially desirable manner in order to see their personal interests served. Along the lines of ‘If I agree, if I say that you are right, then you will shut up again for a while and I can continue with my own plans.’ What other listening skills can you expect? If you are lucky, administrators hear opposing arguments from the public regarding the implemented policy, and then take little or no action or intervene far too late. In short, the leadership does not really listen to the people.

I will mention several well-known facts that highlight how administrators have partially or completely failed to listen to the people over the years: the dividend scandal, the nitrogen scandal, the allowance scandal, the extraction of natural gas in Groningen, the Corona policy, the housing shortage, etc. How many scandals can they cause before they are shown the door? The misplaced inviolability of incompetent leaders let them stay longer than is good for an organisation or country. I wish for this to change worldwide and fire those leaders for structural mismanagement by an independent ethical Commission.

Research has revealed that the behaviour of leaders and administrators who occupy formal positions of power functions as a living example for the public. And this has an enormous influence. So, when our leaders do not listen to the people they set an example of non-listening Why then, should the people listen to the leaders? Years of egocentric behaviour on the part of administrators and the lack of real listening means that the people no longer listen to the government and make their own choices. 

Moreover, administrators ignoring the people often works as a punishment in terms of behavioural psychology, further exacerbating polarisation. ‘When leaders ignore citizens, they contribute to the unnecessary polarisation and violence in the country’.

‘When leaders ignore citizens, they contribute to the unnecessary polarisation and violence in the country’

2) Explore beyond personal attacks and undesired behaviour

Watch how our leaders actually talk to each other and the public. And if the people (understandably) don’t listen for once and riots break out, should they be punished, but not our leaders?

And please don’t misunderstand me. People who threaten and attack care workers are beyond the pale. This must be stopped and more heavily punished. And you can certainly condemn it as indecent, criminal and totally unacceptable. But don’t become stuck in these ego stigmas. Dig deeper!

What our leaders so blatantly fail to do is realise that they have operated outside the bounds of honesty for many years, to name just one example.

What our leaders omit is beyond condemnation as indecent – they lack the curiosity to examine the motives behind why people are becoming more aggressive and divided. They neglect to look, to accept and take the subject seriously, and above all to recognise their own contribution. 

The prevailing cooperation/conflict style (according to the Thomas-Kilman conflict model) actually displayed by the majority of leaders in their behaviour and choices involves priotising personal interest, giving in to others if you don’t have much to lose, avoidance and delays or seeking compromises However, the cooperation style that every good leader must master and apply more often is the exploration of everyone’s interests and arguments in order to genuinely cooperate in the search for a desirable outcome for all parties.

3) Control aggression and treat others with respect

When the ego dominates you identify, for example, with your own interests, arguments and viewpoints. When people, therefore also leaders, feel that they are under threat they can become extremely angry or feel wronged. Similar to when your child is not given the sweets that they wanted at the supermarket. And this negative energy is becoming more and more apparent in the voices of politicians. The ‘other’ is increasingly designated as an enemy instead of a friend. Just look at the political debates. They are quite different to 30 years ago – aggressive language, a hostile tone of voice, personal attacks, slander campaigns, etc… Deploying these verbal and media weapons only creates more division instead of the desired connection, peace and commonality. 

How do we rid ourselves of polarisation and aggression?

Maybe the answer lies in the tragic incident in which the actor Alec Baldwin accidentally shot his camera woman dead in the Autumn of 2021. Cinematic and real violence had never been so closely intertwined. Just like in first-person-shooter video games, where killing someone you don’t like is ‘normalised’. So why not just stab your neighbour or your spouse if they don’t do what you want? There have never been as many stabbings or shootings in the Netherlands as in the last few years.

What happened on that film set was incredibly painful and tragic at the ego and soul level. But at a higher level (spirit or universal consciousness) it demonstrates that this type of ‘shooter’ film only feeds the arms trade and boosts sales of murder games. And do you want to contribute to a world like that? To a world of more violence and aggression? Whether with physical or verbal weapons?

The solution is to yourself personally let go of both physical and verbal weaponry. Because aggression feeds on itself. Just take a look at traffic on the roads. No difference.

The solution – a respectful approach

You can make a better 2022 if you do what our leaders have failed to do so far. The solution is obvious, because it is the opposite of aggression and anger (fed by our own ego). Simply love and all its variations, which lead to a better life together. 

‘You can make a better 2022 if you do what our leaders have failed to do so far’

Practical Personal Leadership TIPS 

Even if you meet people who you find difficult, who you are allergic to or who you see as an enemy. Whether it is someone else in traffic, your child wanting to buy a coat that is much too expensive, a colleague who is tremendously irritating or your partner who seems to be ever-present during the Corona pandemic.

Be aware of your ego tendency to want to be right and approach other people in a new way. Just see what happens! How?

  • Let go of all images, feelings and incidents involving the other person and approach them neutrally and without inhibitions. As if you are seeing him/her for the first time.
  • Do not use verbal weapons, but always approach others on the basis of friendliness.
  • Do not respond to expressions of aggression, and do not reply in the same manner.
  • Really listen. Ask in-depth questions and try to explore the opinion or actions of the other person (instead of judging). exploreren (i.p.v. alleen te veroordelen)
  • Always approach others always with a sense of curiosity, lack of inhibition, friendliness, neutrality, sincerity, (fraternal) love, truth and peace (several spiritual characteristics that transcend your ego).

Every one of us, our leaders, but also you, have a choice in this.Every day, every minute, wherever you are!

Then you can show how you re a new leader of your own life. Because no weapon, including hurtful words, can withstand real love.

'No weapon, including hurtful words, can withstand real love’

Then you set an alternative example. And not only that. Even with the emotional storms that currently rage around us and all of the terrible things you must deal with, everything becomes lighter and more bearable with love. Like a balm for the soul. Even if you know, for example, that a close family member will die of Corona or something else – with love it becomes more bearable, more special and in a certain way more beautiful and heart-warming.

‘The most terrible thing can be borne with love’

New Year wish – a better 2022 for you, for our leaders and for everyone

My wish for you and everyone is a lighter 2022 for you and for you to create more light in your immediate surroundings. If you don’t, you will be doing the same as most leaders in the last year. A case of the pot calling the kettle black. With the consequence being more division, more aggression and a sea of unhappiness.

The choice is yours. Every day, every minute, with everyone.

If you do choose this path, 2022 really will be a better year for you!

I wish you a wonderful, loving, heart-warming and connecting 2022!

Martin Thoolen

In 2022, you will see my new inspirations in relation to leadership and personal leadership. Stay tuned and check my website now and then: www.martinthoolen.com/en

#newyear #leadership #professionalcoaching #coaching #businesscoaching #conflictmanagement © 2022: Martin Thoolen

© 2022: Martin Thoolen

Martin Thoolen

My 30 years of professional experience as an awareness coach, clinical and organisational psychologist has enabled me to help thousands of clients in Personal or Collective Leadership. Both groups and individuals, in coaching sessions, training courses, leadership development and organisation development programs, retreats and seminars.
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