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Breaking Free: Bringing the Overview Effect to Work and Life

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Upon breaking free of Earth’s gravity and going to space, some astronauts experienced a surprising change in their perspective of life on Earth.  Author Frank White(1) named this phenomenon “The Overview Effect”.  Some astronauts also discovered a compelling drive within themselves to help make business, government, healthcare, and the world as we know it, a better place.

Astronauts who experienced the Overview Effect were witness to a message from the universe about how to be with the planet and each other.  It’s about being “in the same boat” together, and the possibility that many more of us of us can break free of our own certainty about “the way it is” to create moments of transcendence, individually and collectively at any point in time.  It is about shifting our point of view to see that what actually needs attention in companies, communities, and relationships is always greater than the sum of the parts.

In the same way that astronauts must achieve escape velocity to reach space and see the Earth anew, so is it possible for many on Earth to generate an equivalent escape velocity to break free of the gravity of the cultures and circumstances that keep us from going for our dreams with courage and conviction.   The challenge and purpose in writing this article is to ally with kindred spirits in learning more and more ways to achieve that escape velocity and bring the Overview Effect down to Earth.

Toward an Overview Way of Being

In 1994, Yehezkel Dror(2) presented a commissioned report to the Club of Rome on the capacity to govern.  He analyzed the state of national, local, and corporate governance in the world, and made a number of sensible recommendations.  His final word, however, was that when all was said and done, what mattered most was the character of the leaders.

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