This morning I watched Barrack Obama and Angela Merkel speaking about what it means to take responsibility in our world. They spoke to about 70.000 people in their audience and more watching them on TV.
I’ve asked myself if there is some inspiration I can take from two of the world’s best and most empathetic leaders of my lifetime.
And yes there is something.
I found it astonishing how positive and optimistic Mr Obama spoke of the future he sees for mankind.
He did it by pointing at the successful and good changes we witnessed during those past 50 years. We tend to forget that in difficult times. And we live in difficult times currently.
He is right. We reduced extrem poverty on this planet a lot. We increased education for children, especially for girls in many countries. Much more humans than ever before have access to clean water, to food, to healthcare, to political power.
And while it’s still a long way to go to make sure all humans have the same access to all of it we yet can see that we can achieve things together. A common goal can be reached. The progress on the way to accomplish it can be measured. And what already is reached improves the life of many people.
It’s worth working for a better world. It’s not in vain. I understand President Obama’s contagious optimism now and I will try to keep his view on things in mind.
The second point I will take away from this event was said by Angela Merkel.
She pointed out that a lot of processes of change need time.
That’s something we also tend to forget in these times that are very dominated by looking at our world from an economical point of view. Success in economics mostly means to be quick. Success is measured in end of the quarter results.
But the tempo of economics is not the tempo of mankind. As an engineer I’m used to make schedules. I try to predict when a project will be finished. I always regard the quickest way to come to my goal. That makes many projects a flop because the best possible way does not always happen.
Nonetheless many of the buildings we discuss as problematic (because we couldn’t hold the schedule) are brilliant buildings once they’re ready. Things take time. And we can’t always predict how much time they take.
But while it barely happens in economics to let things take the time they need istead of the time they’re given that’s often the only way to go in political questions. We’re just so used to economical thinking that we often loose the patience or even the belief in longer processes. Our short election terms even make it impossible often for politicans to plan long term change processes.
Despite that we should allow ourselves to think big. We should go ahead in improving our societies, our world with bigger plans that any elected government can achieve in 4 or 5 years.
If we want a world without terrorism we need to go on the way to create this world. It may need another 50 years to get there. Maybe longer. And we shouldn’t see a government as not successful just because the steps towards this goal are small.
Some things simply need time.
And that’s why I love the idea of Barrack Obama to pass those experiences on now to the next very young generation of humans. It’s a good thing to encourage them to think big on their goals now. It’s good not to tell them that their time may come later.
And it’s a brilliant idea to step back a bit and to support the young ones, to believe in them, to trust them. We never had so many good educated young people on this planet before.
They will find they right way for mankind.