Innovation & Change

What I learned from an ex-teacher.

Recently, after too long, I was once again at a live concert, one made up for after two years. Open Air. Conspicuously well-behaved concertgoers, no stress at the entrance. The access ribbon in capital letters cleared any doubts about who is a VIP. (I'm not, now I have it in writing).

Concert bracelet Sting

The weather was a splendor, as was the Esterházy Palace Park as the scene of the crime. The culprit named Sting with his henchmen in the act, and in top form.

An elegant, powerful performance by a nearly 71-year-old man who is not only physically incredibly fit (presumably thanks to 70 years of yoga, a macrobiotic diet and an occasional Message in a Bottle from his own winery). Sting is two years older than his legendary Fender Precision Bass, but looks twenty years younger. Apparently he understood that if you take good care of yourself, you don't get old, you get vintage.


In the blogcast, I read this recent blog article to you. With emphasis, of course!

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On stage, the gathered community of The Police and Sting devotees witnessed a dynamic person at work, full of alert energy in body and soul. The same goes for his playmates from different age groups.

Sting stands on stage and plays guitar

Professionalism as it should be. Wow! Thank you!

The inner story in this experience was to be experienced in the interaction of these wonderful great experts, as an exemplary lesson for what our world is missing in all corners: A group of persons brings in their best, so that a lot of others can enjoy the resulting great whole. The world was a better place, at least for two hours, plus an encore.

The musicians' reward? Naturally, a (hopefully princely) fee. Whereby I'm pretty sure all of them wouldn't give up what they do on stage, even if they had to make a living from other jobs. Who else can say that about their work? Which company has that as the maxim of its actions?

The true reward of stage performers is paid out beyond pennies and nickels, adjusted for inflation. And in the form of positive energy, as vibes from the audience. Not just with applause, no-no. It's about much more: it's about connectedness, about energy distributed and shared. Anyone who has ever stood on a stage knows what is meant by that. And anyone who has ever done a live performance online knows that even more, just the other way around.

It is a giving and a receiving. Not a giving and a receiving. And certainly not a giving in order to receive. Not at all! Giving from the whole, whole heart. Receiving with joyful gratitude, among the fields of gold.


Beauty through euphony, joyful experiences, astonishing virtuosity, feeling the spark of the divine within, moods one way or another - the magical effect of music has many facets, and yet none of them surpasses the unique feeling of connection when people experience real, handmade music together. As an audience and even more, in making music together.

Lesson Numero 2 by former teacher Gordon Sumner and his colleagues: For something like this to take place, the protagonists need a very special skill, namely listening. To the others on stage, and to the audience with the inner ear. Those who make music together thus experience a deep truth of life: connectedness only comes about when people listen to each other. When one listens, not to answer and drown out, but to understand and to experience apparent opposites as the complementary, to integrate them. Then the souls conspire.

Like-minded and like-minded people unite in the magic of the moment, in their artistry, through inspiration. Together they create a great whole - for their own edification and for the edification of all who participate in it. Man as the only living being who can create beauty for its own sake. Much more still must create, so that its soul remains healthy.

It's not just in music. It also works in team sports. Yes, even in individual sports, which are usually practiced competitively by egomaniacs, but nevertheless carry the strong truth of a necessary bond. Without the field of competitors, no world champion would be a world champion. Without a field of competitors, no record holder would be a record holder. Yes, even in the individual competition we need the others. As a benchmark, but even more as an incentive.

So what if we generally see the others, the antagonists in our own history, with new eyes? Not as opponents, adversaries or even enemies, but as rivals? If we no longer think as the goal of competitions to defeat, but to inspire each other? After all, in all areas, the same ironclad training principle applies as in sports and music: train with others who are better than you. That's how you learn the most. And: the teacher learns the most. So give and receive.

"What if ..." - is how many authors begin their reflections when writing a story. So, "What if we looked at what our work is, what our companies do, what business is, and what's called 'the economy' from that perspective, too?" - Rock'n'roll, right?


"I am because you are" tells us the African philosophy of connectedness Ubuntu, which, among others, shaped Desmond Tutu's work. "I am because you are" postulated Thích Nhất Hạnh, the teacher of applied Buddhism. "I am because of you so I am," writes Benedictine monk David Steindl-Rast into our genealogy. This list can be continued across cultures and eras, and see: in the end, everywhere since, we all tell ourselves the same story about interdependent connectedness. And all too often we act head-on against it, because we drown out the fine sound from within ourselves with the story of trumping.

In the current brutal reality of life, little reason to hope for improvement crowds the front of the stage, and Sting's song "Russians" has also been touring for almost 40 years:
We share the same biology, regardless of ideology
But what might save us, me and you
Is if the Russians love their children too

But we should leave no stone unturned in making this ancient story of connectedness, balance and integration - indeed, of antagonistic cooperation - the subject of a New Story, the New Story that we so urgently need as people, companies and society. This New Story is about inspiring each other, about empowering each other, about approaching each other instead of defeating each other, about eliminating each other, about going after each other. It is about realizing that we, as the good guys in our own story, are the adversaries in the story of others, and thus an everyone-against-everyone will continue to rut the world with a trail of blood until we see, recognize, and understand. Opportunities for this abound. Even at an open-air concert.

"The Lord gave us music to bring people together," said Gladys Presley, mother of the King of Rock'n'Roll, in ELVIS . (Be sure to watch!) But it's not just music that brings us together. In our jobs, in our private lives, in our civic engagement, wherever we are here and now - in our daily practical actions - we can make this New Story of Connectedness its grand entrance, and make it the permanent focal point of a future we want to live in. And can. Every little thing we do is magic.

Apropos: Every breath you take, I'll be watching you! Or in other words: This is the only newsletter in the world that can read your mind. That's why I know what you're thinking right now, "What can I do on my own?" Right?

Two wise ladies give us the answer. Margaret Mead is one: "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world*: indeed it's the only thing that ever has."

The other is my grandmother, old Story Dudette, who, after a yoga class together, slipped Sting his nicknamed yellow-and-black-striped sweater over his head with the words, "New Story. New Glory."

* "Change the world" please in the sense of Greta Thunberg, not Vladimir Putin ...