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Patrick's work is built on eight principles integrating the internal and external worlds. Through nurturing a resilient inner world, we are able to be more effective and thoughtful in our outward actions. Through taking intentional outward action, we give ourselves the chance to grow internally. Unfortunately, our culture and education system have largely neglected inner education. By bringing the inner and outer worlds together, we have an education model that teaches the whole person.
INNER LIFE PRINCIPLES
Globally, we are experiencing high levels of mental suffering: the World Health Organization predicts that by 2020 depression will be the second greatest cause of human suffering. Over the past two decades, hundreds of research reports have been funded by the National Institute of Health showing that mindfulness decreases stress and depression, increases compassion and positive emotions, and leads to higher academic achievement. One study done at Harvard University demonstrated that in 8-weeks of practicing mindfulness, the brain changes chemically to increase memory, sense of self, empathy, and decrease stress.
Social & Emotional Intelligence
Our formal education system greatly undervalues some of the most important forms of intelligence necessary to succeed in the 21st century: social and emotional intelligence. Counter to some beliefs, these are not “soft” skills – Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) can be developed just as any traditional math or science skill. Research shows that those with high levels of social and emotional intelligence thrive as students, in the workplace, and as leaders.
Many people in our culture live “disembodied”—or without an awareness of their mind-body connection. We need to understand how our bodies work and perform their best. This process involves actively linking our physical and emotional states to our mind states. Mind-body connection is not just about “working out”-- it is developing an acute awareness of what one’s body and mind needs to operate effectively in terms of diet, exercise, and sleep. Our culture puts an emphasis on slogging through hard long hours, but this “grind” is not a sustainable work-life balance, nor is it how we achieve the energized mental state of peak performance that leads to excellent outcomes.
Our culture has become alienated from the natural world. In many traditional cultures, young people and adults spent time reflecting in the natural world; it was a place to turn inward and craft a vision for one’s life. We hope to re-acculturate the understanding that connecting deeply with the earth as a way to connect deeply with oneself. Being outside allows us to slow down, develop a greater awareness of our own internal states, and offers a perfect place to reflect on our lives. Research shows that those who spend time outside reflecting are more happy and connected with others and themselves; by going outside we are really able to go within.
OUTER LIFE PRINCIPLES
As the world grows more connected, it is critical that each of us understands our identity in a global context. We are all connected via commerce, technology, and political structures; our actions at home have global implications. By traveling abroad and immersing ourselves in another culture and educating ourselves at home, we can develop cross-cultural empathy and take globally minded action. By developing a global citizenship mindset, we are able to live a life with awareness of all the forces that shape our lives on a daily level—even if they are far away.
The models of social change of the last century will not work for the coming centuries. Given the complexity of modern social problems, we need frameworks to address them, on both micro and macro levels. Systems Thinking and Design Thinking offer us models to tackle today’s problems in a systemic, innovative way. However, we do not have to always innovate forward –we can learn from traditional cultures and “innovate backwards” by finding creative ways to bring back time honored and effective practices like mentoring, collaborative decision-making processes, and governing systems that put the impact on the natural world at the forefront of policy decisions.
Inside Out Leadership
The leadership model that is defined by positions, achievements, and a sense of always having to get somewhere is becoming antiquated. The world is craving leaders who lead with authenticity, an inner awareness, and thoughtfulness for others, as evidenced by leaders such as activist Jerry White, honorable Aung San Suu Kyi, and theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Such leadership starts when people tap deeply into their motivations for serving others and rise to the call of leadership with compassion and empathy – this is leadership as a practice, not a position, and can be learned like any other skill.
At the core of leading a meaningful life is finding one’s purpose. This is a journey, not a one step process or something to "acheieve". Research shows truly find one’s purpose four key components are needed: dedicated commitment, personal meaningfulness, goal directedness, and a vision larger than one’s self. Finding one’s purpose happens with a mix of experimentation and active reflection. Those who have found their passion and purpose report feeling more content, less stress, and more life satisfaction. This sense of purpose allows us to grow internally and to serve the world. For each person this is a different path, but each of us has the potential to discover our larger purpose in the world.