Why is it called ‘The Churning’?

People often ask me why this book is called “The Churning”. I tell them there are three reasons.

The first is the churning that is happening around us: the changes in politics, the economy, society, technology, and of course in the environment. Together these have created a volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous world. This is the outer, physical churning we face.

The second type of churning is the inner, emotional churning we can sometimes experience as a result: the feelings of loss, uncertainty, anxiety, and even fear that can easily arise when so much change is happening all at once. These can make us feel churned around like a sock in a washing machine. This is our inner, psychological and emotional churning.

And the third kind of churning is the type that turns cream into butter: the churning that makes us stronger and more valuable. Because the fact is that change is nothing new. It has always been with us**. What is different today is only the rate and scale of the changes we are facing.

So if we learn to develop new attitudes, skills, tools, and techniques we can learn to handle even this higher rate of change. And once we have those skills then we can start to use the changes we face as opportunities to become clearer about what matters most to us and more able to achieve that

In other words, with the right attitudes, skills, tools, and techniques, we can use this time of change as an opportunity to ‘churn’ ourselves from the ‘cream’ we are today into whatever type of ‘butter’ we most want to become.

We can churn ourselves to become stronger and more valuable: antifragile.

How much outer churning is happening in your world? How much inner churning is that creating, both in you and the people around you? Are you using this as an opportunity to churn yourself from cream into the type of butter you most want to become?


(**The ancient Hindus also described this process in the legend of The Churning of the Milk Ocean.)


Adapted from Inner Leadership: tools for building inspiration in times of change.

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(And remember: you can’t learn to swim just by reading about swimming, you also need to do the practice.)


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