Life as we knew it changed a week ago.  People are trying to figure out what happened and why. 

We should have seen this EPIC disruption in politics coming.  Not because of politics but because of the disruption trend itself.

Uber disrupted transportation. Amazon disrupted retailing.  Expedia disrupted the travel industry. Digital has disrupted multiple industries. 

 Last week I was teaching systems thinking to one of the largest health care systems in the country.  A physician soberly admitted “health care is ripe for disruption". Little did we know. 

Before you decide to continue reading or not, let me be clear I did not vote for either of the major party candidates.  For the first time in my life,  I felt the only option I could live with was to vote for an independent candidate. Over 6 million fellow Americans made the same choice. I have since experienced the raw emotional reactions of people I care about on both sides.

It has been my privilege to train executives around the world in systems thinking. One of the treasures of the discipline is the understanding of mental models.  I was inspired working with Dr. Peter Senge from MIT over twenty five years ago.  It shifted how I have interacted with the world since.

Mental models are the lens through which we see the world.  They are not necessarily right or wrong. However, they become dangerous when we are NOT aware we are operating from them.  Mental models become like blinders on a horse.  Only this time - as the illustration shows above - ALL involved had blinders.

The epic disruption of politics has three profound life lessons for us to embrace . . . if we find the courage to do so.

1. We All Have Blinders
We all have a set of beliefs that we use to make sense of the world around us. We have mental models about everything - leadership, aging, parenting, and politics. The sooner we each understand this, the better we can adapt. The power lies in understanding these “blinders” are a part of life for everyone.  Once we internalize this, we can begin the process of detachment. 

2. Detach from the DRAMA 
This is a key lesson from the discipline of systems thinking.  Our systems act the way they do because they are designed to do so. As many of you have heard me say before, the events level of thinking will always suck us in if we allow.  The power lies in shifting our focus and finding the power we DO have.  In the case of this epic disruption, detaching may mean unplugging from the news or social media.  Give yourself the gift of time of private introspection. 
3. Seek to Uncover YOUR Mental Models
I read an insightful article this weekend. It was about a Hillary supporter who realized he had never met a Trump supporter.  Much to his credit he made a conscious choice to learn more.  

Beware - your own mental models may kick in when you see who the published the article.  Thus the reason I am sharing the link . . . to show how fast our mental models flare up. 

The lesson is to make a CONSCIOUS choice to test your assumptions about any subject at any given time. 

Use the chaos we are living under at the moment as the gift that it is.  An invitation to rewire our attachment to “the” answer vs. “an” answer.

This is but one of many more disruptions to come.