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Reading Reflection: Emergent Strategy




I have been slowly reading, absorbing and reflecting as I read Adrienne Maree Brown's Emergent Strategy. This book is so brilliant, and provides a lens for exploration that I have not experienced before.


Adrienne Maree Brown introduces the various elements of emergent strategy, and includes a list of the various things we have been taught, told or made to believe in a western/US context. Here's the one I struck me the most:


"In the United States specifically, though I see this most places

I travel, we learn that we only have value if we can produce - only

then do we earn food, home, health care, education." (pg. 48)


As someone who has spent a lot of time feeling that my contribution to the world is directly tired to my ultimate measure of success as a human, I was really disturbed by this reality. We are told that our worthiness lies within the value of our production. How fundamentally flawed is that?


One way that I think about this is that our system is designed to reward economic contribution. If you help make the economy go around, then you are able to access basic human rights. Our system is designed in such a way that just by being human, you do not have the right to basic necessities.


On a professional level, I find this so difficult to reconcile. I have been told that in order to be a good entrepreneur, I need to sell sell sell and that my value is based on the number of people I work with and the money I make in return. I have been told that my worthiness lies in my production or output.


Brown offers incredible insight and new perspectives in reframing that perspective, and how to engage in shifting that experience of what you do, how you do it, and how you experience value.


What I know to be true for me is that I have value because I am human. It is exactly because I am flawed, always learning, constantly exploring, making mistakes and owning them, and choosing a new way forward from them that I have value and contribute in this world and to my community.


I encourage everyone to take a look at Emergent Strategy as a guide for how we can newly engage with ourselves and the world.



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