My Word for 2022, Civility

As I have blogged before, I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. I allow a word to pick me and then understand and practice that word in my life for the upcoming year. I believe the word that has my attention for 2022 is civility.

Civil war is a big concern I have heading into 2022. Barbara F. Walter is a poli sci professor at UCSD and an expert on civil wars, terrorism, and violent extremism. She has a book coming out in January 2022,  How Civil Wars Start: And How to Stop Them. She was interviewed by David Remnick, The New Yorker Radio Hour podcast. Give a listen at this link. Walter serves on the Political Instability Task Force (PITF) that helps the CIA predict upcoming civil wars in the world. If you go down the PITF checklist of what makes a civil war likely, the United States is in dangerous territory demonstrated by the insurrection we saw on January 6, 2021, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC. As a result, the United States has moved from being a democracy to an anocracy. Walter writes, “We are no longer the world’s oldest continuous democracy. A partial democracy is three times as likely to experience civil war as a full democracy.”
Civility is a huge behavior to move us back to democracy, BUT it requires a lot from each of us including:
– spend more time “slow thinking” rather than “fast thinking” (which is nearly 95% of our thinking!)
– be more curious and less judgmental. If you are a fan of Ted Lasso, here is a lesson in becoming more curious and less judgmental.
– embrace and practice emotional intelligence including being more self-aware, better at self-management, becoming more empathetic, and continuously practicing relationship management (a leader’s #1 responsibility!)
– acknowledge and face your fears. Brene Brown‘s research shows the opposite of love is fear. Hate and indifference are rooted in fear. Our ugly behavior, our addictions, our suffering are rooted in fear.

May civility be our New Year’s resolution as well as the gifts we give to each other going into 2022.