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Renewal And Innovation Through Possibility Thinking

Renewal And Innovation Through Possibility Thinking

Several captions and quotes placed on the walls of the USM community (Universal Solidarity Movement) at Indore capture the attention of all who go there. They communicate the vision and spirituality which the Movement is promoting through its various training programs and activities. The latest addition to these captions is: “Dare to dream of something creative which no one has done in the world so far”.

Indore based Universal Solidarity Movement of Value Education for Peace aims to build leaders with moral and ethical values guided by a broad, inclusive and lasting vision. Week after week hundreds of student leaders, teachers and heads of institutions from all parts of India come there for exposure and training. It is perhaps the only place in India (may be in the world also) where schools bring groups of student leaders during the working days for a full week training throughout the year. Parents encourage their students to go for this training program even if they miss classes for ten days. The transformations which take place in the lives of participants make the schools to bring their students for this training year after year. The young students as well as adults who come for the training are challenged to abandon their routine ways of following the crowd and reinvent themselves. They are challenged to dream of doing something creative which no one has done in the world. They are guided to draw out their hidden talents from within and formulate a broad, inclusive and lasting vision of life, policies and priorities. 

During the training sessions the participants are challenged through the lives of many men and women who achieved great things despite many adversities and obstacles. Through input sessions, group activity and film sessions they are motivated to develop ‘POSSIBILITY THINKING’ and ask themselves, “if he and she could achieve it, why can’t I?” Apart from presenting diverse role models to inspire them they are also made aware of the truth that each one of them is an incarnation of God. God, the Supreme Being, with all power and goodness is fully present in them. Each one is motivated to draw out and maximize the Divine from within.

A vast majority of people are led by negative thinking of impossibilities. They find hundreds of excuses for not making an effort even once. With their negative thinking and speaking they spread negative energy all around them.

 There are also people with positive thinking who see goodness in persons and able to live and work with them. However these people with positive thinking and attitudes are busy in maintaining the status quo. They are not able to make any innovation in their lives and in the organisations which they lead. They are ‘good persons’ who are led by the routine practices.

In contrast, people with possibility thinking always look for innovation. They constantly ask themselves, “WHY NOT”? All the scientific inventions and reforms in the society came through the possibility thinking of women and men. They enriched the world by their creativity. When Sir Issac Newton asked,” why doesn’t the apple go upward instead of falling down? ”, he invented theory of Gravitation. The possibility thinking of asking “why not?” made it possible for Thomas Edison to invent electric bulb despite thousands of failures. After each failure he looked for a new alternative with a question, “why don’t I try another way?” The question which Wright Brothers asked, “why can’t we fly like birds?” helped them to produce the first aeroplane. Many scientific discoveries and political revolutions took place in the world because of the visionary leaders and scientists who were possibility thinkers.

Only in an atmosphere of freedom and fearlessness possibility thinking is nurtured and developed. Today I recall how as a child studying in 4th class I had the exposure to several newspapers and magazines at home. While I was studying in the middle school I was able to develop a small library at home with books like , “My Experiments with Truth”, “Discovery of India”, biographies of great men like Dr. Rajendra Prasad, St. Francis of Assisi, volumes of “Nam Munnottu” (we go forward) of freedom fighter and journalist K P Kesava Menon and many others. The free atmosphere at home made it possible for me to go to the local cinema theatre to watch films which always had some inspiring characters and moral lessons.

The familiarity with newspapers and magazines created a desire for journalism in me and editing a magazine. As a student I knew the power of pen and ideas. While studying in the 9th class I started editing a hand- written monthly magazine with all the features of a professional magazine. I continued my interest in writing while I was in college also. The possibility thinking of doing something which no one did prompted me to opt for Hindi literature in the college though it was not my mother tongue. I was the only student in my batch who took Hindi literature in SFS College, Nagpur. Again I asked myself, “Why don’t I start writing articles in Hindi for publication in the magazines?” During the college days many of my articles were published in magazines like “Satya Sakshi” and “Sandesh” published from Varanasi and Patna.

Though hailing from Kerala with Malayalam as my mother tongue I asked myself: “Why don’t I write and publish a book in Hindi”? As a student in the college I could publish my first book in Hindi with the title, “Prem Samrat”. This was followed by another one, “Prem Kranti”. Both these were plays meant for stage performance. It is because of the possibility thinking I also wrote over fifty songs in Hindi on various issues which were converted into music album with the title “Pratyasa”.

 My dream of editing and publishing a magazine in Hindi language was realized when I became the Director of Youth Commission in MP. “Vikalp”, a quarterly publication for the youth was closed for two years due to lack of funds. I could revive it again and made it a monthly with five thousand subscribers within a year. Since many years I had been nurturing a dream of publishing a quality magazine to motivate the youth. With the help of Dr. Jacob Kani we launched it without bothering about its financial implications. Its popularity is increasing day by day due to its presentation and content.

The foundation and growth of Universal Solidarity Movement of Value Education for peace with its unique features and activities is another miracle of possibility thinking. From the day one of its launching I asked, “Why don’t we run this program from a rented apartment?” Initially many thought of it as an accident because of the infancy and lack of funds. Now after twenty four years of its functioning and expansion of its activities throughout the country people started understanding the meaning of the option I made. No appeals are made to any funding agency to meet the expenses of building rent, salary of staff and other expenses because of the possibility thinking, “why don’t we run the Movement by self-finance?” Since its inception the dedicated members and participants of various programs continue contributing to the expenses.

Again it is because of the possibility thinking, “why don’t we have a community of persons from diverse faith, cultural background living and working together for a common vision?” USM is a pluralistic community. This unique community works with total transparency and team work.

The unique practices of USM community, such as, daily community evaluation and planning, availability and welcome throughout 24 hours of the day to friends and strangers, total transparency of finance, practice of pluralistic vision and spirituality in organizational system and content of training sessions were evolved due to the possibility thinking .

It is the possibility thinking which gave birth to National Peace Movement and National Peace Convention which takes place every year in different parts of India which attracts hundreds of people from all walks of life. They are examples of the outcome of possibility thinking and its impact on numerous people across the country.

After opting for the hard and adventurous ways of experimenting to do things through unique ways from 1993, Universal Solidarity Movement today is recognized for its uniqueness. USM has become destination for hundreds of students, teachers and persons in leadership positions from all parts of India. Every week groups of young students and adults travel to USM community at Indore to experience the unique fruits of possibility thinking.

Spirituality is the foundation of possibility thinking. Unique and trend setting experiments are fruits of realization of oneself that the all-powerful God dwells in every human being. With trust in God if each person will maximize the Divine within, miracles will happen. Human achievements are manifestation of God’s glory. With humility and gratitude I constantly praise the all-powerful and all loving God who dwells within me and works through me.

#(Published on 13th March 2017, Volume XXIX, Issue 11)