I’ve spent a lot of time in rugby changing rooms, both as a player in my youth and as a passionate supporter. There is nothing more electric than this place at half time when the team’s down half-a-dozen points or more. On a recent memorable occasion, the coach came into the room, looked at the long faces on the benches, and said seven words. “If you really want it, it’s yours.” These words could be the foundations of sustainability. The New Zealanders went on to defeat their Australian opponents 34-20 to win the Rugby League World Cup for the first time. I believe that we can only inspire people with the determination to make sustainability part of their lives. We cannot direct, instruct, or command them.
I’ve written before about how I believe that for greater sustainability we first need to change how we think about the task ahead. Big problems give big headaches and an inability to take effective action. Ask any CEO the best way to tackle a big problem and they will tell you to break it down into manageable parts. It is the same with sustainability. Take the problem apart and light an inspirational fire under it. “If you really want it, it’s yours.”
The team that heard those words went out onto the field and trounced opponents that everyone else thought out-classed them. From the moment they ran back onto the grass, it was clear that each one of them totally understood what was required and believed in the dream. Together they were literally unbeatable. I believe it will be the same with sustainability. Once we all understand the problem in a way that makes us believe we can make a significant contribution, and we are inspired to work together to give that contribution some heft, change will start rolling.
A sustainable world will come from an inspirational dream, not an insurmountable threat. It is the same with the economy, social issues, and the environment. A sustainable planet is possible if we all have the same dream.
If we really want it, it’s ours.