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Problems. They’re everywhere. In our personal lives, in the world all around us. Who’s got solutions?

Many problems seem impossible to solve, like conflict in the Middle East and the Ukraine. Climate change. Economic disparity. Gender confusion. We hear about them every day. Solutions? Not so much.

Then there are all the personal problems. Health and financial and relationship issues. You could customize your own list. I did and decided that I was fed up with waiting for someone else to sort this or for the stars to line up just right or for A.I. or helpful aliens to come to my rescue or to become enlightened and just transcend them all.

What To Do?

I spent 21 years living in an international intentional spiritual community where I did my best to get enlightened enough that these problems would dissolve themselves into a different dimension. During that time I rarely paid attention to the news. I concentrated on evolving myself and helping to save the world with my energetic transmission.

It’s a bit embarrassing now to reflect on the hypnotic power of magical thinking that governed most of my life during those years as I looped around on the spiritual bypass. I did learn a lot and graduated with a fierce desire to become what I now call a “visionary activist.” I wrote a book about it, Now or Never, A Quantum Map for Visionary Activists.

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This term was partly inspired by the RUMI scholar Andrew Harvey, who coined the term “sacred activist.” I interviewed him years ago, still available on YouTube here, and his passion infected me permanently. So I got my head out of my navel and began considering practical avenues of service.

Time to Change?

Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing but expecting different results. On this basis many of us are verifiably crazy (I was) and certainly our society is. Here’s one example: trying to end war with war. We have umpteen examples of that not working, yet we keep doing it. What could ever change just that one insane habit?

And here’s a personal example we can probably all relate to, if we’re honest: complaining. Many of us complain about “them,” those evildoers who are wrecking the world. How has complaining ever changed things for the better? What makes a difference is when we do something about it on the inside (changing how we think and feel, which can inspire changes in our behavior), and on the outside (following through, like boycotting a company you know is doing harm, voting differently, championing a worthy cause, etc).

It seems that I was given an extra portion of imagination at birth and I’ve written stories, articles, and books since I learned to read at age four so it’s easy for me to invent stuff and then write about it. I’ve now decided to focus my writing on coming up with solutions.

The Intention Results (I.R.) Review

Here’s a simple exercise you might enjoy experimenting with. It’s a technique for doing something we rarely do: learning from history.

  1. Intention: What did I intend to create or do? This isn’t always obvious until we consciously ask ourselves this question.

  2. Results: What actually happened? Did I succeed or fail? What are the details.

  3. Learning: What could I change, not do, or do better? How might I change?

  4. Solution: Could I develop better approaches in the future, instead of blindly and dumbly repeating past mistakes (while hoping I somehow succeed anyway)?

What Breaks Your Heart?

I still remember Andrew Harvey’s response to a question I asked him after our interview. How does a person know where to best contribute when there are so many urgent issues competing for our advocacy? His answer was immediate and compelling: “Just ask yourself, ‘What breaks my heart?’”

What breaks my heart is willful ignorance that leads to unnecessary suffering. For instance, I keep getting bad news of friends dying or suffering serious injuries as side effects from this experimental medicine we were ordered to take. I’m heart sick about that. So, I write and speak out about being intelligent with what we put in our bodies. Diet, exercise, attitude, etc. There’s so much we can do to keep ourselves healthy, being responsible for ourselves.

Ultimately, this may be the greatest inspiration any of us can offer for others, to demonstrate honesty with ourselves, learning from everything that happens, and constantly seeking self-improvement.

I find that the I.R. Review keeps me on track and my favorite time to do it is just before sleep. I’ve come to think of the day that’s ending like a child I need to tuck in for the night. When I go over what happened during the day I always surface unfinished business and notice how my mind is still wrestling with an awkward conversation or some little disappointment, or that I neglected to adequate celebrate a win. It only takes a few minutes to complete my review, to quiet my mind, and it sure helps me sleep better!

What breaks your heart? And... What will you do about it?

Copyright 2024. Published with permission of the author.

Book by this Author: The Success Paradox

The Success Paradox: How to Surrender & Win in Business and in Life
by Gary C. Cooper with Will T. Wilkinson.

The Success Paradox is the improbable story of a life and business transformed, told in a warmly authentic style that says: “I hit rock bottom, I surrendered, I began doing the opposite of what I’d been doing before, miracles happened, and here’s what you can learn from my journey.”

With riveting personal details that illuminate his discoveries, Gary details how he defied the odds – not just to survive but to thrive - by implementing a series of paradoxical strategies, fundamentally opposite to anything he’d ever done before. The result is an inspiring book about what happened to him and a blueprint for readers to experience how to surrender and win in business and life.

Click here for more info and/or to order this hardback book. Also available as a Kindle edition and as an Audiobook.

More books by Will T. Wilkinson

photo of Will WilkinsonAbout the Author

Will T Wilkinson lives in Maui and Oregon with his wife of 31 years. He writes books, coaches aspiring writers, interviews open-minded friends on his podcast, and his work can be found at His latest book, The Success Paradox, can be found here on Amazon.

Will is the Executive Director of The OpenMind Fitness Foundation, exploring innovative solutions to our global mental health crisis. To access free mind fitness programs contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Find out more at