“Thoreau understood wildness as a quality: wild nature, wild men, wild friends, wild dreams, wild house cat and wild literature. He associated it with other qualities: the good, the holy, the free. Indeed, he equated it with life itself. By freedom he meant not rights and liberties, but the autonomous and self-willed; and by life, not mere existence, but vital and life-force. As much as anything, the wild was a project of the self”.
Nature has all the time in the world. When you are out there, you automatically relax when you carry out procedures like packing, hiking, setting up camp, cooking or just walking. Weather and wind, light and darkness, hunger and thirst are factors that divide our time organically in total accord with nature.
Our programs are based on modern, scientific methods and the latest findings in pedagogy, perception and brain research. In addition, we use knowledge and wisdom brought by the indigenous peoples of the world. In our classroom the skies are high, offering grand views as well as deep insights.
The latest findings and research about transformative organizations have proved to be the old, used and tested knowledge of many of the older cultures that existed in harmony with nature. They possess that deeper and wider knowledge that is passed on from generation to generation; it seems to have codes and the visionary power to see right through our own culture. We like to call it wisdom. Knowledge that deals with the art of living in the ever-changing present with balance and enjoyment are what we call “The Art of Life”.
When we experience the dynamics of life and nature, we get the opportunity to re-learn and meet ourselves through renewed contact with our slumbering senses, our atavistic instincts, and our natural intuition. The ability to cultivate our selves depends on the inner state of mind of the individuals. When we begin to regard ourselves as a part of wholeness, when we dare to let go, things around us start to happen. There is a flow of meaning around us, as if we were part of a greater conversation, sometimes called “the flow”. We supply the place, the tools and the knowledge for body, senses, intellect, feelings, and spirit.
When you rest your back against a tree, neither moving nor speaking, you will soon hear the animals you scared off when you arrived slowly returning to reclaim their territory. Memories and thoughts from your childhood will also return. And maybe that special feeling will emerge the notion that everything hangs together, and that it is vital you make full use of your time on earth.
You just sit there, the miracle takes place before your eyes and you will be in the best possible state of mind to meet the others in the group in open conversations about the future in a way that you may never have experienced before.
All change starts with the individual, and self-knowledge is a fundamental prerequisite for change. Under a star-strewn sky, to the soothing crackle of a fading fire, after hours of silence with a paddle in your hands – there, far from the ticking time traps of everyday life -you stand a fair chance of meeting yourself and your true desire and deepest longing. Out there in Nature, the tiring internal struggle between what you want to do and what you think you must do becomes visible.
You will take home with you a better calibrated inner compass that allows you to summon up the balance and focus in your everyday working life. When you are a complete person, you will feel, and be seen to be, more on the ball and focused on the places where decisions are made.
In a global and highly flexible economy leadership is about mobilizing people’s energies to create values with a deeper meaning. When that kind of collective energy is mobilized, each and every participant becomes committed, productive and satisfied.
A new kind of leadership has emerged and it has proven itself superior- we call it Conscious Leadership. Gone is the “drill sergeant” who threatens and shouts to motivate his employees to work even harder. The new kind of leader acts more like the gardener who tries to understand the potential of each seed, and then creates the best possible conditions for it to grow.
To be in tune with your own self is a prerequisite for all leaders who want to be able to inspire and create, as well as to deserve trust. Confidence in oneself and in one’s role in the group is a basic condition for total presence in constant change. When leaders initiate and maintain creative change, their function is more like the gardener than of the machine-operator. The gardener doesn’t threaten his seeds to get results; he understands that the seed has a potential for a certain kind of growth that is entirely the seed’s own. The gardener also understands that growth is a result of an interaction between seed and environment. To be more precise – the seed and the environment together create a self-improving process of growth.
This is the first principle of leadership: to understand the self-improving processes of growth. If these principles malfunction, change cannot generate energy. The contrary will occur: energy will be lost.
Many people who have taken upon themselves the role of prime mover with a vision of change have burned themselves out. Efficient leaders intuitively recognize the interaction between the forces and learn to direct them and to work with them. They take part in the process of growth and eliminate what limits the possibilities for change. We train executives to lead their employees towards growth learning and development.
Dialogue – beyond the roles
To converse and to conduct a dialog in a group, to make decisions in a council, to find one’s own vision and to overcome inner barriers that are a hindrance to the desired development are skills that have been practiced by mankind for thousands of years. We go to this ancient knowledge and wisdom and incorporate it in our programs.
To learn and consciously create as a group is the great challenge we face if we are to survive as an organization. We need effective methods to break our ingrained cognitive- and behavioral patterns. Our development concept is based on the disciplines on the teachings of Peter Senge, John Milton, Oren Lyons, Laila Spik and others, who have concluded that nature is the best setting in which to practice learning based on experience. There we can quickly reach the unknown depths in ourselves and extract the most of our invested time and experience.
Sharing a sublime experience of nature has a deeply releasing as well as a strongly forging effect on all participants. It provides a relaxing platform for fresh thinking and learning when people meet in a setting in which they feel at ease and comfortable. In nature, we shed many of the ingrained roles and thoughts that cling to the very walls of our conference rooms and the very fabric of our clothes.
The aim is to use “learning and thinking together” to establish a new effective creative behavior, which we will take back to the place where we work.
The ability to innovate, flexibility and the joy of life give us the strength to live in a society in constant change as well as the strength to play a creative role in changing the organization.
Nature as the classroom
Our fundamental idea is that nature is our best teacher in a world in constant change. The coordinating principle of nature is relationships during change. Life makes use of this chaos to create functional solutions. Life itself is formed around identity. Every living creature acts to preserve itself and to develop. Identity is a filter every organism uses to make the world understandable. New information, new relations, changing environments – everything is interpreted through the filter of identity. Every organism creates new rules and exceptions and interprets the rules anew. When living organisms get together, systems are created that give the individual more possibilities and greater freedom. That is why life organizes itself, why it seeks out systems so that everything can flourish. Constant and fast change is the only thing that is constant.
Naturally, learning involves the risk of making mistakes when we try to do something we haven’t done before. Anyone who wants to learn juggling has to reckon on dropping the first few balls. That is why you need to create a secure and comfortable learning space where people will feel free to try out that new way of doing something.
The scene, the laboratory or the workshop has to be designed so as to create these conditions.
To optimize the learning situation the setting should be free of all attributes that will sustain the participant’s subconscious mental frames and models. This means removing cellular phones and overhead projectors as well as suits and ties. Medical research shows that psychophysical rehabilitation is considerably shortened and that the ability to concentrate is increased wherever nature is a part of the total setting. The well- known American scientists Rachel and Stephen Kaplan and the Swede Patrik Grahn have , after many years of research, described the extraordinarily positive psychological effects of close interaction with natural elements. This verifies the empirical knowledge of effective learning acquired in the WiLD process.
Our devoted pathfinders and storytellers come from all over the world and are all inspired by a profound desire to share, guide and move. They will be Lapps, Indian chiefs, quantum physicists and management researchers. Often they will be personalities active on the location of the course. Persons with a story to tell around the fire, a philosophy or wisdom that they will gladly share with anyone who will take the time to listen. These are men and women who have walked their own ways and whom you seldom otherwise get a chance to meet.
Purposeful behavior in the wilderness, like mountaineering or sea-kayaking, strengthens the ego. The left cerebral hemisphere is the most exercised in these activities, which will fortify our self-esteem, ambition, and willpower- qualities called for during most of our daily activities at work as well as privately.
A balance between the two cerebral hemispheres is necessary to stimulate learning, creativity, and innovation. The right hemisphere is creative, intuitive, emotional and perceives entirety – basically what is considered social competence and emotional intelligence (EQ).
Most people have experienced the great mental and physical satisfaction that a sublimely beautiful natural scene combined with sound and smell induces. These experiences can also appear in physical or artistic activities like skiing, sailing or music making. They can also occur spontaneously in a team at work. To reach these ecstatic spheres both cerebral hemispheres have to be included. Many aboriginal peoples still master the technique of consciously jumping back and forth between these two polarities. We practice this particular technique to acquire increased creativity, presence and intensity of life.
Rachel and Stephen Kaplan have in their research identified two forms of attention: guided and non-guided. Guided (beta-frequency) is put into use in everyday life and is very demanding because competing stimuli must be eliminated. This frequency appears mainly in the left hemisphere; over-using it creates mental stress, dysfunctions and reduced tolerance for disappointments and misfortunes.
Non-guided attention (alpha and theta frequency) generates creativity, curiosity, and rapture. It comes spontaneously with pleasing sights, sounds, and smells. Non-guided attention seems to be a distinctive feature of the right hemisphere.
Consciously entering into these cerebral frequencies is one of the central skills that WiLD trains its participants in. Our aim is that all our participants will be more efficient and creative, but also more balanced after having rediscovered and exercised their senses, thus enabling them to enter into the different domains and facets of their consciousness, all according to the demands of the situation.