Inner Compass – The dawn of a new fundament to build on

With Covid-19 spreading around the world, the last weeks have created a situation in which we have all been confronted with an uncertainty unprecedented for the majority of us. For many – including myself, being in the middle of building a company – this has caused a ’spiral of thoughts’ in various moments, especially during the night. All we as humans have ever come to understand as pillars to our economical and societal fundament has turned from solid concrete to what can currently be best described as a muddy swamp. Not only does that swamp seem to be almost impossible to build on at this very moment despite all optimism, it also seems that we are sinking deeper into it every day – with the danger of drowning. We just don’t know yet where the bottom is (if and when a vaccination will be found and distributed to all humanity and what the economical and social consequences will be in the meantime), and what we need to do in order to get out and build a new fundament we can all stand on again.

The big question is: What now? How do we find orientation? Where do we get the ingredients from to create a new basis that allows us all to build on and see a new bright future again?

When questioned in the past to find an answer or solution to a problem, we’d tell each other or even more so ourselves: “THINK!!!” But what is learned knowledge worth that is based on a normality that might be gone indefinitely? I am quite certain I’m not the only one who is currently experiencing an often almost overwhelming realization that I know far less than I thought. I can think, think and think again, go through my experiences and learnings of the past professionally and academically – and just disappear in yet another rabbit hole trying to find answers.

In all this confusion, a liberating realization hit me very recently with full force, which has since provided me with a new fundament, that even seems more solid than the one I had been building on before: while the magnetic field in my head was disappearing that had served as basis for my former ‘learned compass”, another compass showed up, that since then has taken over: the – what I would call – ‚inner compass‘. An inherited tool that points to a much clearer path. I knew it had always existed, but had pushed it aside persistently over the years in order to function within the „rat race“ system that I was faced with ever since leaving high school and university. This old compass considered anything other than ratio and competitive behavior to be obstacles to truly ‚win the game’.

The ‚inner compass’ however we all share. It connects us with each other now, as well with our common history and future. And I’ve made the decision to allow it to accompany me again since the moment in which I opened – or was forced to open – my eyes again. It is the knowledge and wonder that we have always carried as humans, and which is far more profound than the learned compass that is primarily based on theories of recent history that are now coming into question.

It does not seem hard to re-discover this true awareness of the beauty and interdependence of life on this magnificent Planet again, the sensation of being truly alive, the essence of connection with ourselves and with all others, the appreciation of the bond to family and friends, the fact, that nothing is for granted, especially not to be healthy and alive – and that the path forward is together. And that means really together.

To put it simply: the inner compass is the clear understanding that we are because everything else is. Unity – and not separation. And that all of this also applies to business now in this evolving new reality in order for us to survive and thrive.

Since I don’t consider myself special or more knowledgeable than anyone else, I am certain that we all have this inner compass inside – the one holistic navigation tool that balances our individual needs with the needs of the bigger whole.

So: what if we all find and apply this inner compass a little more as we are about to enter the phase of (re)building our new „normal“, our new reality? I would argue that it gives us clear direction how to create a meaningful and holistically successful life and society in a way more sustainable way. Picturing looking back from the future, a lot seems to be hinting towards the fact that this crisis might be the ultimate opportunity to create the next evolution chapter of our species: a society whose fundament is to sustain life through a healthy connection with ourselves, each other and the limited, fragile resources of our Planet, our only home.

I am personally extremely excited to be finally embracing and unleashing fully what I’ve always only dreamed of and felt deeply as truth and use it as my primary compass for my personal and professional life. Wouldn’t you agree that acting from a position of being your authentic, connected self is the most liberating experience with the highest chance of leading to true happiness, health and success? Don’t you think it’s time now too to create the reality that former generations only philosophized about? We have created the tools we need for that already. Now seems to be the time to use them in a manner that simply makes sense.

Therefore, I would like to invite you to challenge yourself and others to find and use your inner compass (again), so that we can all contribute to a healthy society and a Planet that’s worth living on. The easiest way to do so is by remembering what it truly means to be human.

Wolfgang Schmidt-Ulm dos Santos
Wolfgang is one of two co-founders of UPTOUS. He and his co-founder Daniel, are on a quest to create the best possible fashion products for the best possible prices to allow sustainable fashion to elevate from luxury to the new global standard.