Wicked Problems Reflection

As I mentioned in my previous post, at the beginning of this course, my knowledge on wicked problems was very limited. In the past, I had heard of some of the examples of wicked problems and I couldn’t imagine how they could be so complicated. Naively, I remember thinking that there must be a simple solution that will fix all the problems. I now realize that my thoughts were very surface level and these problems run much deeper. After this course, I can confidently say that my knowledge has grown exponentially. From learning the definition of wicked problems itself to the implications and effects that a wicked problem causes, this class has done a great job of informing me of the basics of wicked problems. Though just being informed of wicked problems is wonderful, it is crucial that we treat these problems with compassionate curiosity. Compassionate curiosity is about addressing and treating something with not only our mind, but our heart and body as well. A main goal in this course was to add compassionate curiosity to the understanding of wicked problems. In my previous post, I reflected on this and now that we are at the end of the semester, let’s reflect on it once more!

Beginning with understanding wicked problems through our mind, I believe that I have made some good improvements. As I mentioned in my previous post, understanding a wicked problem is extremely important, but can be complicated at times. It can be complicated because every individual on the planet has their own values, beliefs, and experiences. While this is wonderful and it is what makes humanity so interesting, it can definitely have its challenges when engaging with others. An example of this was in my wicked problems group. In our group, we were addressing the broad problem of global housing issues (later, we narrowed it down) and each one of my team members had a different outlook about the issue. This led us to research about different issues within the problem. Though for the purpose of the project, this was a bit confusing but looking back, it gave us an opportunity to understand each other’s interest in the problem. It also allowed us to feed into our curiosity and learn more about this complicated wicked problem. It was very valuable to see how my teammates were thinking about the problem and how it differed from my own thoughts. I believe in the past, I would have been frustrated with the group if we were not on the same page, but this time I didn’t mind at all. I believe that it was for the better and positively contributed to our infographic.

Moving on to the next way to understand wicked problems is through our heart. Wicked problems can be very intense and through our emotions, it can give us a new perspective on it and help us better understand them. Throughout this course, I have experienced many emotions when discussing some wicked problems. I think this has given me the opportunity to empathize with those who have been affected. I think it has also empowered me to become more invested in the problem. Due to being more invested, it will cause me to be more motivated and want to implement change. I also think that it has allowed me to evaluate the many sides of the wicked problem and understand each side’s perspective. I believe that everyone should have empathy when discussing wicked problems. It can really make a difference. It can bring awareness to what someone is going through and convince people to make change. I think our emotions are one of our greatest assets.

Finally, the last way to understand a wicked problem is through our body. Reflecting from my last post, I think my interpretation of understanding wicked problems somatically was correct. It is just being mindful and having awareness of what is going on around us. I think I have made the most improvement in this category. When I used to think about wicked problems, I would get severe anxiety and just refuse to think about it anymore. Through mindful meditation, I believe I have alleviated some of this anxiety. At the beginning of this course, I was extremely confused as to why we were incorporating mindfulness to wicked problems. In fact, the mindful meditation practices in class were quite difficult for me and due to the environment, they would cause me stress out more. But, individually, my mediation practices were extremely beneficial for me and I would look forward to them. I’m quite an anxious person and these practices really helped me manage my anxiety. I will definitely be continuing to practice them. From my mediation practices, I now understand why mindfulness is incorporated into this course because it allows us to just observe the problem and take it all in. 

Another goal of this course was to develop humble and compassionate responses to wicked problems and I believe that I have made good progress towards this goal. In class, our discussion really gave me an opportunity to work on this goal. Our discussions allowed for many people to participate. It also allowed people to contribute their thoughts and opinions on what we were reading that week. It was really interesting. It made me think about our wicked problems in different ways. This was really beneficial in my progress towards this goal because instead of believing that my thoughts about the wicked problem were the best, I was hearing others thoughts. In addition to this, it allowed me to critically think about the problem. As I mentioned earlier, I used to think that all problems have a simple definite answer, but obviously, this is not the case. I think learning to bring humility and kindness to wicked problems has shown me this. I now believe that the only way that solutions can be found is through collaboration with others.  and I believe that being humble and compassionate can be applied to everything, not just wicked problems. Though I need to develop this skill a bit more, I believe that I will use it for the rest of my life. 

With my experience in this course, I believe that I have a great outlook to create positive change in my circle of influence. This course really gave me the tools and knowledge to look at problems in a completely different way. I think this will be extremely beneficial for me and those around me. When wicked problems come up, I can use my tools from this course to discuss them and inform those around me. Through this course, I have grown a lot, not only as a learner, but as a person. This course has been impactful for me and it has taught me many valuable skills. While I will bring up the skills that I have learned with wicked problems, I will use them in everyday life. In fact, I believe that all people would benefit from using the skills taught in this course. Some of the skills such as practicing mindfulness mediation, using my emotions, listening to others values, perspectives, and experiences will be used in my life and help me exponentially. 

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Mindfulness Journey

In today’s world mindfulness is just as relevant. Therefore, through the practice of mindfulness, we are better able to deal with the emotional and physical struggles we face on a day to day basis. Mindfulness is paying attention in a serious way; on purpose, in the present moment, and non judgmentally. This is maintaining a moment by moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, and the surrounding environment. Basically, mindfulness is the practice of intentionally being aware of the present moment. Most benefits of mindfulness is learning to respond better to emotional states. Through the use of mindfulness, we can learn to change habits. With a consistent mindfulness practice, we can learn to understand our mind better. By being mindful we start taking control of our emotions, rather than being driven by them. Mindfulness can be practised anywhere. Mindfulness as an act allows the individual to act as an observer to the events that are occurring outside as well as inside and the impact that it is creating within a person. Scientific proof has shown that mindfulness can help reduce stress. There are many times in my life where I cannot concentrate or remember things. It is possible that mindfulness training has helped attention on a task amplifying what is relevant. Breathing is a big part of mindfulness, it teaches us how to properly breathe. When we take a deep breath in it increases our blood flow, which helps us relax. Managing pain and helping mental health is a beneficial factor of being mindful. Mindfulness is a great way to reduce stress and other mental health issues. I’ve always been intrigued by the practice of mindfulness, and always promised myself that I would be more mindful. At the beginning of this course, I will not lie, I was really confused as to why we were meditating and learning about mindfulness. But as we delved deeper and deeper into living in the present, I now understand why it is so important. Learning to be compassionate has shown me that I am so fortunate for what I have. Some people do not have running water, and now I do not take that for granted. There are so many things that I used to take for granted that I now come to really appreciate the little things, like having clean water to drink, or a house to live in. Wicked problems are something that I really had no idea about before this course, and this course has brought this to light. For the first few weeks, I asked myself over and over “Why are we meditating in a DHM class?” and “Why do we need to do this for Interior Design?” but sure enough the meditation answered my questions. It is so easy to be anxious and worry too much, but calming yourself down is the first step to mindfulness. As the semester has worn on and torn me down, I continue to calm myself down by  doing breathing exercises and tell myself that everything will be okay. My major is so time consuming and stress inducing, and that is why this course is so important and impactful. It has taught me how to deal with the stress from this semester. The stress has been a lot; it has been such a culture shock. Mindfulness has helped me realize that everything in the end works out exactly how it is supposed to. That was something that used to be extremely hard for me, but after taking this course, it has become clear to me. I strive each and every day to become more mindful and to never take things for granted, and that is something I hope I spread to my friends and family, because nobody really realizes that things we believe to be a right are actually a luxury to some. It really pains me to know that people do not have access to things that we think to be common. As I said before, this is where mindfulness and awareness come into play, and to realize how good we have it. Within my inner circle, I hope to spread the idea of mindfulness. I have spoken about this course numerous times to not only my family, but also to my roommates. I want them to also understand that there are people in the world who do not enjoy the same luxuries as we do. My mom is very interested in what I learn about in this class, and I call her every Tuesday to tell her about it. Not only has this class transformed me, but it has transformed some of the people that I hold close to my heart. I feel as if mindfulness needs to be taught by more professors, not only in DHM, but in every major across campus. Not only is it important to learn about society’s problems, but it is also important to learn about how to be mindful. Not enough people know what mindfulness is and my goal is to inform people and help them to become more mindful because not only does it help with my own inner peace, it helps with their peace as well. The dramatic transformation this class has had on my mentality is honestly mind blowing. When it comes to wicked problems, there is not enough compassion surrounding them. People tend to overlook them, and pass the issue on to the next generation, however; if that cycle continues, nothing will get done with solving the wicked problem. People need to take the initiative with these issues, and that can be done through mindfulness. By looking at things in the present, we can start to solve these wicked problems. Holistically, mindfulness is the first step to solving any problem that one faces. Our generation is the generation that will begin to solve these wicked problems. I know this because our generation is more mindful and aware of the problems society is facing. We are a generation of activists who care deeply about the environment and society as a whole. No other generation has made the progress we are making, and I believe this to be because our generation is looking at these wicked problems with the intention to solve them instead of pushing them away generationally. I am very hopeful that our generation is the one to not push these problems onto anyone else, instead I hope that we teach others to be mindful and aware of the terrible truth that some people have to live everyday. It pains me to know that the people before me do not care enough about anyone else to think of solutions to solve these wicked problems, and I believe that this class has helped me realize that. Bottom line is that wicked problems need a solution, and the solution needs to come sooner rather than later. The solution will be found within mindfulness, and I hope that more people understand the impact of mindfulness. There is so much that has to do with finding that inner peace within ourselves that brings clarity to issues outside of yourself. I want everyone to begin practicing mindfulness and maybe then wicked problems can come one step closer to being solved.

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Final Blog

Throughout this course, I have learned that wicked problems cannot easily be contained or reversed and have various potential solutions. Being mindful throughout the entirety of this course has taught me how to be more in touch with my emotions, through labeling. As well as, how to overcome them in order to achieve compassionate curiosity and further humble responses.

The first step to truly understanding a wicked problem is to have compassionate curiosity towards the issue at hand. Compassionate curiosity is really just a fancy way of saying that you care enough about the topic to ask questions and do some research. At the beginning of this course, I felt overwhelmed and afraid of some of the wicked problems we discussed, and in reaction to that fear and anxiety, I would zone out. I wanted to change the topic and not think about our decaying environment and our industry’s role in its rapid destruction. But the truth is, these wicked problems are not just a scary movie that we can turn off and never think about again, they are real and they are happening all around us at incredible speeds. I still feel this fear about these problems but I know churn that fear into curiosity and concern. Instead of thinking to myself “this is so scary!” I choose to analyze the causes and effects of these problems. Which is really all compassionate curiosity is, choosing to think about the problem in regard to its seriousness. Practicing mindfulness throughout my analysis process of understanding a wicked problem helped me to turn these strong emotions into drive. Drive to get a thorough understanding and education of the problem and all of its elements. Practicing mindfulness, for me, is labeling and accepting these emotions of fear and intimidation, taking a deep breath, and persevering through them.

The second, and final, stage of developing a thorough comprehension of these wicked problems is how you respond. I am typically upset and slightly angry at this point and at the start of the course, I would be looking for someone to blame. Don’t get me wrong, there are in many cases people or peoples that contribute greatly to the problem at hand, but the thing about wicked problems is that they have numerous causes, each with its own perspective. Placing blame is not productive and often leads to a limited perspective on the issues at hand. So I, again, take a deep breath, label and acknowledge my emotions, and begin to consider the many contributing factors and their perspectives. There is a villain in every villain’s story and nine times out of ten the real villain in these problems is those who are unaware of and uneducated on these wicked problems and the seriousness and depth of their effects. I have always been conscious of other people’s feelings and views when making decisions because I try to leave a positive mark on each person I interact with. Developing a compassionate response to these wicked problems means giving each perspective the benefit of the doubt and taking the time to consider all of the factors that have built these detailed issues before responding to them. 

To place blame on a single individual or party is to water down the wickedness and depth of the problem at hand. The reason these problems are considered wicked is because they cannot be easily solved. There is no simple solution. We must be mindful of the complexity of a wicked problem. I really struggled, and still do, to get past these emotions and the need to place blame. So much so that I really struggled to develop a well-rounded understanding and response to these problems. Mindfulness, and more specifically the labeling of emotions, helped me on my journey to a humble education on the matter. Another insensitive response to these problems is to suggest or think that they can be simply resolved. This was a hard concept for me to understand and definitely took a while to fully accept; I had a hard time avoiding trying to come up with solutions and instead of evaluating the many factors that go into these problems. I often found myself frustrated because I was thinking “these problems are such an easy fix if they would just-” but it would not be a wicked problem if it could be easily and quickly defeated. Once I was able to comprehend that because of the many attributes that go into every individual problem, I was more understanding that there will be infinite different ways to go about “solving” this issue. Knowing that there is not one single solution and that some solutions might cause other issues helped me understand how and why wicked problems cannot be easily solved. Choosing to be mindful of the mere definition of what a wicked problem is was a simple way to get past these feelings of frustration in order to develop a complete and humble comprehension of the problem at hand. 

Now that I have a detailed understanding of what a wicked problem is and have learned about the many intense wicked problems happening in real life I feel as though I have better and more humble decision-making skills. I think about who could be affected and the many perspectives of each controversy and always try to keep an open mind. Being aware of other people’s level of education on the matter and acknowledging their views is extremely important when trying to spread awareness about these wicked problems and their severity. Educating those around us is the main way we as individuals can contribute to leaving a positive impact on these problems. For me personally, this looks like telling my friends what fast fashion is and the harm it causes to our environment and recommending more ecologically friendly places to shop. With this newly learned compassionate curiosity towards wicked problems, I have found myself being more in touch with my emotions and others around me. I originally struggled greatly to control the emotions that have been heightened throughout this course but I now see them as indicators to dig a little deeper.

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impacts of mindfulness thinking

Ever since the last blog, the midterm blog, I have noticed that I have seized a bigger understanding of why I am required to take this course for my major, interior design. Although it was extremely frustrating not understanding anything we were being told at first, I knew something good would come out of it.  At first, I could not find the exact purpose or point of the course but as time went on we learned very serious problems happening right in front of our eyes, which caught my attention and sparked a new interest. This interest sparked my curiousness to learn more about the definition of a wicked problem. My biggest concern at first was to actually thoroughly understand what makes a problem “wicked”? In my own time, I have acquired a greater understanding of Wicked Problems and applied it to my day-to-day life and habits. Ever since I have been in this class I have noticed that I have a much different perspective on this topic. I have noticed that I am now able to project different standpoints to one specific problem, whereas before taking this course, I was extremely guilty of taking one side and sticking with it based on my own personal opinion rather than the environment’s future. I now understand the problems at a deeper level. I was able to go into these wicked problem-based discussions with an open mind, and not be so uptight about my personal opinions. I have a different outlook on every circumstance, as I have caught myself trying to figure out a solution for the problem, no matter what it is. I have noted the change in my approach to better the environment. Whether it be in my environmental footprint, my needs vs wants, my wastefulness or my impact on the others around me in this world. I appreciate this new helpful habit I have developed over the 8-week course, as I will forever carry it through the way I go about my future. Another habit I have developed from this class is regularly practicing mindfulness thinking and meditation. At First, this was something very different for me. As I do not like to sit down and do nothing. I always have to be doing something productive whether it is for myself, helping someone, or benefiting my future. With this daily practice, I have noticed a difference in myself, overall. I have recognized a difference in the way I carry myself while approaching specific situations, how I encompass my thoughts and feelings, and have noticed a tremendous change in my mental state. I have noticed I utilize my emotions as a tool rather than something I am usually scared of acknowledging. Daily meditation has made a positive impact on my stress levels, my creativeness in many different ways, my anxiety, and depression and my awareness in all aspects of life. Little did I know the 10 short minutes of daily meditation out of my day would cure many struggles I have struggled with for years. This practice affected me so greatly that I could not hold back from sharing my new habits and knowledge regarding the real wicked problems we are facing today. I one day I caught all of my roommates together in the living room and just absolutely could not hold back, I had to inform them of this information. We discussed the meaning of a wicked problem, examples and how in the world this course correlates with my major. All the same, questions I was asking myself at first. Once I had caught them up on all of that until they understood, I couldn’t wait to pull out and introduce the meditation practices to them. Once I had told them about this they were a bit lost and uninterested. This made sharing my new perspective and habits kind of tricky as they were not attentive to the topic anymore. I convinced them that we all thought it was silly and pointless at first, but to just trust me on this one. I made them meditate with me one night and it had such an impactable result on them.  We have all applied it to our daily routine, since. Obviously, people are going to have different opinions and viewpoints on this topic, which makes it super fun to educate others. The handful of people I have attempted to teach about this topic has had a wide range of opinions and I am honored to be able to share my compassionate curiosity in my ability to discuss various viewpoints with them. This is where the solution to wicked problems is put on all different levels of pedestals. Together as a society, it is our job to work together as one to assure we are doing our own parts to get the long-term results we are wanting in our own environment. In this society, we have unfortunately become centralized to our own opinions and thoughts. This is why we recognize the importance of one’s compassionate curiosity regarding the environment or earth let alone. It is becoming unheard of nowadays. Until we realize the importance of today’s wicked problems we are continuously heading south. Although it is enormously overwhelming to look at each causing factor in each individual problem, it is possible as long as society wakes up and can come together as one. In my opinion, I think we humans want to ignore the fact that we are the leading cause of all of today’s environmental crises. Today’s society does not take blame very well but in this situation, we absolutely have no choice. It is our fault it is such a hard pill to get down our throats because we know we are the cause, making it very difficult to solve for ourselves. 

Zooming out on everything I have learned throughout this course “wicked problems in industrial practices”. First of all, the awareness of today’s wicked problems in my own mind brought humbleness to my soul. It has had a huge impact on the way I think of any other ordinary day. I have attained curiosity into my daily tasks and everything that comes along the way in them. I regularly ask myself if the actions or products I choose on a daily basis will result in a sustainable outcome for our beautiful environment. I have acquired a deep concern regarding the earth’s environmental state in concern for me and my own family’s future lives. This problem does not seem like a problem now until it is affecting our own families’ lives in the future while we are asking ourselves, where did this come from? This one is new, as I mentioned earlier, I am guilty of sticking to my own personal opinion but after this, I find myself genuinely enjoying listening to other people’s sides and opinions. I love to compare and discuss these different standpoints and figure out how we can correlate the two sides and produce an outcome to propose a plan of action. I adore the humbleness this class will forever hold above me and the caringness I have taken on regarding the environment that I never had before the class.

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Circle of Influence

In this course, we have learned so much about wicked problems and how to  show curiosity compassionately and practice mindfulness. I had never been introduced to thinking like this before this class. When looking at a problem, I always tried to look at it from all perspectives, so I was used to looking at them in an emotional way to see how it would affect everyone. But when it came to thinking about the crazy amount of solutions and the different outcome they all had is what I struggle with the most. I always want to choose the best solution, but sometimes everyone might not agree with it. Showing compassionate curiosity is so important in everything in the world today. I think treating others with compassion and kindness are so important, so we should treat the way we treat ourselves and the environment the same exact way. After reading the YES readings and hearing about the NO readings, there is an obvious reason to look at things with compassion. I changed my major this year from Applied Exercise Science to Interior Design. So I never really thought about the environment and what to do to help the earth. I only ever thought about being a physical therapist and I always knew I wanted to work with people because I love showing others compassion, especially when they are going through things like physical therapy. But since changing my major, my eyes have been open and I now think more about the environment. I’m embarrassed that I wasn’t compassionate enough to think about what this industry and many zxother industries have done to the environment. I was never curious about the environment before but my eyes have been open to think about it and I have been having more conversations about it with the people in my class and people outside of class including my roommates. Since learning about compassionate curiosity, I have learned so many new things that I never thought about before.  It helps me remain in the present moment and to appreciate things more than I ever had before. As well as practicing compassionate curiosity, I have been practicing mindfulness for about a month now, and I have been so peaceful and calm since starting this. I have bad anxiety, and it would cause me to get irritable and stressed out all the time. My road rage was so bad and since beginning practicing mindfulness, anytime I drive, I don’t get road rage anymore. It really is a big deal that I haven’t experienced road rage anymore because it got so bad at one point. When I first began practicing mindfulness, I would practice it when I would walk to class. I think our campus is so beautiful and I have loved walking to classes since I was a freshman, but I always listened to music. But when I started practicing, I stopped listening to music and just walked to class. It helped me focus on the things outside or not think about things that were stressing me out. Listening to music on the way to class kept me connected to my phone and social media. Constantly being on my phone and checking social media has a huge impact on my anxiety and stress level. So getting off my phone has helped me tremendously. But I have also started practicing mindfulness right before bed. I used to struggle going to bed and would be up so late because I was watching videos on my phone or stressing myself out. But since adding it to my night routine, I have been able to fall asleep earlier and actually get good sleep too. Since starting this practice, I have been thankful for everything around me and have been appreciative of the environment. It’s really nice to realize these things because that means I am actually passionate about this topic and am continuing to learn and appreciate the topic. 

After practicing both of these things, I have developed a new way to face wicked problems. When faced with a wicked problem in the past that had to do with the environment, I used to think things like “this doesn’t affect my daily life at all, so I’m not going to worry about this,” and brush it off my shoulder. I hate that I used to think like that. I was always only worried about how to make others happy and take care of others, not the environment. Now when I am faced with a wicked problem or hear about a wicked problem, I think about it with compassion and am humble about the wicked problems. I never knew the type of things the world was put through until this class. With all the readings and examples we read throughout this class, it’s crazy to think that there are thousands more wicked problems we are faced with today. I never used to worry about climate change and global warming, but it makes me so sad now. Even today as I’m writing this paper, I noticed that yesterday’s weather was so cold and today was almost in the eighties, and it makes me upset that this is caused by the way we treat the world. This class has opened my eyes and made me realize that I do a lot of things to harm the environment. I use so much plastic and produce so much trash, so I started using a water bottle and stopped using paper plates and plastic utensils. I’ll continue to do these habits for the rest of my life and continue to create new ones as well. My friends have already noticed that I stopped going out to get food as much and eating at my house instead. 

After taking this class for the past two months, I can say it has been a very positive and uplifting learning space for me. I did not know a single thing about this topic before this class. I had only ever practiced meditation in my dance classes I took in high school, but I didn’t take meditation seriously in high school. I still struggled with it in class at the beginning of this course, just because I would lose focus and get caught up in my own thoughts. I know I talked about this in the last paper, but a quote that was said in class about thoughts has stuck with me, and it has helped me in meditation, but also even when I’m just in my head stressing myself out. When I remind myself of this quote, I am able to be present and focus on the things around me. I will keep meditation in my circle of influence and try to influence others to join me while meditating. I will also continue to make decisions that will benefit the environment instead of harm it. I will also try to get my friends to do these things with me. I am going to be living on my own next year, so I am going to start recycling and will do this for the rest of my life. I know I will continue to learn more about sustainability and learn new ways I can change my lifestyle to make a difference. I hope these changes can make a difference and that the people around me will start making changes in their life to help the planet.

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The Road to Learning about What is Wicked

When I bring compassionate curiosity to my learning in this course, I notice that I am more aware of everything around me, I notice and pay attention to things that I usually wouldn’t have before. I have found that curiosity as well as compassion are major keys to learning and have allowed me to venture out and actually comprehend what I am learning, this is because I care and the more I care, the more curious I become about wicked issues and I am passionate about doing whatever I can to decrease these issues. Before this course, I never knew there were several ways to understand wicked problems especially emotionally and somatically. These types of things are not usually taught in classes so it was confusing starting out in this course. Before this semester, I had never heard of mindfulness practice and I thought it was useless in the beginning of the semester. Over time, I started to understand why compassionate curiosity and practicing mindfulness is so important. Practicing mindfulness changes the way you think and feel. It helps me with my daily stress and allows me to stop and relax, to be less judgmental and more appreciative of what I have and who I have in my life. I believe that without mindfulness, people can go down dark paths or just be oblivious of the good things in life. It was quite difficult to understand what a wicked problem is. This is because these are problems that are massive and negatively affect, not one place, but the entire world. It can be overwhelming to think about these issues because they take so much effort to fix them and at times, it can feel hopeless. However, I have come to better understand what wicked issues are in the last couple of months due to the new strategies I have learned in class on how to approach them and truly know what they are. Approaching wicked problems intellectually, emotionally, and somatically was stimulating and a great experience though it was really hard for me and can still be challenging at times. Having these new learning styles exposed to me has made a positive impact on how I think about these issues and how I live my day to day life. For example, I use my compassion intellectually and do my best to recycle whatever I can and to reuse items instead of throwing them away like clothes or decorations around my room. I also make sure to donate everything that I do not want because it does not make sense to throw something away when other people could use it. I found these actions from intellect because they were decisions I made to do the right thing. I also use my compassion emotionally because I think about all of the people who are in worse conditions than me due to the growing destruction of our environment and I feel completely awful about it. I also think about my future family and what kind of world I want them to live in. Right now, I would not want anyone to have to deal with the current state our world is in. I think of all the people who are going to be here after we are gone and how it is so important we make a change and make the world a safer place for them. Using compassion somatically is still a bit confusing to me but I perceived it as using what capabilities our bodies have and put them to positive use. We are people and we have so many capabilities, I know that with all of the abilities I have, I want to use them for good.

I have not always responded to wicked problems in a compassionate and humble way but since I have been in this class, I have noticed that I have changed and progressed in a positive way. The first day of class was a real eye opener for me because of the video we watched and the fact that the video was about 10 years old and our wicked issues are worse than before. I listened to all the possible solutions that were described in the video and I was left flabbergasted because I was confused on why these issues still persist and why they are still so bad. Learning to be more compassionate and humble towards wicked problems has been great stepping stones for me. I have worked on having an open mind at all times and being grateful for what I have. I am more considerate and less judgmental and try to perform act of kindness everyday. I have a job and I push myself to be the best I can be and put a smile on ever customer’s face that I come in contact with. It gives me so much joy when I can make someone smile just by being kind and caring about what they need. This all ties in with practicing mindfulness. Practicing mindfulness plays a part in everything I have discussed so far. It is such a huge part in understanding wicked problems and I feel that everyone should be exposed to the learning experience of practicing mindfulness. Like I said before, I really didn’t understand it and I had no idea what kind of impact it could make. I also never saw myself meditating in my daily schedule just because I never really thought about it. I have had people tell me to try it out and I would always say that I would but would forget and never got around to doing it. I will say that incorporating it in my everyday life was a bit difficult just because I would keep forgetting but one it became a habit for me, it was easy to set aside the time to do it.  I’m glad that this class pushed me to finally experience it. I am able to cope with my stress now and to stop and think about the present. It also allows my body to have a few minutes of calm even with all the chaos that happens around me. It is so beneficial to my mental health and I am grateful for it.

I have learned so much in this course, it’s unbelievable. Since I’ve been in this class I notice changes in how I think about the world, myself, and others. I seem to pay more attention to the changes in the world that happen around me everyday instead of being in my own little bubble. With my knowledge, I know that I can use it to my advantage and make a difference and I bet others in this course feel the same way I do. It makes me excited to think about what all of us could do together and what real change we can make now and in the future. I now know the importance of practicing mindfulness and having compassionate and humble responses for wicked problems. I will continue to carry this learning experience with me through my life and especially when I enter the interior design industry. Now that I am more aware of the damage this industry can do to the environment, I will make sure to do my part and make a positive impact on our planet instead of worsening the problem. I can’t wait to see what I do in the future as well as the fellow individuals who want real change just as much as I do.

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Meditation has allowed me to think more about my impact on the environment.

At the start of this course, I had no idea what a wicked problem was, but now I am fascinated by them. I like the concept of how the economy works and adding sustainability problems to it really makes it interesting. I used to be upset with large corporations and how they are ruining the environment but now I have a much better understanding of the whole situation. It sucks to think about how difficult it is to change something, even if it is slowly destroying our environment. Thousands of jobs would be lost if a company such as logging was to be taken down. The same goes for many other companies out there that are currently harming the environment, but it is hard to take down a big company when there are a lot of repercussions.  

Meditation throughout this semester has allowed me to be more relaxed throughout my first semester of college. I feel more stable throughout my time using meditation. I am extremely glad that this class made me start to do meditation because I probably would not have started to do it on my own without being forced to. Meditation has also allowed me to be more aware of all of the wicked problems in this world. Having a clear conscious before examining these wicked problems is a better way to think about the true complexity and extensiveness of the wicked problems and how they are affecting the way we live in the world around us. It is difficult sometimes to not think about the difficult issues and problems in my life while meditating but thinking about it like crawling out of the river and out onto the riverbank is really helpful to allow me to pull myself out of my thoughts and back into my meditation. I have noticed that meditation is less necessary when I am less stressed but easier to meditate, however, meditation is more difficult when I am stressed out during situations such as final week, but it feels more necessary and beneficial for my overall body and mind. My mother would always try to get me to meditate but I was always reluctant to take part. Now she teaches at a high school, and she has her kids meditate in class and she loves to talk to me about how much her kids enjoy taking the time to do this in class with their peers. I really enjoy hearing about how proud she is of her students and how much they love to tell her that they enjoy this practice and how beneficial it has been for them. Most, if not all. Of these kids would probably never try to attempt meditation if she had not introduced it to them first. I think this has taught me that there should be more teachers that use meditation in their classes because a lot of students do not have the time for this, and they would most likely not choose to take part in this but when they become forced to try meditation then they truly see how beneficial it can be for them and their mental state.  

This class required us to create an infographic project where we discussed some industry problems that are related to our degree majors and our team decided to do ours over the fast fashion and how the waste produced form this industry is ruining our environment and what can be done about this situation. I had no idea how much of an issue this problem was until we were required to do some substantial research on the subject. I was aware of the horrific events of the individuals who have to work at these factories in order to make a living. These poor people have to take these jobs because they live in a highly populated area and there are not many jobs available which means that the large corporations can pay these people a really low amount because people do not make very much in third world countries. Because these factories are based in these third world countries, they can not afford the proper resources in order to properly dispose of the waste produced by the factories. The waste that gets produced by these large industries then just gets dumped into the environment around them which is very harmful to the natural habitat, as well as the flora and fauna living in this environment. For the past few years I have been trying not to buy anything from a corporation that could be considered as a fast fashion corporation and so far I have been really successful even though it is really tempting to buy cute clothes that are very cheap because I am  college student who does not have a lot of money but I feel so much better about myself when I know that at least I am not contributing to these nasty corporations who are just trying to make money off of the backs of innocent people who are just trying to live in the situations that they are currently in.  

A lot of people are so focused on the impact that we have on the environment that we live in and the talk about plastic in the ocean is a big problem. There is currently a mountain of trash in the ocean that is so large that it can be considered an island while it floats around the ocean. In all honesty, consumer consumption of plastic in the ocean only accounts for roughly 2 percent of the trash in the ocean. Most of the trash and pollution in the ocean is from commercial fishing. There is so many fishing nets at the bottom of the ocean that is makes me sick to my stomach to think about how harmful this is for all of the innocent organisms that are just trying to live in their environment that was once perfect for them, but after humans have taken over the world, all of these habitats are now being destroyed and the organisms that live in these conditions are now facing the repercussions of our actions. Soon, humans will be facing the consequences of our actions but by that time there is a chance that the damage has already been done and there will be no going back from that point on. This class has made me more aware of how much of an impact every single human being has on this earth. I think that a lot more students should be required to take a class such as this so that maybe the future generation will all be aware and educated of the true issues on this planet. If every person that was going into the workforce knew about the terrible impact, we as a society have on this world, the world might be in a much better place in the future. I would be more confident in the possibility of hope for our planet if everyone was educated in the situation that we are in and decided to take the time to make a better impact than we are now. If we let our planet get any worse than I think it is a possibility that these classes will be required by all in the future.  

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My journey to a more sustainable future

Throughout this course, I have been able to grasp a better understanding of what sustainability is, what makes a problem wicked, how mindfulness impacts us, and so much more. Compassionate curiosity has changed the way a perceive the world and allows me to better understand a wicked problem. I am able to recognize and comprehend all sides of the argument. When it comes to a wicked problem, you need compassionate curiosity because the wicked problem affects everything and everyone. Although you may not realize it, said problem may affect your mind, body, and even emotionally. That being said, I believe that’s one reason why mindfulness is an important factor in this field. As I have stated in my mid-term blog, I have always had the need to try mindfulness meditation, but never knew how. It seems like an easy thing to do, but it is not as easy as it may look. At first, I would get tired trying to incorporate it into my daily routine, or my mind would end up getting distracted by thousands of thoughts that would pop up all of a sudden. A couple of years ago I heard someone say that you have to do something daily in order for it to become a habit. As I have incorporated my mindfulness practices, it has become a habit. Never would I have thought that it would have a positive impact on my life and the way I have started to view the world. After writing my mid-term blog, I started using my mediation as a way to explore my feeling and thoughts which lead to me having a healthier acceptance of my thoughts and feelings. I’m able to acknowledge why I feel this way, or why I might think a certain way and come to an understanding, rather than avoiding my thoughts and feelings.

Before this class began, I had never heard of the phrase “a wicked problem”. I knew that coming up with a solution to a problem much bigger than us was not an easy thing to accomplish, but it was not until this class that I was able to fully grasp what a wicked problem is and why it’s a wicked problem. I wicked problem is a problem that doesn’t have one particular solution because different parts of the world are affected differently. An example would be deforestation, it seems like a problem that could be resolved fairly quickly, or so I assumed. Passing a law that would limit how many trees can be cut down, seems like a reasonable way to reduce deforestation. However, this affects different parts of the world differently, in some places, they will not have a problem cutting down trees, but in other places that heavily rely on wooden will be affected greatly. By taking this course and having learned about mindfulness mediation and compassionate curiosity, I am able to have a better understanding and have the ability to suggest solutions that are right at this point in time, while still trying to find newer and better solutions that benefit everyone. We won’t know whether a certain solution is the best until we decide to give it a try, and that can be worrisome, but with the understanding we have, I believe we can try to make an educated guess as to what might be better for everyone.

Not too long ago I was informed that the fashion industry happens to be one of the biggest producers of our carbon footprint. Fast fashion has become the new normal for society, and because of that, I knew that the fashion industry contributed to pollution, but I never imagined it would be one of the biggest contributors to pollution. The textile industry alone produces a ton of water waste, the transportation of garments and fabrics from one country to the other has to have a negative effect on our marine life. I have come to terms with the fact that not everyone is worried about these problems because they do not have a compassionate curiosity, and that is okay, but we have to help them understand why this is important. I have learned that we need to understand the problem first and figure out who are the stakeholders and how they benefit from the problem while also focusing on those who are at a disadvantage. We do not allow ourselves to acknowledge all those who will be left at a greater disadvantage, we will never be able to solve and/or reduce the problem. Some of us may feel like we do not have much of a say when it comes to demanding change, but in the movie “The last hour” someone said “Society has to start voting- not your typical voting, but rather you vote by purchasing a certain item. Telling the manufacturer that you agree with everything they have done in order to produce the item”. I could not agree more with this phrase. If we, as consumers, citizens do not demand change to happen, no one else will. My outlook, ever since finding out that we need to reduce our carbon footprint, has changed and widened because of this course. It won’t be a dramatic change, for example going waste-free in a matter of days, but if we start off by slowly incorporating that waste-free mindset, we will be able to make it a habit. Some people might think that in order for them to start making a positive impact they have to change everything in there as soon as possible, but it really isn’t that way. I’ve started using the tote bag that I made for my basic apparel class, to replace the unnecessary use of plastic bags. I have influenced my dad to use the big reusable plastic bags you find at stores for 99 cents, instead of having to use 5 plus plastic bags to carry our groceries. It may not seem like a whole lot, but once you start noticing how many people use plastic bags when they go grocery shopping a year, and how many plastic bags we’ve ended up “saving”, so if people would go and buy 2 -3 reusable bags. They’ll end up reducing our plastic bag problem. Through Tiktok, I’ve come across small businesses that are encouraging consumers to be eco-friendly. There are new technologies that have been produced in order for us to cut down our plastic bottle problem, yet I had not realized because it was not being promoted. I’ve seen that there are some refill stores, where you take your own container and refill it, you can also buy sustainable loofa, soaps. If you do not live near, they will ship it to you and it’ll come in a biodegradable box and tape, so it won’t harm the plant. I plan to start shifting to a more eco-friendly and sustainable way of living, as a college student I cannot switch in a day, but I hope that when I do start changing my way of living that those around me will be inspired and start implementing those ways as well. This will hopefully spread like fire and allow those closes to them to also start changing their ways of living.

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Changing the World Little by Little

Mindfulness; the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something. It is something that anyone can achieve, well if they really set out their hearts to it. There are many wicked problems in our world today which I had learned that they are problems that we can’t necessarily fully fix. We can however, work on fixing them and striving to make our environments better and easier to live in. Learning about these problems in our world and fully understanding and accepting them was hard to take in. Although after going through the course of this class I gained a much better understanding of them and even learned multiple ways for solutions. I most importantly learned that being curious and having an overall mindfulness of these problems is actually really crucial for our society. When I bring compassionate curiosity to my learning in this course I notice how I start to question myself and how I want to learn more about what I can do. Sometimes I’m more curious and compassionate about some topics more than others but the want is still there. I strive to figure out ways I can help even if it is something small, I just want to at least make an impact on the world. I start wondering, am I doing the right things now? What changes can I make in my life? How can I help others also make these changes? I truly care for my planet, and I want to do anything in my power to help make it a better place if I can. I believe that that certain mentality is what does contribute to making the world better. If everyone always had the mentality of wanting to make the earth better, then it would matter of fact be better. As humans we think intellectually, emotionally, and somatically which our minds, hearts, and bodies. It’s how we come to know things and our desires to know things. This class taught me to think with not only one of these ways, but I try to think with all these ways especially towards the problems our world is facing. Being in tune with your body and soul is important to make the right decisions in life. Meditation is also very important because it allows you to relax your mind before making any vast problem-solving decisions.

Developing responses to wicked problems can sometimes take a lot of effort. At first, it may feel daunting to find a solution to a problem that might not ever be resolved. Although, after taking this course, I believe that I have gained a sense of confidence towards making a humble response or even create an answer towards these problems. For example, when we went over poverty, it was a huge issue to talk about and in some stances hard to come up with solutions. In order for myself to come up with a compassionate response, I had to take a step back from my own life and put myself in other’s shoes. Poverty is faced all over the world and is in fact known as a global issue. At first, I found it difficult to answer the question, does poverty cause environmental degradation or is it the other way around? My ultimate goal is to find the best responses to problems like these as I can. First things first, I need to gain as much information as I can about that topic. Reading through the pre-discussion articles thoroughly and retaining as much information as I possibly can. I have also already learned that in order for these problems to not become stressful and to have a clear mind while going through the thought process to make a compassionate response, I have to take a mental break and take some time out upon myself to meditate on it. I don’t want to make any haste decisions, so I found that this is the best method for myself. I believe it does in fact work for me. Once I can get into the right mindset, I am then able to make a good response. Going through the information from the articles in class also help me reinforce the information and even hear other’s opinions is helpful. Another important aspect is hearing the other side of the arguments from the articles as well. Getting that other perspective really finalizes the best compassionate response I can possibly make to my best abilities. Another example would be from when we went over the topic about fashion because I felt like I already had some knowledge about this problem in the world and that there could be some easy possibilities in order to find solutions. After going over it through our discussions in class, I found out that there are many different aspects to this problem than I thought. You can’t just get rid of an industry or else many people will lose their jobs, so I learned that there is a lot more components to this problem than what meets the eye. Hearing other’s thoughts and even relating it to my own major allowed me to have more consideration and creating efficient solutions to work on later in the years when I start my career.

With my experience in this course, I have gained a better perspective on the world, and I feel more conscious of what is happening in the environments around me. My goal leaving this class is to spread this awareness and new knowledge to friends, family, and even new people I met along the way in my journey through life. Since I have been in this class, I noticed just how much my feelings towards making the world a better place is becoming stronger. I noticed changes in how I think about daily activities, chores, and the ways people live. I can’t help but think about how our planet is becoming more dangerous and I begin to wonder how much time we really have left here. Will our great grandkids have to get on space shuttles and make their way to another galaxy in order to live on another planet? Little by little, day by day the world is changing and revolving. We have to do better, and it starts within ourselves. As humans, we have to find the will in our hearts to make the change we want to see. It’s not going to come from the industries or even just the government itself. We need to work together and find unity because without it nothing will get done. The industries will keep going on, so will the government, and the rest of the world going on about their days littering, wasting products, and let’s say pollute the ocean.

After finishing the documentary, we had watched in class, out of all the lines there was one that stuck out to me the most. It had said, “The earth will regenerate because the earth has all the time in the world, and we don’t”, this line really caught my attention and surprised me because I’ve never heard anyone point that out before. I had always imagined that after we can’t live on earth anymore, that it would just catch on fire and explode. This comment was a powerful eye-opener that I believe everyone should hear and fully grasp what it truly means. Maybe the world will last forever but we surely won’t.

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We All Have A Role To Play

Throughout the duration of this course, I have been able to look at the world from many different perspectives. Not only those around me, but those points of view from someone I would have never thought of, such as the manufacturers of certain products, and the buyers of these products etc. Using mindfulness, I have begun to better understand the different issues that can be displayed throughout any sort of problem, and how this may contribute to its complexity. Understanding these different aspects has, in addition, allowed me to better comprehend the total perspective of the definition of a wicked problem. Understanding the complexity of these issues has inadvertently caused me to wonder how many of these issues can be resolved with all who have a stake in the issue being happy. In many cases, the solution simply cannot make all of the stakeholders happy with the changes. A majority of the time, in one way or another, some party or parties must sacrifice in order to accomplish anything. Unfortunately, it would seem that the party that has always had to pay this sacrifice has been the consumer or the environment. For example, if there is a shortage of a certain type of wood, the demand for this material goes up. In response to this issue, companies will raise the prices of this material and try to acquire more of it, leading to more deforestation, and more money spent by the consumer. A response that would greater benefit the total situation would be to plant more of whatever material is needed to provide more materials for the future. However, this future approach is something that is not commonly seen in today’s society. Although this course has allowed or forced me to look at all the different issues faced by society and how sad some people’s mindsets are, it has also allowed me to look at the positive responses that can be implemented to make a change. Being mindful has allowed me to not use judgment in the search for solutions, as well as understanding that judgment will not fix anything. Being humble and not trying to be or look better than others has allowed me to understand the small everyday changes we can make to live a more sustainable life. Daily changes such as taking shorter showers or not replacing clothes constantly may not seem like a huge deal, but if this lifestyle reflects on to your circle of influence, then on to their circles of influence it may eventually begin to make some sort of the small change in the system. On a larger scale outlook, making a change is quite a bit more complex. There are many different factors and perspectives to take into account. Before this course, if there was an issue I would point out the obvious solution and not look any further, however, after looking deeper into the solutions I now understand that the “obvious solution” is usually never beneficial to everyone. For example, when the increasing issue of climate change was depicted in the media, as everyone does, I thought “why can’t everyone just stop burning so many fossil fuels?”. While to this specific issue, this response still lingers in my mind, it is linked with many other questions. After taking this course I have to think about the outcomes that would come with any sort of change put on to this issue. Such as, one change I thought could be made was to stop producing so many vehicles so society can not provide so many emissions. However, understanding the complexity of this issue, I now can understand limiting the production of such a thing would also cause a large percentage of the population within these industries to lose their careers and has the potential to completely demolish the economy. Having the ability to understand these issues has also allowed me to see why the government does not often put restrictions in place to help the environment. In addition, this has caused the thought that the government does not deal with these issues solely because they don’t want to or can’t figure out a proper solution. Although each issue comes with its’ own set of responses and complexities, I do still believe there are many changes that could be made to address and or correct these issues if given the proper amount of time and effort. Creating solutions for a wicked problem is nothing short of terrifying, or complex for that matter, however, it is not the solutions that are hard to understand. Creating a solution that could, in the long run, help the issue is not as complex as it is made out to be. The real issue that is the most “wicked” of them all, in my opinion, is society. There is never a way to completely satisfy society, and now that social media dominates the media platforms, society has more power than ever. Not that this is always a bad thing, but society has a way of simply defying any sort of change implemented, even if for the greater good. So, when trying to create any sort of solution for a wicked problem, trying to accommodate to societies expectations is almost impossible. Society does not adjust well to change and its responses are not something that can be predicted. Take the COVID-19 vaccine for example. When COVID first started, everyone was complaining that we should not be out and about etc. After a while, this turned into a question of why we can not just re-open everything. Then the side of society started to complain about masks, and when a vaccine was implemented that would allow for a normal daily life, and reduce the need for masks, there was still a large portion of the population who will not accept the vaccine. Although this is a much more issue than my short explanation allows it to be, it shows that there is never a way to satisfy all of society. In addition, trying to satisfy society and companies has the heaviest importance of trying to create a solution, while the environment and future sustainability are not looked at as important. I believe that there should be more focus on how we can maintain an environment that will suit future needs and current needs with the ever-growing population of the world. The human population continues to grow dramatically in numbers but the changes made to the environment to sustain such a population are not often implemented or thought about. Society always has a way of either accepting change or ignoring it after it is no longer a trend to defy it. Nature is not as simple, once we have gone too far it will be too late. There has to be more emphasis on the environment in order to create any sort of future. Although this is easier said than done, each member of society can play some sort of role in promoting a more sustainable future even on such a small scale. For instance, in my daily life, I try to walk or bike to any place that is practical. I also try to reduce the use of paper and plastic goods that can not be recycled. Along with many other things, these changes may seem small but, trying to influence those with who you come into contact often can have a chain reaction that can make a dramatic change. Everyone has to play their own part to try and have hope for the future.

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