The Fourth Question

Camino De Santiago Trail

Camino De Santiago Trail

The dictionary definition of the verb evoke means to bring a feeling, memory, or picture into the mind. 

‘the smells, sounds and colours evoked pleasant memories of his childhood’.

As a life planner, through the EVOKE process, I invite you to tell the living story of your life.  I get the privilege to listen to your past, present and, in particular, the yet to be written story of your future.

Telling your life story is important because every story has the power to inform, inspire, guide, persuade, entertain, educate, open hearts, create laughter/tears, heal and transform.

In times past, elders in traditional communities, through stories, fairytales and myths, passed down through the generations their customs, culture and wisdom to ensure survival of the community.  Rituals and stories helped the individual to see the world more clearly and equally make sense of their ‘place’ within it.

In modern times, such cultural traditions, in many ways, have been lost.  The industrial age undermined our connection to nature and the individual is now left to fathom out by themselves how to transition through never ending change.  Ecological crisis, climate change, ethnic conflict, global warfare, financial debt crisis are all examples of immediate challenges for today's communities.

The EVOKE life planning process involves answering four questions.  The first three questions ask you to consider your life: 

1) I want you to imagine that you are financially secure, that you have enough money to take care of your needs, now and in the future.  The question would you live your life?  Would you change anything? Let yourself go. Don’t hold back on your dreams.  Describe a life that is complete, that is richly yours. 

2) This time you visit your doctor who tells you that you have only 5-10 years to live. The good part is that you won’t ever feel sick. The bad news is that you will have no notice of the moment of your death. What will you do in the time you have remaining to live?  Will you change your life and how will you do it?

3) This time your doctor shocks you with the news that you only have one day left to live. Notice what feelings arise as you confront your very real mortality. Ask yourself:  What did I miss?,  Who did I not get to be?  What did I not get to do?

The fourth question goes beyond your life and asks you to contemplate your vision for a better world future and what you can do to create the world you would wish to live in.

4) Imagine you are the wise elder of your family and community.  What world you would like your grandchildren, great grandchildren, great, great grandchildren to live in?  What lifestyle changes/actions (large or small) can you take today to ensure the sustainbility of the human family and natural world around you for generations to come? 

Whilst walking Spain’s Camino de Santiago pilgrimage path a few years ago, I met Paul.  He told me the following story:

‘On my first Camino ten years ago, an elderly man in his eighties would always be the last person to arrive at the hostel. I watched him almost collapse into his bunk bed for the first three consecutive nights of the Camino journey and because of his frailty, during each of those nights, I was convinced that he was going to die in his sleep   And frighteningly, on each arrival, he was more exhausted than the day before.

I finished my Camino walk in Santiago de Compostela 790km/500 miles later, toured around the Galicia region and returned back to Santiago.  By now it would have been around seven weeks since I started the Camino walk in St Jean Pied-de-Port.  Anyway, one afternoon, I went for lunch in a restaurant.  Whilst I was eating, the door opened and, you never guess what, in walked that old man.  Our eyes connected with an intensity: you remember the pilgrims from the beginning of your Camino.  I got up from the table, walked over to him and we hugged each other.  He told me that he had just arrived into Santiago de Compostela and finished his Camino that morning. I cried in that moment and I also learned an important life lesson: 'age is not a barrier to doing anything if the will is there.’

If ‘age is not a barrier to doing anything if the will is there’, what will you do today to transform your world and the world around you?  

After all, to evoke the story of your life may well be your greatest legacy of all.


Adam Wells | Life Planner & Personal Coach | El Camino Ltd 

Golden Civilization Advisory Group Zoom Call

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Big thanks to the conversationalists who could join us on for our recent call to review the progress of the Golden Civilization Conversation movement! Here are some of the highlights:

Key Points:

  • Prior to hosting the initial GCC meeting, consider if you'd like to continue to host future on-going meetings or if you'd like the group to continue but with another facilitator. If it is the latter, then the following bridge was suggested:

    • Ask: "Can we see a show of hands of who would like to attend a second meeting?" (Usually, 3/4 of the room raises their hands.)

    • Ask: "Who would be willing to host the space for the next meeting?" (Usually, one person will raise their hand.)

    • Ask: "Who would be willing to facilitate the meeting?" (Usually, one person will raise their hand.)

    • Say: That's wonderful! Let's make sure we have the email addresses of those that would like to gather for a second meeting. We'll put <name of future host> and <name of future facilitator> in touch with Lora Woodward from the office and she'll provide you with additional resources and support.

  • As groups evolve they may develop a major focus project as well as additional projects that help address the challenges presented in the Obstacles.

  • The group's vision statement represents the core theme that the group is engaged in.

  • When navigating negative or hot-button topics, consider doing one of the following:

    • Put the word/phrase on the board as you have been doing with other suggestions (this avoids judgment and treating one suggestion differently from others).

    • Ask a clarifying question to get toward the quality: "What are the qualities that ______ would bring? or "What are the virtues of _____ that we can add?" or "In your vision of a Golden Civilization, what would it mean?"

    • Ask permission to reframe the suggestion or ask the attendee to reframe it.

    • Ask permission to place the suggestion under Obstacles or Actions, if more appropriate.

We hope to see many of you on our next check-in call!

Economics & Democracy in a Golden Civilization

George Kinder discusses the main themes of his latest book, A Golden Civilization and the Map of Mindfulness. Contrasting the current model of civilization and its systems for economics and democracy, international thought leader George Kinder paints a picture of what is possible for civilization within a generation. Mr. Kinder's "Golden Civilization" is rooted in mindfulness practice and the wisdom that comes from being present. He encourages audiences to start living into the vision of a Golden Civilization immediate and watch it manifest.

Golden Civilization Conversation, Facebook Live with George Kinder and Lora Woodward

George Kinder speaks with Lora Woodward, Publicity and Program Manager for Kinder Institute of Life Planning, about Golden Civilization Conversations and the simple structure's roots in Life Planning. Lora shares her experience attending the very first Golden Civilization Conversation and the value of on-going conversations. Stay connected with the conversation movement by joining the group's Facebook page— A Golden Civilization.

The First Spectacle Pond Conversation Continues

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Something is stirring on Spectacle Pond. Exactly eight months after George Kinder encouraged his friends and Kinder Institute staff to join him in a small cabin by the pond for an experimental first attempt at a Golden Civilization Conversation, he has gathered the group again for another experiment of sorts. Seven individuals close to the work of George Kinder gathered around his dining room table on a windy, gray day that was more reminiscent of a New England March than the current middle of May. The meeting opened with an inner listening exercise led by Kathy Lubar followed by revisiting the qualities of a Golden Civilization that were part of the group’s original vision. George invited the group to add qualities to their original vision that would make the vision more complete. George then read the vision poem that came out of a Golden Civilization Conversation that Julian Powe hosted in London last November. To imagine groups all over the world having similar conversations that aim to uplift and inspire action is incredible! The group discussed obstacles and challenges to adopting their vision and followed it with the actions they felt were possible. The group committed to meeting again in July and inviting others to join the conversation.

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StarFish Dance & Yoga offers a perfect space to vision in Concord, MA


“My eyes heart and mind were expanded to allow for the possibility of using a mindful approach to envision and take active steps to creating a global civilization with integrity and true personal and entrepreneurial freedom at its core. Highly recommend everyone to read the book A Golden Civilization and to attend an upcoming Conversation event.” - Conversation Participant


A Golden Civilization Conversation begins in Strafford, VT


On Sunday, April 28, many members of the United Church of Strafford met after their morning service to participate with George Kinder and his family in a Golden Civilization Conversation. With 23 perspectives from individuals ranging in age from 15 to 90, they began the conversation by exploring the qualities of “A Golden Civilization.” Each person answered the questions in turn: “What would a Golden Civilization look like? What do you dream or long for human civilization to become? Imagine it is hundreds of years from now and we have established the ideal society, what are its qualities?” Responses like “respect,” “love,” and “freedom” were shared along with “wisdom/vision guides us and keeps us on track,” “harmony with animals and nature,” and “citizens are trained to be stewards of the Golden Civilization,” among so many more.

The group reviewed their list of qualities and were asked, “If, as a consequence of our work together and with groups like ours all over the world, we were to bring this world [referencing the group’s list of qualities for “A Golden Civilization”] into being within a generation, how would that be?”

Tom reported that “All enthusiastically agreed it would be the best thing that could possibly happen, and the greatest achievement that any generation had ever accomplished.”

The group then dove into exploring what could get in the way of bringing their vision to fruition. Each shared the inner and outer obstacles that came up for them. The list was much shorter, but each response carried weight. Outer obstacles included “many stuck in fundamentalist developmental stage who cannot see oneness,” “media, and money in media,” and “systems are self-perpetuating and growing in power.” Inner obstacles included “fear,” “greed,” and “hopelessness.”

The group acknowledged the obstacles and revisited their vision of “A Golden Civilization” before moving on to determine what global, national, and local actions are possible. From the actions and the energy arising out of the ideas shared, each member made a personal commitment to act toward living into “A Golden Civilization” now, including “write more letters to politicians to put climate change front and center,” “continue lifting voices of color,” and “use social media in positive way for environment.”

The group has decided to continue this conversation by holding on-going meetings. All are welcome to join the next Golden Civilization Conversation. Their next meeting is set for Sunday, May 26, 2019 at 11:30 AM in the Parish Hall. You do not need to attend the church to participate, and should you wish to attend service, it is at 10:00 AM (followed by refreshments). Sarah Root has graciously offered to be the group’s organizer and Tom Kinder to be the facilitator as they move forward. For more information, please email

To read a full account of the event, visit

Brothers George Kinder and Tom Kinder out for a walk.

Brothers George Kinder and Tom Kinder out for a walk.

Reading list & ideas contributed by Dr. Charlie Easmon


Dr. Charlie Easmon, Medical Director of Your Excellent Health Service, recently attended a Golden Civilization Conversation in London and felt inspired to share a reading list and ideas that he feels are contributing to delivering a Golden Civilization now.  

Ted Talks


  • Man’s search for meaning by Viktor Frankl

  • Thinking fast, thinking slow by Daniel Kahneman

  • Neurotribes - Steve Silberman

  • Why we sleep by Prof Matthew Walker

  • Madness explained, Richard Bentall

  • The Element: How finding your passion changes everything by Ken Robinson

  • Happier by Tal Ben-Shahar PHD

  • Stephen Covey - the 7 habits of highly effective people 

  • Awaken the giant within By Anthony Robbins 

  • Napoleon Hill any book

  • Dale Carnegie any book

  • The leader who had no title by Robin Sharma

  • The Kaiser Permante ACT study

  • The Spirit to Serve by J.W. Marriott Jnr & Kathi Ann Brown

  • The top five regrets of the dying by Bronnie Ware

  • How the mind works by Steven Pinker 

  • Status syndrome by Prof Michael Marmot 

  • You are not a gadget by Jaron Larnier & 10 reasons to turn off all your social media right now

  • Madness and Civilization by Foucault

  • Man up: surviving modern masculinity by Jack Urwin

  • Being a man the lousy modern world by Robert Twigger

  • Stiffed: The Betrayal of Modern Man by Susan Faludi

  • The OIQ Factor: Raising your school’s organisational intelligence - How schools can become cognitively, oscillating and emotionally smart by William Powell & Ochan Kusuma-Powell

  • Smile or Die: How positive thinking fooled America & The World by Barbara Ehrenreich

  • Authentic Happiness by Martin EP Seligman

  • Toxic Parents: overcoming their hurtful legacy and reclaiming your life by Dr Susan Howard

  • Sway: the irresistible pull of irrational behaviour by Ori Brafman and Rom Brafman

  • The Descent of man by Grayson Perry

  • Happiness: Lessons from a new science by Richard Layard

  • Confidence by Rosabeth Moss Kanter

  • Extraordinary Popular Delusions & the Madness of Crowds by Mackay

  • Reasons to stay alive by Matt Haig

  • How much is enough? By Robert Skidelsky & Edward Skidelsky

  • The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson

  • Rumi

  • The Happiness Advantage: The 7 principle that fuel success and performance at work by Shawn Achor

  • The art of handling people by Herbert N. Casson

  • Why we sleep by Prof Matthew Walker 

  • The art of Happiness: A handbook for living The Dalia Lama

  • The road to character by David Brooks

  • The confidence game by Maria Konnikova

  • The art of the good life by Rolf Dobelli

  • Seneca the good life

  • Fear of Freedom by Erich Fromm

  • The Anatomy of Human Aggressiveness by Erich Fromm

  • On Aggression by Konrad Lorenz

  • The Human Condition by Hannah Arendt

  • The deepest well: healing the long-tern effects of childhood adversity by Dr Nadine Burke Harris

  • Fully connected: Social Health in an age of overload by Julia Hobsbawm

  • The Power of Less: 6 essential productivity principles that will change your life by Leo Babuata

  • The Examined Life: How we lose and find ourselves by Stephen Grosz

  • The art of thinking clearly by Rolf Dobelli

  • Black Box Thinking by Matthew Syed

  • Scrum - The art of doing twice the work in half the time by Jeff Sutherland

  • A guide to confident living by Norman Vincent Peale

  • The art of loving by Erich Fromm

  • Emotional Intelligence: Why it can matter more than IQ by Daniel Goleman

  • Primary Greatness by Stephen R. Covey

  • Confessions of a sociopath by M.E.Thomas

  • The First and Second Penguin Krishnamurti Reader

  • The first and last freedom by Krishnamurti

  • Intimacy: Trusting oneself and the other by Osho

  • We are what we think - a journey through the wisest and wittiest sayings in the world by James Geary

  • How art can make you happy by Bridget Watson Payne

  • Poiesis: The language of psychology and the speech of the soul by Stephen K.Levine

  • Sapiens: 10,000 year’s of human history by Yuval Noah Harari

  • The Logic of Life by Tim Harford

  • Mid Life: look younger, live longer, feel better by Dr Muir Gray

  • Theory X & Theory Y Douglas McGregor of MIT 1960s

  • The No Asshole Rule by Robert Sutton

  • Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World by Anand Giridharadas




  • Dr Rosemary Taylor (adolescents)

  • Tony McLellan crew inc

  • Mandy Saligari

  • Nightingale

  • Dr Andy Zamar

  • Sleep specialists including .....

    • Resilience Prof Richard Williams (via Iapos)

    • Lexxic

    • Simon Baron-Cohen

    • Lighthouse

    • Alpha

    • Warren Von

    • Hoffman

    • Central and North West London NHS Gaming addiction Prof Bowden-Jones


  • Counselling of many sorts

  • EMDR

  • RTMS

  • ECT

  • Drugs

  • Psychopaths vs sociopaths

  • Training for non specialists

  • Mental health First aid

  • People management

  • The one minute manager series by Ken Blanchard

  • Emails to chaplian


  • Deloitte Mental Health Champions

  • Disney

  • Zappos Tony Hsieh

  • Unilever

  • De Bono 6 thinking hats


Dr. Charlie Easmon MBBS MRCP MSc Public Health DTM&H DOccMed
Medical Director of
Your Excellent Health Service

The RSA offers perfect venue for a Golden Conversation

George Kinder and Adam Wells review the obstacles to a Golden Civilization with a group at The RSA’s Rawthmells Coffeehouse on Friday 12th April 2019.

George Kinder and Adam Wells review the obstacles to a Golden Civilization with a group at The RSA’s Rawthmells Coffeehouse on Friday 12th April 2019.

I’m Adam Wells and as a life planner and personal coach I help individuals navigate major life transitions.  After reading George’s book The Seven Stages of Money Maturity, I signed up with curiosity to George’s 2-day programme, of the same name, which introduces financial advisers to the concept of financial life planning. 

To my absolute surprise, George co-led the programme.  I found his energy, passion and vision inspirational and refreshing (in an earlier life, I worked for the financial compensation scheme which compensated investors who had lost money through negligent advice/theft by financial advisers and I left the industry disillusioned).

George’s ‘message’ fully resonated with many of my own life learnings since leaving the financial services industry; including walking Spain’s Camino de Santiago pilgrimage path leading me to life transition coaching.  Often, I ask individuals to ponder the question, ‘What special gift do you have that you could give to the world?’ Perhaps with everybody aligned to their special gift, the world would be in a better place.

And so, when I heard that George would be visiting London as part of his book tour and the UK launch of a global conversation movement to establish “a Golden Civilization” now, I thought this feels very exciting and offered to gather a group. The RSA, with its mission to enrich society through ideas and action, seemed like the perfect venue for a Golden Conversation!

The RSA Golden Civilization conversation will took place at RSA House on Friday 12th April 2019, 6.30pm – 9pm in the Rawthmells Coffeehouse. If you are interested in hosting your own conversation please find further resources here or feel free to contact me on

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CISI experiences A Golden Civilization

George Kinder and Amyr Rocha-Lima at the CISI Financial Planning Forum on 16 April 2019. Photo credit: Farida Hassanali.

George Kinder and Amyr Rocha-Lima at the CISI Financial Planning Forum on 16 April 2019. Photo credit: Farida Hassanali.

George Kinder spoke about Life Planning, Mindfulness, and A Golden Civilization at the CISI Financial Planning Forum on Tuesday 16th April. From the event description, “George Kinder discusses his latest book, A Golden Civilization and the Map of Mindfulness, and a powerful structure for hosting conversations that has developed into a global grassroots movement. Applying the Life Planning methodology he developed over the past 30 years, Kinder helps groups create a united vision of the future and deliver it in short order. Experience a Golden Civilization Conversation that demonstrates how Kinder proposes people life plan civilization with participatory democracy.”

The speech was well received. Here’s what Registered Life Planner® Amyr Rocha-Lima had to say about the event via Twitter: “Really good session at CISI this afternoon! It’s great to learn from a very experienced financial planner, who has made it his life’s work to teach others how to match their life goals to their money. Forever grateful to have studied with the mighty George Kinder!” For more about Amyr, check out this great Advice Front interview.

Reflections from Primrose Hill

“In twilight shadow and evening darkness,” eighteen conversationalists gathered at the home of Julian Powe on Primrose Hill last Thursday for a “convivial, warm-spirited, curious and inquiring, and edgy in the imperative for action in service of improving civilisation through conversation and collaboration.”

Host Julian Powe offers here a brief summary of the gathering:

Our Conversation

We reflected on our stance and actions in support of our ‘torch’ (shown, as usual under my signature here); heard about what was emerging through the many conversations taking place around the world;  conversed and worked with George on his thinking and practice for elevating the present moment and being fully mindful in it; and surfaced individual and collective action ideas.

 The following themes emerged strongly:

  •  Our stance in support of our ‘torch’ – delight; harmony; moving towards darkness and embracing the shadow; the power of kindness; the importance of critical thinking, courage; discipline and practice; a spirit of appreciation for what is working and is good; connecting with our and others’ souls; engaging and reaching out, more alignment in conversations; staying ‘in’, facing what is going on but not at the expense of our own balance and integrity; supporting and challenging leaders to really attend to the well-being of their people and colleagues

  • The imperative for action – now; within a generation; significant change needed across all domains and levels of system, political – economic -social – organsitional – individual

  • Attention to wisdom – strong common ground emerged here – wisdom is lagging and lacking – we have strong aspirations to see its rapid development across all domains, to be at the centre of discourse and organisational  life – this community has deep knowledge about it – our call to action was to develop in 2019 a curriculum for wisdom for 6-96

Our Actions

We all reflected on our personal intent going forward.

By way of examples, here are Aaron’s selected actions:

  • To continue having conversations.

  • To assist those however I may in having conversations

  • To encourage my peers and contemporaries in the life planning world to hold conversations.

  • To get a babysitter so I can attend future conversations in person ;)

  • To connect jointly with Bruce and Julian to see what we can do in SE London for future conversations.

……And here are mine:

  • To continue to support this community in service of all we want to do to improve civilisation through conversation and collaboration, lining up with George’s wider movement and other collaborative efforts

  • To make the next move in our collective work on a curriculum for wisdom for 6-96 by circulating a discussion document by 26 April 2019 and inviting collaborative support from all interested (Jane, Parul, Bruce, Adam – you were among those who kindly expressed interest, all thanks and delighted to hear from others as we move forward on this)

  • To support George’s and other conversations in educational systems – and any other conversations where I can help

  • To up my game, month to month, in all I choose to do in my leadership work, my writing, my volunteering and my political involvement

  • And to have even more fun and delight!

Our ‘Torch’:

‘If – as a consequence of our work together and in league with other likeminded groups across the world - we, the human race, connected and one as we are :

  • Live in liberty, with truth, freedom of expression and justice at the core of our existence

  • Place the health and longevity of planet earth and all who live on it at the forefront of our attention

  • Delight ourselves and each other with our joy, humour, optimism and sense of fun

  • Live in harmony and compassion, embracing and working with difference to find common ground and alignment in a spirit of love, empathy, kindness, and inclusion

  • Explore and deepen our wisdom, self-knowledge, creativity and that of others through vibrant dialogue, curiosity, learning, science and art – stepping into the new and realising the potential we do not currently know we have

  • Move forward every day with a deep sense of collective endeavour, service, responsibility, courage, vigour and vitality to improve the lives of all on the planet…..

………How would that be?

Conversing with the Spiritual Sun


George Kinder, Tim Heath (Chair of The William Blake Society), and Julian Powe opened up a Golden Civilization conversation at the top of Primrose Hill at 1700 on Thursday 11th April with anyone who was passing by at the time and was interested. They gathered at the top of the hill by the William Blake stone inscription- ‘I have conversed with the Spiritual Sun. I saw him on Primrose Hill’.  The event was publicized in The Blake Society newsletter. Thank you to everyone who joined!


Crafting A Golden Civilization at Coventry University

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On the move once again! I’m holding several Golden Civilization Conversations throughout the UK, and have been met with tremendous enthusiasm and positivity. Here’s a comment from friend and event host, Lien Luu:

“Amazing Conversation on A Golden Civilization at Coventry University with George Kinder Yesterday we were honored to host an interactive conversation on A Golden Civilization with George Kinder, (the founder of the Kinder Institute of Life Planning).

The lecture room was quickly filled with energy, excitement and passion as both students and financial planners took an active part in mapping our Vision for the ideal society, acknowledging the obstacles and understanding the actions needed.

We were also privileged to witness a powerful live demo of life planning, as George showed us how through deep listening we can help people achieve clarity about what is important to them, and kindle their passion! A truly incredible evening. Thank you very much George D. Kinder for this honor and privilege, and we can't wait to have you back on campus.”

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Golden Civilization Conversations in London

I was delighted to speak at Jarrovian Wealth Advisors in London and introduce them to the Golden Civilization Movement! We crafted a beautiful vision of a Golden Civilization, here’s some feedback from conversation attendee Chris Salacinski:

“We had a great session with George Kinder last Friday talking about the 'Golden Civilisation' and how to make it happen. Very thought provoking!!”


A Global Vision for A Golden Civilization

Golden Civilizations radiate from the light inside each of us, Delivering freedom and modeling integrity in all things.
— George Kinder, A Golden Civilization and the Map of Mindfulness

Participate in a global visioning exercise. George Kinder, internationally-recognized thought leader and father of the financial Life Planning movement, invites you to Life Plan civilization!

Imagine a thousand generations in the future where there is a Golden Civilization. What does it look like? Feel Like? How do people communicate, exchange goods, and govern themselves? Bring your wildest ideas and most personal values to a conversation about what could be. Let’s paint a vision of the future and then ask ourselves “How can we live into that vision now?”

This BrightTALK is one of hundreds of conversations that happened globally since the launch of Kinder’s latest book, A Golden Civilization and the Map of Mindfulness. The grassroots movement of community conversations asks attendees to vision a Golden Civilization and then work to establish it now.

“Golden Civilizations radiate from the light inside each of us, Delivering freedom and modeling integrity in all things.” – George Kinder, A Golden Civilization and the Map of Mindfulness