Everybody struggles with something – and nobody is putting their arms around the collective problem, and there is no Magnificent Seven gang of horsemen coming to save us.
Many are waiting for normal to return; many are ‘doing something else’ until normal returns – and way too many are waiting for some government created or imposed solution as if those folks were ever good at solving complex societal problems.
Perhaps, like the play Waiting For Godot, everyone’s waiting for some messianic solution that will never come.
I think the solution is here.
It is us.
Every one of us is the solution to our life.
And the world isn’t getting worse; it’s getting better.
Human life is healthier, smarter, longer-lasting, more fulfilling, and dripping in more opportunity and joy than ever in the history of humans. We have more humanity, bigger brains, bigger dreams, and bigger lives to live.
Finding my path, my way-through, is not rooted in macro-economic theories, or how society is organized, but rather how the inside of my head is organized.
Not to discount COVID-19, it’s a real force to be reckoned with, but the lessons to learn are both bigger and smaller than that. I believe the keys are re-finding and re-inventing our expectations of ourselves – acting with vigor to make our way differently now that we have new information, obstacles, limiting conditions – which in turn, if we look deeply, we can connect the dots and reshape our trajectory and our expectations.
Let me explain ~
Ever found yourself, mid-conversation, mind meandering – different territory entirely, problems, and mental calisthenics, racing ahead?
Mea culpa …
Case in point, a 45-minute long-overdue multi-subject ‘catching-up’ call; Ralph was walking, I was multi-tasking ~ I began hunting for something (before our call ended, I’d found/forwarded that e-mail) ~ we rambled. Business, industry-gossip/news, summertime, COVID/political bashing, and scheduled our next breakfast meet-up.
If we’d been face-to-face or Zooming, we’d have been focused – but instead, on headphones, we were each moving around, multitasking. While that was happening (yes Ralph, I was hanging on your every word ….), my mind gallivanted, connecting the afore-not connected.
Dot #1 – overworked ‘new normal’ clichés like ‘fingernails-on-chalkboard,’ neither new, nor normal, nor temporary. It’s our 20-20 close-up view of 2020. Nobody knows anything for sure. But, who knew anything before? Coming years may see tumult in markets, commodities, technology, and public health. Massive bankruptcy stats are possible, and massive suicide numbers highly probable – trillions of dollars may evaporate in real terms. Productivity loss and systemic societal failures might make 1918 look pale. Future might be the new term for despair – worse and more devastating than anyone’s worst nightmare. What’s next isn’t in any crystal ball or algorithm, but will aggregate how everyone collectively manages lives, businesses, households, and finances. Some will amass fortunes, while too many could free-fall.
Still on that call … “Uh-huh, yeah, sure, I like that idea” …
Dot #2 – bursitis I encountered a couple of years ago was debilitating, both shoulders simultaneously. Searching the web, WebMD, consulting assorted doctors, chiropractors, pharmacists, and massage therapists failed to provide a happy ending. Besides pain, coming to grips with advice: “This will take at least a year to recover from” proved understatement. I’m still weak and sore in both my bursa. Why is this Dot #2? Because I learned, I had to do so many things differently – not temporary measures, but permanently. How I get out of bed, how I get out of a bathtub, how I put on a jacket or tuck in my shirt – ALL changed. I figured it out. I found ways that work without sending shivers of pain through my body. That’s adapting, coping, and not allowing it to get in the way. Fortunately, most of us never have to face a loss of function on a large scale – though, with aging, we’ll all gradually be less capable of hearing, seeing, moving, and reacting as we once did. That’s aging, but it’s also adapting.
With or without bursitis, or DOT-connections, we can either create our future or wait for someone else to either bring us along or leave us behind.
I’ve never responded well to anyone telling me what to do. Seems little point in starting now. In the words of my friend Annie from New Jersey, “Build a bridge, and get over it.”
Connect your dots, build bridges – get over them, accept that creatures of all kinds deal with adversity, competition, innovation, and complex problems by accepting reality and adapting.