They say good leadership is about having “vision”. What that is has been the topic of many conversations and talks. I bet you can find quite a few on TED. What I’m going to explain is a reaction I had to an article posted by a friend, through Facebook. The reason I’m doing this is because it’s been a recurring theme, not just in my life time alone.
The theme is, we’re going down the tube, we’ve got a lost generation, the end is in sight. I would like to place that in perspective, from someone who raised a family, and has several grand children. I live a life free of many of the anxieties seeming to plague many younger people as well as quite a few of my peers. I want to draw your attention to a recent history (past 100 years) that many also thought the same way, and with equal or, far greater problems than we face now.
Here’s a link to the post from someone who expresses their concerns about our future. You can understand this post better, if you read what he has to say first. I don’t claim he’s wrong, or that he’s right. I just want those that read this to understand, tough times may lay ahead, just as they did in the past. Don’t lose heart or give up. Enjoy your life now, rather than be consumed with what might lay ahead. Chances are, the worst predictions aren’t true, nor the best claims for a brighter tomorrow.
I understand where he’s basing his concern. I too have concerns, but this much is certain, life will go on. I’ve heard these words before and read them throughout history. “The end is near.” It’s probably been a concern before humans wrote their words, from the time the first large animal ate or stepped on a human, the end of mankind will occur.
You may think as so many others do, and throughout history we’ve seen terrible times behind and ahead of us. My paternal grandmother was part of those times, where ‘flappers’ were the thing people talked about and speak easys were run by gangsters. Civilians and police were mowed down in the streets by hoodlums with machine guns, The haves were living well while the have-nots were having the worst of times. Read to obtain some perspective, “Grapes of Wrath”, “For Whom the Bell Tolls”, all novels who have fallen away for newer more trendy literature.
The years of World War I were long and horrible, leaving many people disillusioned, just as we read & hear now. We’ve seen what the end times looks like, and this is about as close as we want to approach it. Little did they know in about 20 years an even more horrible conflagration was about to begin.
These intervening years were often punctuated by writers who had a flair with words or artistic expression. Along with their gifts, they led a lifetime legacy of self-gratification and debauchery. The following is a brief description of that period.
“Members of the Lost Generation often lived a very bohemian lifestyle. They challenged conventional attitudes about appropriate behavior, especially for women, and many also expressed disdain when it came to morality, especially around sexuality. As they struggled with their disillusionment, members also questioned society as a whole, and targeted the arts with barbed commentary that suggested that most artists were simply repeating the work of previous generations.”
We have fearful events, such as another recent downed airliner, which undoubtedly will be caused through acts of sabotage. We see video of ISIS and their hideous, murderous acts. We have people alarmed about massive global warming, which if humans don’t radically alter their consumption of energy and lifestyle, will doom us all in floods or drought and other catastrophic weather.
We have religious practitioners and leaders who claim, if we don’t adhere to their impassioned entreaties and follow their guidelines, we’re doomed to hell on earth and what they claim after all is an inevitable Armageddon.
On the other side to this back and forth narrative, we have those advocating legalizing of banned substances, allow anyone that wants to cross our borders and be part of our ‘Prozac nation’. Choose to have sexual relations with whom ever they please, and choose which ideas, words & visuals that support those choices.
So what’s the solution to an ongoing struggle between those who believe they have the answers and those who seem to change their ideals with the wind? Personally, I can’t claim I have a corner on the what’s right or wrong department. I’ve read quite a bit, listened to each side as they put their best arguments forward, and have decided that no matter how much I want things to be better than they are now, I don’t have the capacity to change things. Oh sure, I can listen to the cacophony of people who claim that if I just believe and act on that belief, I can move mountains, but pardon me while I express my doubt in that narcissistic point of view.
I may talk about current topics, or express my outrage over some types of behavior, but in the end, I only really can control myself. I matured through a period of my life, listening to the advice of what I should do from others, because of some type of end times scenario. I bought land in a rural area of the country. Became substantially more self-sufficient, with garden, super insulated home that I heated with surrounding dead-fall on 10 acres, and hunted for food for my family in the fall. I did that while teaching at a nearby technical college. This idyllic frame of reference came to a sudden end when the marriage itself failed, and I was left with the responsibility of how to pick up the pieces and provide for my fractured family.
Of course each person’s life is different, but this taught me one of life’s lessons, which I needed a refresher course later in life. That lesson is, you’re in charge of your own life, not someone else. Just as I know when I ride a motorcycle, the direction you point your head and eyes, is where you’re headed. You select your path and those in your lane might follow. No matter how close you are to the other person(s), you can’t impose your will or your ideas on them.
Please watch this brief (less than 2 minutes) video. She understands that our vision and our action, moves us toward our future.
So how much less effective can we be if we flap our hands and raise our voices claiming, “look out, the end is near.” I can tell you the overall effect. It deadens the ear, fewer people listen, and in the case of family, creates undue anxiety among children with whom we are entrusted for their care for a few short years.
Of course, you may discount anything I’ve said, and continue to run head long into the idea that you can prepare yourself for some unforeseen disaster. Not that you should live your life in frivolity and excess or not save, maybe grow some of your own food or learn to repair things you either live in, drive or come into contact.
These last ideas of being more self-sufficient are worthy of your attention, what isn’t worth your energy, worrying about the next apocalypse. If it’s going to occur, you won’t stop it. If you have to live through it, there’s probably a reason that none of us understand until we’ve been though it or died trying. No matter what happens, I’m quite sure we need to find the joy in our minds to live each day as a gift and those we love and know as a huge blessing in our life.