To begin with, one needs two or three Posts rather than one. That is, a "spoiled brats" Post for the 90% of employed Americans and Europeans and Japanese and a few others. We live high off the hog. Period. And for all the Great Recession's pain, it's hard to feel sorry for us. Then there are those in rich countries who are on the short end of the stick, and there are millions upon more millions of these folks. The third Post should at least acknowledge the billions who are at or below subsistence—and add to this Group III the millions trapped in wars and civil wars and the like.
In my own "Group I World," a single word is on my mind, and it was there before the Christmas Day NWA/terrorist fiasco.
The word: Resilience.
I expect my computer to work—and the rest of my electronics as well.
I expect my car to start—and for gas to be plentiful.
I expect safe food.
I expect my two stepsons to make it home for holidays.
I expect ...
I expect ...
I've got a generator for the farm house that I bought in a super-cautious moment prior to Y2K. And a six month supply of meds that my doc suggested at the time of the bird flu scare.
And I spent two years in Vietnam.
But I'm soft. I expect everything I need to work, and small disruptions piss me off.
I have no plans to become a survivalist—though my VT farm is a pretty good place to be in that regard. But I do plan to think about "it" a little more than I have.
As I said, I planned to write about resilience prior to our terrorist scare. Namely because, as I parse the evidence as a non-expert, I think the odds are high that the next 10 years will bring a major terror event, maybe another financial crash, and so on.
Half-assed as it is, I'll leave it at that, leave it at a call for explicit attention resilience.
There are five other mini-segments to present in this New Year's 2010 Post. The first comes from writing my new book. It's really largely about the "basics," and in particular about thoughtfulness and civility. I think thoughtfulness-civility-grace-decency-kindness-appreciation pays off ... Big Time ... on the bottom line. And I think it pays off when you look in the mirror or raise your kids. And, incidentally, I think it's directly related to resilience—that is, going gently in the world serves the community and keeps the heat (emotional reaction to tough news) a little lower.
The third word is serve. In my new book I call leadership a "sacred trust,' and I think it is. To steal shamelessly from Robert Greenleaf, I am a keen fan–adherent of "servant leadership." Leaders work for those who "report to" them—not vice versa.
Word four: contribute. We Group I-ers (see above) simply have an obligation—a pressing obligation—to give back and lend a helping hand. I live in an other-than-high-wage community, and I deeply deeply appreciate the enormous amount of time and energy my wife is contributing as Board leader of our local daycare center. (This is hardly her first major act of community service-leadership; it's simply the one most on my mind at the moment.) Contradicting to some extent my Group III mention above, I am a strong adherent, assuming you're not Bill Gates, of supporting (time, $$) local efforts where you can have direct impact. (Perhaps from local "fanatic" service will grow the desire to expand the stage on which you work.)
Next up, and next to last is ... learn. The best way to stay fresh and vibrant, and thence useful, in my opinion, is to seek new experiences and learning opportunities. Like all of these "words," it takes thoughtfulness (planning) and work—though presumably this work, in every case, should largely be an act of joy.
The final word? My old friend ... EXCELLENCE. I never get tired of it, and I hope you don't either. It's a wonderful standard, a wonderful aspiration, a wonderful way of life (the aspiration to).
So my Aim2010 is to focus on these words:
Doing so hardly solves the problems of Africa, or the "gendercide" I wrote about yesterday (girls being killed-murdered by the million for no reason other than being girls). And for that I apologize.
In any event, may your year be one of peace and health and energetic engagement and exploration.