About thirty years ago, while building my recruiting firm, I coined the term, “On the Road to Your Perfect World.” In a nutshell it means; in life and all its nuances, it’s the journey that matters not the destination. It’s the experiences of life that create the human beings we are. And maybe more than that; it’s how we think about those experiences and how we react to them. Every year I try envision what I’d like see out the metaphorical window as I journey down my road.
My Perfect World 2020
Looking forward, here’s my wish list, or as I call it – my “Perfect World”. Some of these are a big lift so we’ll look past just 2020 – well down the road. Regardless, 2020 is a good time to start. These wishes aren’t necessarily for me personally as they are for all of us society-wide.
First I wish for a de-emphasizing of politics and to rid ourselves of the “white hat, white horse man” syndrome. Every four years here in the United States (and the ever-increasing time leading up to it) our civic self-efficacy is reduced to a trickle. Civic duty means screaming at anyone and everyone around us who doesn’t agree with our preference for the messiah. Once someone declares their candidacy, their words of deliverance are taken as gospel. Doing it yourself, banding together as community, solving our problems ourselves – all become off limits, supplanted by the “man on a white horse”. Instead, what if we looked at ourselves as a community of seamstresses mending the “safety net of life” for all around us, rather than sitting by idly by as our friends and neighbors fall through. We need to build new models and norms that are dynamic and rooted with people – not ones that rely on the static hierarchical institutions of the past.
Imagine if we were immune from the constraints of “so-called” societal norms; cerebrally free to determine our own fates, our own definitions of purpose … and free of the expectations of others, expectations formed from generations past. Our new norm will be to include – not exclude; not running sacred from anyone not exactly like us. Imagine if we were looked at for the talents we all bring; and those talents were included as parts of a greater collective solution. Imagine if we were stripped of our credentials and business cards with all the letters after our names. Imagine if we looked at every person as an opportunity, a unique collection of talents just waiting to be unleashed onto our community making us all better. Imagine the color hair we have, the number of tattoos, who our sexual partner is, the color of our skin is or where we just moved from, were all looked at as ways to inject a diverse perspective into our community – making it all that more resilient.
Out my metaphorical window I want to see young people everywhere exerting their power and implementing their ideas to displace the septuagenarians who refuse relinquish their hold over the fate of the world. I believe these young people will choose to genuinely care for their elders – definitely better than their elders care for them and probably better than they care for themselves. My wish echos that of former president Obama who believes that many of the world’s problems stem from “old people, usually old men, not getting out of the way”. Imagine if the older generations embraced and nurtured the younger ones and viewed them as a source of fresh ideas, rather than as irrelevant and showed them disdain. And with this we welcomed change – rather than desperately trying to hold onto the past and the ways things were – or how we mistakenly thought they were.
And finally my last wish is we evolve our attitudes towards healthcare. Healthcare as it currently exists, at least in the United States, has little to do with health. I wish we all used this turning to new decade as a impetus to focus on our self-efficacy; recognize our health is dependent a large part on what we do and the behaviors we choose to make habits. This self-efficacy we hone must also extend beyond just ourselves to what we prioritize in our communities. We must break ourselves of the automobile addiction and force our governmental representative to prioritize everything “green”. Only when we take control of our health can we break the shackled hold the healthcare industry has over our physical, mental and financial well-being. And this control must include those around us in our communities, whether their roles are caregivers or just neighbors who are there when we need them. This lifelong journey of health and well-being we all travel must not be a solitary one. Without companionship, our way of life will crumble under the weight of the need and neglect of our most vulnerable.
I’ve decided to limit my wish list to just four items this year; but as I acknowledged previously – they’re big lifts. I’m looking at this year as start of things; not so much a year to check off the boxes. There’s many other issues I’d like to see addressed, but we can make little progress with them until we undertake the ones in my list above … and especially the attitudinal changes that weave between the four.
Join me in the journey of a changing of the minds!