Can national and world crises impact your life and career?
It’s all too easy to become distracted from your family, job, your personal and spiritual development if you get distracted by the barrage of crises driven information that not only comes to you through media, but from all the people who surround you.
Because of sequester, does the world for all practical purposes end for you, your family, and your job?
Will the sequester be kin to a nuclear bomb? Well, it just might. But frankly I doubt that seriously.
For one thing, it’s way too obvious. We’re rarely involved in a head-on collision where you see the car coming over the median from the other lane–it’s almost always something like a 9/11 attack or a 2008 economic meltdown that comes from out of nowhere . . .or a refrigerator sized meteor like the one that blasted Russia a few days ago.
People love disaster and will eat it from breakfast to their midnight snack. Ever since Sophocles wrote Greek tragedies in the Fifth Century B.C. , we have been aware that people have an enormous appetite for it. “Call no man happy until he carries his happiness to the grave,” Sophocles puts in the mouth of Oedipus Rex. Psychiatrist Carl Jung observed “man’s collective psychosis for disaster.” I think it’s fair to say that people’s taste for disaster continues to accelerate.
You have to be very smart to avoid the “disaster mentality.” A lot of social talk is based on conversations lamently the latest disaster. Not only are you fed it through the media, the people around you will often love you more if you bring them stories that illustrate that your life is as bad as theirs.
Why do people love disasters and manufacture them? There are many complex reasons, but the one that should concern us is that if we’re all talking disaster then we don’t have focus on solutions. Disaster lowers the bar for all of us because how can we be expected to get anything done when things are as bad as they are.
When you hear of the latest crisis, be wary. Crises is when we’re most in danger of getting manipulated. Most disasters never happen, and the ones that matter are so bad we can’t do anything about them–world wars, cyber attacks, or the unexpected arrival of aliens.
Here are some of the more ridiculous crises I’ve survived.
1. The Cuban Missile Crisis. I stood in the university cafeteria in 1963 and watched the horror story unfold of missiles pointed toward the heart of the homeland from 90 miles away. Did they come close? Yes. Did it happen? No. Both the U.S. and Russia spent way more energy on Cuba than it deserved.
2. The Civil Rights Struggle. Intelligent people predicted that civil rights would cause social dislocation and civil war. We seemed to have survived it.
3. The Domino Theory. The communists would conquer Asia and finally become strong enough to march up through Latin America over the border and take over the country. What an infantile notion.
4. The Collapse of the Nation under debt as a result of the national debt of the early 20th Century. Everyone trotted out how much ever man, woman, and child owed and that the debt would never be paid. We had a surplus in the 90’s because of the boom in technology. The debt was paid, albeit briefly.
5. The Energy Crisis. We were assured in the 1980’s that energy would be fairly unavailable by now, except at enormous prices. Our cars would largely be parked in the caves where we would be back living in and gas stations would be empty and decaying. Today we are awash in energy, and wind and solar power are being threatened by the abundance of traditional sources. Wind and solar are incredibly important for the environment, but there are many alternatives we have that we can’t get to because there are so many.
I won’t get into the manufactured crises we’re going through today because they’re so politically charged, and this is a non-partisan publication that focuses on peak performance of teams and organizations.