I love change. I am tickled by technology and the audacious dreams humanity keeps bringing to life. Everything we want to do, seems possible – and likely. I get all gawky geek-like when I imagine a world where mundane and repetitive tasks are performed by a wide brethren of digital proxies. In other ways, I am also proudly old school. I adhere firmly to common courtesy and still use a paper diary. I appreciate the slow, weathered pace of wisdom in old age, and relationships with real people, in a brick and mortar bank, or shop can truly delight me.
As 2018 begins, and the swish of pages in my diary accelerates with new work and booked dates, I reflect on a common theme that emerged in the people and organisations around me in 2017. My life was brimming with opportunity and pace. I was full and at times drowning. It felt as if technology and the pace of progress was throttling me. I wasn’t alone, others were feeling the same. Stress was soaring, health was faltering and meaning in life seemed to be battered and confused. It was unsurprising that as the year came to an end, many of us were pensively asking ‘What is all of this busyness really for? Is this the life I really want to live? Is there another way? What price will I pay if I don’t change soon?’
In early January 2018 a mail arrived from the Center of Applied Jungian Studies. It eased my mind and heart, and at the same time jolted me to perspective. I share excerpts of that post below:
We all know that every human being has basic physical needs: for food, for water, for shelter, for clean air, and in the same way, all humans have certain basic psychological needs too;
- We need to feel we belong.
- We need to feel valued.
- We need to feel we’re good at something.
- We need to feel we have a secure future.
- And there is growing evidence that our culture isn’t meeting those psychological needs for many – perhaps most – people.
We have become disconnected from things we really need, and this deep disconnection is driving an epidemic of depression and anxiety all around us. Finding an “anti-depressant” that actually deals with the root issue rather than the suppression of the symptoms means finding a way to solve the problem that is causing the depression in the first place. If you sincerely want to make a meaningful change in your life, you first need to answer two fundamental questions;
- Who am I?
- What do I really want?
That’s it – old school poignant! In my professional observation, most adults in the workplace feel disconnected, undervalued and generally don’t believe they are worthy. Many then convert that overall insecurity into self-serving behaviours that further denigrates relationships and fuels anxiety in the people around them. Blaming others usually follows, and trust dives. It becomes a toxic contagion that we become disturbingly accustomed to.
These two questions remind us that the route to fulfillment, meaning and purpose is always through the self, and the honest conversations with your inner truth, and towards the heart of who you are and what you want to offer the life you have been given.
I wish for all of you, and myself, a deeply introspective year towards answering those two questions and becoming more whole people, leaders, parents, spouses, siblings and citizens.