Friday, June 2, 2017

Hopeful Thinking - Saturday, June 3, 2017 - Good News: It’s Easier Than We Think

The world is complicated. A global game of Twister with too many players. Spoiler alert: It’s an illusion. People complicate life for two reasons: to make money or to feel important. Which means it’s only one reason.
For that’s what power really comes down to, a sense of importance, relevance, impact. Money can make people feel important. A solid family can do that, too. Which makes a happier human?
    Since you can’t take it with you, of what importance is money anyway? Ironically, money has no value. It’s just a participant in the process of you getting something you want. In the end, however, money purchases only a state of mind. Be careful what you wish for.
We know what we expect to be the result of possessing abundance in one form or another. We want an optimum state of mind. Happiness. Satisfaction. Contentment. That’s what literally everyone wants. But until they do, how will they know what it really is that will “make” them happy? Until one knows happiness, they can only imagine what it will take to get it.
    It comes down to having options. When someone thinks they only have two options, hunger or steal, which must they choose? Now add ‘college education’ to that list and suddenly ‘steal’ and ‘hunger’ take care of themselves.
We want to be noticed. We want to be relevant. We want to be loved. When our list of options is short we do terrible things to get them. When we have been neglected, silenced, or ignored we do terrible things to be heard. These are the wounded of our times. We must forgive and empower them or they will continue to bring harm.
The world has over-complicated itself trying to be heard over the din. Trying to convince, to manipulate, persuade, confuse, assist, serve, even love. We try too hard to love sometimes and more often enable others when we would be better off empowering them, increasing their list of options.
We struggle to pin the problem on guns and drugs. But it’s people who pull triggers and shoot up. People who believe their list of options is short. Who want to feel important, but feel worthless.
Drugs and guns make people feel important. Taking them away with nothing to replace it will never work. By the same token, taking coal away from miners with nothing to replace it will end in disaster. The coal mining culture is wounded because their sense of importance and relevance has been stripped away like so much earth. We must give them new options.
It’s easier than we think, but only to think about. Enacting it will be a challenge. We are stuck in our ways. But by working smarter not harder we can let the self-important carry on their debates while we do the far clearer work among ourselves. Let them even pat one another on the back. We will know the truth.
All we have to do is everything we can to increase people’s options. Do it in small ways. Little everyday ways. Use your imagination. Be creative. Collaborate. Don’t just give a hand out, give a hand up. Make an earthquake of your presence with nothing more than a mustard seed. Remember what’s really important. And this world will right itself far faster than you could possibly imagine.

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