Everybody’s scared these days. It’s true. Take a look around – or inside – and you’ll see it. The constant whispers of ‘what if’ and ‘could that be me next week?’ as you see some stock news footage of long lines of suit-clad people clutching resumes because a job opened up somewhere in some other state.
And, in this age of 24/7 media saturation and the ability to be constantly plugged in, we’re all exposed to it way too much. The problem is that we’ve become conditioned: we’d like to walk away sometimes but fear that if we miss something, we’ll miss everything, and the structured life we’re holding on to so desperately will turn to dust beneath our fingers.
I wonder sometimes if this all started on that clear September morning about a decade ago, or if that was merely the fuse to ignite a confluence of events already in place. Logically, if 9/11 had happened in, say, 1980, I think that there’s an argument to be made that while horribly tragic, the resonant effect would have been considerably shorter: we would have been exposed to it maybe once or twice a day back then. The 6pm broadcast news and maybe a daily paper would have been our only reminders over the course of the day, provided we didn’t know someone who died there personally (like so many others, I had a friend who never made it out that day). This lack of information-delivery systems would have left the other 23 hours or so open to doing other things and getting away from it a bit. And getting some time to allow the wound to heal.
Fast forward to 2001, however, and we had 24-hour news cycles and the internet. I’ll posit that these things keep that wound from healing over completely, and allowing for recovery. And the same applies to the recent economic crisis and its effects: we simply can’t seem to get away from it and recover.
And as viewers or clicks somehow equal money, I don’t think it’s overly cynical to suggest that the news channels and information sources are well aware of the fact that if they keep the fear fire stoked, we’ll continue to tune in. Here’s the Truth: There will never be a recovery if we don’t allow ourselves to recover. And that means walking away long enough to gain distance and clarity, and truly assess not what’s happening in a Stock Market that most of us don’t understand but, instead, working on the small part of our own individual universes – our communities and businesses – that we actually do understand and in which we live, have a degree of control and can make a difference.
Curiously, this was actually going to be a post about something else, but now I think there’s enough here to digest for today. Small steps.