By Samir Shukla
No, everything is not broken.
Here's a sentence or a variation of it you hear almost incessantly. “The country is going to hell in a hand basket. Everything seems broken." There are myriad problems and dilemmas facing us, to be sure. Name a decade where that wasn't true. There will never be a perfect world. We continue to work to get close to that conceptual world.
First of all, the bug will be contained. That's the prime directive for the next few months. Americans are finally getting shot, in the arms I mean, and that's a wonderful thing. With a push and a shove, and massive vaccinations, the normal will be ours. Then it will be off to the races.
Let's imagine the better, turning a cacophony of woes into a serenade of wows. Imagine a renewal, naturally slow but steady. We can endlessly argue about all sorts of dilemmas. Or we can turn poisons into possibilities. It's not an easy or overnight task, but humanity always finds solutions. You will never get complete participation in anything, but a majority working together for positive outcomes for all is not out of reach. It is committed people and builders using technology, entrepreneurship, and medical advances that can change the trajectory. Let the political extremists toss rocks at each other. They always have and always will. Why waste your time with them?
Humans are innately programmed to work to reduce personal pain, discomfort, and isolation, while we seek stability, safety, and mobility, arriving at new ways of attaining these. Weariness jostles the afflicted into action. We are the creators of technology. We can be its tamers. Every decade has its defining aspects, where despite the badness of each era, progress is made socially, medically and economically. We are heck of a lot better off than folks were 30, 40, 50 years ago in many ways. This new and young decade can keep improving society.
The prime challenge is to uplift the everyman and woman, the common worker, economically and socially, and the entire planet will be lifted. There will be reduction in violence, domestic abuse, social upheavals, mass migrations, even wars, if the mass of people around the world feel they are economically empowered and their lives are improving.
Understanding the inevitable explosion of technology and using it to help raise the common human is the work of the hour. When a majority of people are economically and socially empowered, divisions will become minor irritations.
Everyone wants to change the world, but feel overwhelmed. A simple way to begin this stroll into that better world is to find three things you want to do, and are able to do, that are positive. This could be as simple as saying a genuine hello and how are you to that politically opposite neighbor. Ask them if they need any help with anything. A smile may follow, after the grunts, just as surely as spring follows winter. Actionable effort is the need of the hour. Have you been thinking about planting trees? Well, what are you waiting for?
Kneeling and peaceful protesting are worthy efforts but rendered useless unless followed by focused, tactical action to affect the change one seeks. This is a lifelong effort.
Making some sort of peace with those of opposing views, whether political, religious, social, economic, is the invisible builder of foundations. You may have to swallow your pride to do this and it may not pay off. If two opposites make even a minor effort to join in a common cause, both will be relieved of a dark layer of distrust. You can't defeat an enemy if you are fighting with your own brethren.
Rather than analyzing, reanalyzing, and complaining, just execute your individually chosen tasks.
The real problems are subtle prejudices and preconceptions because everyone has those. We can complain about others and their negative or extreme or downright false world views or we can do self-reflection and come out of comfort zones of preconceptions and make a change. If nothing else happens you will at least have a clear conscience.
There is no magic wand. We can realign ourselves. It doesn't have to happen with massive government spending, which is essentially our own money often just circling the carcass.
It needs to be a combination of the power of free markets, enthusiastic business starters, efficient government spending and connectedness in communities and neighborhoods that can make this happen.
Economically empower the voiceless and watch the rippling beneficial effect. I'm not naive. We are not just going to hold hands and get along. Political divisions are real. Economic and racial inequities are real. Climate change is very real.
I'm not interested in regurgitating the obvious. I am interested in the simple efforts that ameliorate these constantly shifting challenges to build foundations for lasting change. We will never eliminate all problems, but we can make them manageable.
I'll go on a limb and say this decade will be economically and socially soaring with small efforts of those who care. What are your three things?
I'm wagering on a renewed sense of purpose and forward gaze. This is a kickoff for the Soaring 20s of the 21st Century. Get that shot in the arm and stroll into the possible. Let's get to work.