Conserving Potential

A relentless search for efficiency has us using every scrap of energy and resources in the pursuit of more. But, unfortunately, it leaves us, our businesses, and our planet exhausted so that when unexpected opportunities turn up, we don’t have the energy to pursue them.

The definition of efficiency is “The ratio of useful work done to energy expended”, which takes us to ask ourselves, just what is useful? What are we pursuing that leaves us so drained that it is easier to let something that might transform our lives, or the lives of others, untouched because we cannot summon up the energy needed to grasp it?

The one thing we can be sure of right now is that those opportunities are going to arise. They will not give us notice, nor will they come with clear instructions. They will be as tricky as they are compelling. They will not be logical; we will feel them more than see them, and we will know if we let them pass by untouched.

It is very tempting to stretch ourselves to the limits to try and fix an economic model that we know is damaged beyond repair. Yet, it is what we have been brought up to do, has shaped our lives for several generations and has become an addictive habit—the endless pursuit of more. Unfortunately, we have been financing that “more” by indebting ourselves to a version of tomorrow that is not showing up and finding ourselves starved of resources to harness the one that is.

“Every increase of needs tends to increase one’s independence on outside forces over which one cannot have control and therefore increases existential fear” 

Ernst F. Schumacher

Individually, and collectively we have unlimited potential. It is unspeakably stupid to put ourselves in a position where we are too tired to realise it.

Now is a time to conserve energy. We can best do that by asking ourselves if what we are doing today is preparing us for a different tomorrow rather than pursuing a diminished version of yesterday.

If it isn’t, stop doing it.

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