What we see and how we see matters. It affects our mood, our thinking and the actions we take. It is a self-reinforcing loop that determines whether we progress, retreat or hide.
I was thinking about this as I listened to the news this morning and scanned the press headlines, and wondered, just how useful is this for me right now? Is my progress today going to be more effective because Peppa Pig has now become a government influencer?
As we go about our work today, we have things to do that will not wait. We must make decisions, and unfortunately, attend meetings that will result in very little. We know that what we do today will be forgotten by next week and change very little of importance for most of us and that our day to day reality is often spending our time keeping our managers entertained. The news we are fed will affect little of what we do, other than perhaps providing fodder for entertainment.
At the same time, we all have decisions to make that will fundamentally affect our futures. Many small decisions and a few bigger ones. Given what we now know, just how much will we fly and drive? Will we change our diet, and will we still go mad on Black Friday to buy things we do not need? Will we continue to spend our short lives in pursuit of something as shallow and ethereal as “profit” – mainly for someone else – to buy those things we do not need? What do we want our legacy to be, and for our great-grandchildren to think when they participate, a century hence, in some version of “Who do you think you are?”
In between these poles of survival and purpose lies the most difficult region of all, the risks of transition. What we stop doing, and start doing when we know that we cannot stay where we are with any sense of responsibility and that the steps we take, if they are to be effective, will be full of risk.
The news we consume is a good place to hide. It is a rich source of people to blame and indulge in some satisfying schadenfreude as we watch someone’s career unravel and expose ourselves to carefully targeted advertising for that stuff we do not need.
That liminal space, the space between what we keep ourselves busy with, and what we really want to happen, is a rich, fertile and risky place.
Three different perspectives – the anaesthetising busyness of today, the responsibility of the tomorrow we create, and the terrifying responsibility of the bit in between.
It’s all a matter of perspective.