What can we learn from the SlowDown?
December 19, 2008
I wrote the word SlowDown like this on purpose. It is a monumental event, like New Year’s, that deserves to be capitalized. It may be the single most painful, yet purposeful things this world has experienced in centuries.
Because I am not an economist, I don’t really understand the nuances of what has happened to elicit the world financial crisis. It is often in crisis, however, that we learn the most. Because human beings tend to be creatures of comfort, we only move when things transition from a comfortable to an uncomfortable state. That is not to say we are always happy. Comfort implies predictability. We know what to expect, even if it isn’t pleasant. We can get used to misery as easily, and oftentimes clamour to that which is familiar, even if it’s frightening.
The world economic situation is not familiar, and it has made a lot of people fearful. A collective panic has swept the globe. We are now moving from a state of discomfort, seeking the warm nest to catch us as we fall.
And I think it is a good thing.
It is not good that people have been left homeless. Nor is it good that businesses, including major banks, are failing.
But it also gives us an opportunity to step back and look at what we’ve been running after all this time. Better, more, bigger, larger, fatter bottom lines. It reminds me of my all-time favorite Dr. Seuss story, The Lorax, who spoke for the trees while industries destroyed the very thing they needed to survive.
I am hopeful for the future. We may have needed to take ourselves by the seat of the pants, much like the Lorax did, and leave the remorseful Thneed-weaving greed behind us.
There is a spot of sunshine in slowing down. It is time for us all to breathe and remember we are not here to fatten the bottom line, but to make a difference.
The time is now.