Whether it’s in our local communities, our bonds with family and friends or our social network (online and offline), as humans we are wired for connection.
As a species we developed from tribes and villages. At a deep emotional level, we need to feel connected to others.
Mostly, though, we’re on our own.
If we sit back and wait to be saved, it’s very likely we won’t be saved. (There’s an old African proverb that goes, “When you pray, move your feet.” Seeking salvation without action is futile.)
If we offload responsibility for our own welfare onto others — the Government, or our employer, or our spouse — we are very likely to end up bitter and disappointed.
Assuming personal responsibility, irrespective of where we find ourselves today, what age we are, what our present situation is, is essential for us to experience anything of a life well lived (one of freedom, energy, purpose, fulfilment, contribution or happiness).
Two things I noticed this week about how mostly we’re on our own, and the path we should take once we believe fully in that circumstance:
This paragraph, from an article by multiple Pulitzer Prize winning writer Thomas L. Friedman from 2013, on the state of play in retirement pensions (often termed 401ks in the United States):
If you are self-motivated, wow, this world is tailored for you. The boundaries are all gone. But if you’re not self-motivated, this world will be a challenge because the walls, ceilings and floors that protected people are also disappearing. That is what I mean when I say “it is a 401(k) world.” Government will do less for you. Companies will do less for you. Unions can do less for you. There will be fewer limits, but also fewer guarantees. Your specific contribution will define your specific benefits much more. Just showing up will not cut it.
And this video, Don’t Worry, No One Cares, from The School of Life YouTube channel:
We grow up and we’re inducted into a horrific reality. We exist in a world of astonishing indifference to almost everything we are, think, say or do.
The stark realisation that mostly, you’re on your own, brings us to a crossroads.
At that crossroads, there are at least three avenues open to us.
- Do what we have been doing, and retain hope
- Do nothing, and risk a drift into nihilism, depression and bitterness
- Take action, and assume a tiny bit of control and influence over what might happen next
(Remember, action is anything that moves you forward. Life is a game of inches with a playing time of decades.)
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