Being a creator
Do you ever wonder why you are so exhausted? You try your hardest to live a Slow life, mindful of your time and what you do with it. You exercise, eat right, call your parents regularly. And yet it sometimes feel like it is not enough.
If I were to rewrite The Power of Slow today, I would include another chapter that addresses our ability to create. Sure, I talk about how we are the masters of our own ship in the chapter “Procrastination Station,” but it is within the context of your choice to either do something or not.
Today we need a broader context within which we can discuss creation. We create our own realities and we engage in certain behaviors that reinforce our beliefs.
Just yesterday I watched David Letterman’s new Netflix show, My Next Guest Needs No Introduction. The first show features none other than Barack Obama. As he walked across the stage, with dignity and a genuine smile, I did indeed weep. I wept for the loss of sanity. Dignity. Grace. Style. Dialogue. Humor. Love. Fatherliness. Care. Protection. Interest. Humility. Other-oriented thinking.
And as I witnessed the banter between these two great men, I listened carefully. In the middle of David’s dance of not-mentioning-names-or-the-current-administration, I heard another truly important message straight from Barack’s mouth.
We live in a bubble determined by algorithms. Our belief system is reinforced by the Google searches we start. We are directed, depending on our interests, to more of the same. Likemindedness becomes the single soul food. Everything else is swept away.
A Google-driven, Facebook-feed-fed life does not place us in the driver’s seat, or, to use my Power of Slow metaphor, at the helm of our futures. It places us in the backseat. We live in reaction instead of in action. We become complacent consumers of opinion-based drivel.
We are then no longer creators and agitators, but created and agitated.
We can do something about it. Within the Slow context, I recommend a new approach that may seem simple. Yet in these times, it may also be unusual.
- If you are looking for information about something, go to the first source. As a journalist, I learned to always quote first-hand, not through second or third party sources. So if you want to know something, look at the company or organization Website. Or better yet, talk to someone on the record who is responsible.
- Talk to people either in person or on the phone. In business I have learned that your physical voice leaves a lasting impression.
- Get a second and third opinion. Before believing something, ask yourself, “Is this true?”
- Read books. Lots of books. It not only expands your vocabulary, but also your mind.
- Consume news programs selectively. I’m not saying to put your head in the sand, but be mindful before you switch on the news.
- Use social media wisely. As we have seen on countless occasions, a lot of it is opinion. Everyone is entitled to their own, but, as Barack so eloquently put, no one is entitled to their personal version of the facts.
As we delve into a new year, I am filled with hope and a good portion of realism. Eyes wide open. Heart too.
May you create a bountiful, beautiful 2018.