2018 has been a year of ups and downs for many. The end of year is always a time to take stock of what has happened and plan for the next year.
It is human nature to plan and dream of a future. For many, this year has been tumultuous to say the least – be it economically, politically or personally. Let’s face it, people, the rules have been changed forever. Even the term common sense is not so common anymore.
The impact of social media, use of personal information in nefarious ways, people not looking for the facts anymore, but rather focusing on perceptions (or even blindly following what they read on digital media) and several other phenomena has resulted in society being somewhere between George Orwell’s 1984 and the Hunger Games.
There have been countless situations over this last year where dinner table discussions centred around “did he just do that?” (discussions on Trump), or “can this economy get any worse?”, and “why are leaders generally not even giving a damn about their people?” (most countries). The world has gone crazy-on-steroids. I actually believe legalising cannabis for recreational use in South Africa was a ploy to keep the people high and distracted from the real issues at hand.
In my sessions with friend and mentor, Dr Demartini over this year, we spent time unpacking the “great divide” that is ever widening between “haves” and “have-nots”, which seems to be correlating more than ever with the “knows” and “know-nots”. I used to be concerned by the concepts of fake news and its dissemination of incorrect information. However, nowadays, no one seems to care to verify facts and information, opting for sensationalism before truth.
We have been guiding many a client around managing such issues, whether at an internal ethos level or at a public relations level. The dilemma faced by many is on managing information flow carefully, consistently and authentically. The bottom line, and for me the greatest lesson I have personally learnt this year, is that most people would prefer not to know the truth, as they believe their own perspective anyway, even if it is based on lies. Trying to correct the perceptions with facts is a pointless exercise as it is wasted on people not willing to listen.
I titled this piece the Quickening, chosen from the Highlander movies. However, in this context, the quickening refers to the velocity of information and the agility required to be able to absorb, process and respond to this ever-changing world. Be it in business or personal lives, things could change in an instant and one has to adapt in an instant to the new situation.
Gone are the days of mulling things over, as information flows so quickly that one has to address issues or capitalise on opportunities as they happen. My team gets annoyed with me when I constantly lecture them that “in the land of the blind, the person with one eye is king!”. In other words, in every situation, develop and have options and scenarios at hand to be able to respond to different circumstances.
On a personal note, in October this year, Carly and I welcomed into the world a beautiful baby boy. It might sound clichéd, but this is one of the pinnacle moments in my life. Surreal, yet joyful. Our little boy is already a character of note and has captured our hearts. The coming years have taken on new meaning for Carly and I. A special thanks to my beautiful wife Carly, for choosing me and for maturing into the graceful yet firm powerhouse she has become.
So, into 2019 we go, again with hope and gusto, albeit with a bit more trepidation each year. The Quickening is here to stay!
Written by Vivien Natasen
Images: Supplied and Shutterstock