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05.09.2009 - 04:15PM
By Cheryl Heller
This post is dedicated to my friend Cheryl Kiser, who is one of the most optimistic people I know, and proves herself right continually. Today is her birthday.
It doesn’t really help us to keep going over how bad things are - economics, ecology, healthcare, education, partisan government, corruption, and all the other fine examples of how our exclusionary world view and benighted behavior is catching up with us.
But I am finding a remarkable silver lining in here that is worth noting and using as a point of departure for progress. Once we all re-calibrate what it means to be successful and what defines happiness, we can move on to a much healthier place.
1. Nobody thinks we don’t have to change things. Inertia is not what it used to be, and it used to be half the battle. People may be clinging desperately to their old habits, but they know it can’t last.
2. Nobody thinks they already have the answers. There is more listening going on, less pontificating, in case you’ve been talking too much to notice.
3. There is almost nothing that can’t be questioned. Sacred cows are getting long in the tooth, to mix metaphors.
4. There is a greater willingness to talk about the elephants in the room. Whether it’s the number of corporations with offshore accounts, steroid use, or the fact that corporations can no longer afford to view sustainability as elective, we are more able and willing to see the big forces that have heretofore gotten lost in analysis of detail. Or as my husband’s grandfather used to say, “Less on the peanuts, more on the bananas.”
5. The good thing about bad times is that they make us more aware of our humanity. Relationships have become more precious, and more respected.
6. It’s ok to use human language. It used to be that unless you could throw “corporate speak” you could not conduct a conversation within corporate walls. We are far from the point where it’s disappeared, but I find I’m no longer regarded as an alien or too much of a girlie treehugger if I use words that have to do with hope, energy, relationships and mattering.
7. Simplicity is making a big comeback. In food, friends, entertainment, living in the moment, goals and aspirations. This is somewhat related to the ability to see systems instead of details, but it’s also that people are rediscovering the reward of simplification.
8. I like to think that we are seeing the beginning of the end of massive, excessive, mindless consumption. People now say with pride that they have the old iPhone and aren’t going to get the new one anytime soon. And luxury stores have taken to putting their precious goods in plain brown bags.
Click here to view more blogs by Cheryl Heller!
About Cheryl Heller
Cheryl is the founder and CEO of Heller Communication Design in Manhattan, creating brands that embody a sustainable future and inspire the behavior necessary to make it a reality.
In addition to her work for large corporations, Cheryl works with a group of leading-edge non-profits, including WWF, Audubon New York, International Development Enterprises (IDE, a leading international organization dedicated to poverty elimination) and The Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education, Wildlife Trust and SafeHorizon. She has developed a workshop for NGOs and social entrepreneurs called Good Brand Camp, that teaches mission-based organizations the essentials of branding and communicating.
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