Dear peeps, it’s Friday and the last day of January. Put that in your pipe and smoke it! I can’t even believe that we have 11/12ths of the year left to conquer the world, rise to our dreams, and face our enemies head on in the heat of battle! OK, well, maybe some of us just need to get our taxes filed on time…
My latest reading conquest was Boomerang – Travels in the New Third World by Michael Lewis (author of the novel and hit movie The Blind Side). The purpose of Boomerang is to explore the economic explosion in 2008 around the globe, known as the Great Recession, especially in such affected areas as Greece, Ireland, Germany, Iceland (I had no idea), and of course the United States. The point of this blog is not for a detailed review, although I highly, HIGHLY recommend reading Boomerang and The Big Short if you’re interested in the economic impact to your life, which you should be!
To cut to the chase, there are a few lines that truly leap off the pages of Boomerang. I am American. I love my country, am passionate about baseball, eat apple pie (occasionally), pay my taxes, vote, go to work, and travel the world. I try to best represent my country in as many ways as possible, but I will admit that we as a nation are deteriorating. I wouldn’t say it’s been so much since 2008 specifically as since the early 2000’s but my world view rapidly began expanding in 2007 due to international travels and study abroad so I am, of course, biased. Also the pursuit of my MBA again created a drastic shift in my view of global interconnectedness and synergy. I don’t like to think any less of my country, but these quotes make you face a few facts:
- “[Society is] a problem of people taking what they can, just because they can, without regard to larger social consequences.”
- “[Americans have] been conditioned to grab as much as they [can], without thinking about the long-term consequences.”
- “Everywhere you turn you see Americans sacrifice their long-term interests for a short-term reward.”
Well holy cow, nothing screams DELAYED GRATIFICATION any more than these three sentences. Oh, how my mother would be proud! I don’t know what makes me feel more ill: American sense of entitlement, American sacrifice of the greater good for personal gain, or just the average, moronic behavior of the citizens from the 50 states. Again, I am a huge supporter and proponent of my home, but come on people, how big does one’s ego have to be for us to think we can just trample around on everything, bludgeoning and smashing others for more, more, more?!
As written in Boomerang, there are only two possible outcomes when a situation like this occurs. One, we become an all-consuming creature, or a pheasant as referenced in the book, and eat and eat until we are unable to fly and a fox comes along and gobbles us up. Let’s hope that is pending… Two, we hit absolute rock bottom and our environment regulates us when we are unable to regulate ourselves. I think we’ve crashed into the bottom, and I won’t speak to whether or not we have bounced back, but we are beginning to get a glimpse into that dark world and I can only hope that it is a wake-up call. Whether or not it is too little too late has yet to be seen…
Now I’m not all about gloom and doom, that’s just depressing! I do, however, think this is a very serious issue that paralyzes people in their tracks. I, for one, have very little idea about how to help affect change throughout the country so I put together a list of seemingly practical things I will attempt:
1. Be Aware – Whoever said ignorance is bliss was a dumbass. Citizens should be responsible for educating themselves and fact-finding. There’s a reason companies are always in pursuit of people with critical thinking skills. Use your brains people! I read a lot before January 2011 (when I started my MBA), and since then I’ve read exponentially more. Sure, it’s super easy to plop on the couch in front of Netflix or go gallivant at a bar, but the person who takes time to read up on world events, listen to the news, etc. will not only be more educated but will have insights into the world that the “average” person will not. How will you begin tackling issues without knowing about them?
2. Be Smart & Alert – People, use your brains (sound familiar?)!! Take everything with a grain of salt. Don’t trust everything you hear, especially just because it’s “on the Internet.” Check out multiple sources, talk to different people, research, research, research! Rise above being average and pursue something greater and higher. Be a positive influence on those around you, and frankly, shoot for being remarkable.
3. Be Empowered – The apathetic citizen is the powerless citizen. Find ways to make a real, measurable impact in your city, state, or community and have at it! Honestly, I have no idea how I can change the world by being an Ironman who plays trumpet and works in IT in Reno, but I continually look for opportunities and know that the chance will present itself when ready. Until then, I can only continue down the path of self-improvement, read, read, read, share my thoughts and things I’ve learned with my friends, and LISTEN! What a lost skill listening is :( If everyone shut their trap 90% of the time and used their ears I feel like the world would be a very different place…
That’s enough about that… it’s Friday and we may get some more snowy weather this weekend. The world isn’t coming to an end (yet) and there are no asteroids headed for Nevada that I know of so I plan to keep living my life to the best of my abilities. Tonight, however, may require the help of a nice glass of wine. Have a great weekend!