Monday, 3 January 2022

LOOK FORWARDS, LOOK UP AND LOOK OUT

It’s not unusual to spend this strange time between Christmas and New Year reflecting and resolving to do better. It’s been variously called Chrimbo Limbo, Food Week and, more darkly, the Void. I think it’s a time to reset our world and lift ourselves up.

Overeating? Try Limiting Your Food Choices

We need to have things to look forward to. Diaries last year found themselves emptied of appointments and events. HOGO (the hassle of going out) took over. We need to plan for exciting things to do in 2022.

We need to look up not down and we need to learn more…to look up stuff…refresh our tired brains.

But finally look out. We are probably going to be Covid cursed for a while yet. This can’t make us become germophobic hermits. We need to be energetic not supine. But we also need to watch out and avoid infection especially those who like me, and many great wines, are somewhat aged. Avoid the fearless and foolish and parties (even political parties? Yes, obviously those.) 

Top 5 Cringeworthy Wedding Moments & How To Avoid Them | Dad dancing,  Wedding moments, In this moment

But do not be frightened. Covid is not the Back Death, but it will surely keep on reappearing with new variants. We must cope because we have lives to live. So, let’s live them.

Some thoughts looking forward.

There’s never been a better time to concentrate, meaning to stop diluting our energies and talent. Let’s reduce that sauce that makes whatever we do special. Having a diverse portfolio of brands or activities is exhausting so start to get rid of the less rewarding ones. For my part the first month of my year is going to be devoted to tidying up and stopping unnecessary activity. This is not a time to diversify; it’s a time to focus. It’s a time to do less better.

Note to self, do less, better. Hi, my name is Tom and I'm a yes-oholic… |  by tom britton | Startup Grind | Medium

Mindfulness remains in vogue. When done or taught well it’s proved to be enormously beneficial but applied lazily to daily life it seems distracting and more like mindlessness. Increasingly I find the need to simplify. If we had less on our minds and were able to relax better, we might be happier and we’d be more useful.

When did you last laugh, really laugh? 

Does laughter hold the key to human consciousness? | Aeon Essays

Maureen Lipman, Ricky Gervais, Billy Connolly and others have been recently lamenting the death of comedy. What utter tosh. However restrictive the greater social awareness we may seem to have through BLM, Women’s Rights, LBGT and what is called the woke philosophy, comedy will always thrive but will generally steer clear of some of the less funny areas. Beware comedians who think rape, cruelty or racism is funny. But also avoid puritans. Life’s too short. Interestingly the OED defines the original meaning of “woke” thus: -

“well-informed, up-to-date”

Yes, that made me think too. It’s since been appropriated by puritan youth to describe their attachment to various causes.

On a day-to-day basis I’ve come to realise that almost every initiative has unintended consequences. Working from home has obvious benefits, less time wasted on commuting, safer in avoiding human contact and a greater focus on the tasks that need doing. But it also subtracts social intercourse from our daily lives. We are losing the abrasive benefits of discourse. Those ghastly meetings around a table which we now mostly avoid (but a meeting on Zoom is not the same thing at all) orientated us even as we resisted groupthink. They allowed us to absorb what all our colleagues felt as well as thought. Zoom and Teams are  pretty much without feeling.

Priorities Committee Statements - Portsmouth CCG

If we do nothing else this year, we all need to talk more, listen better, meet more,  become sociable and less remote. Friendships and communal interaction suffered in 2020 and 2021. We need to bring hugs and laughter back into our lives. And one other thing. We need to be positive. Just start everyday saying “this is going to be a good one”. Make lists of things to do and do them. Nothing will make you feel better than actually getting things done.

The world around us is becoming more dangerous, more polarised, more bad tempered and less predictable. Now is not the time to be a soothsayer; all the analysts and futurologists are floundering. However, we do need to understand the tensions which will shape our world.

We need clever people, diplomats, great managers, calm minds, and long-term thinkers. Issues that will impact on us are going to be technological advances especially in Artificial Intelligence, the rich/poor divide, the growing number of old people who are staying alert and are getting more involved, pollution and climate change and the stress of declining national importance (tough for the USA, UK, and EU all of whom are losing share in this changing world.)

What an adventure we face. One like this:-

“Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming – WOW – What a Ride!” (Hunter S. Thompson)

Don’t be angry, don’t be frightened but do think and do stay involved. Maybe I’ve been wrong about social media which I’ve sometimes dismissed rather lightly because more of us can have our say and share our thoughts than ever before. Let’s just be thoughtful, good natured and courteous when we do so. That’s going to become the new “woke” way of doing things.

In 2022 I’m going to reclaim that word because it’s time we all woke up.


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