I’ve been listening to stories about people losing their jobs, being really worried about how to make it in this economy. One of the most significant is the Elkhart, IL example of over 15% unemployment because an RV factory went out of business. Some of the people interviewed talked about how their politics had changed because of their economic situations. On man said he voted for McCain, but wouldn’t today–because today he believes the government should step in and solve this problem for the citizens of Elkhart, IL.
This morning, as I was doing my Pilates, I listened to a Charlie Rose interview with Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google. They were covering a broad range of ways that technological innovations have and continue to play a major part in the resolution of problems in society. He reminded me to think about just how creative we can be when we look for solutions instead of being paralyzed by challenges. I realized that there is an alternative to either being destitute or being rescued by the government.
I have often talked with groups about our inner wealth. What we know, our ability to create a strategy and solve problems, based on our experience and understanding–no one can take that away from us. It is our inherent endowment of wealth that continues to appreciate and grow. If that is our true wealth, and we understand that, then we are not quite so susceptible to the fluctuations of the economy.
I also believe completely in the human potential. I believe that history proves how human beings can move through what seem to be insurmountable obstacles with creative, innovative and strategic thinking applied to the best ends.
What if these challenges we are facing right now could be met head on with human creativity? What if the people of Elkhart, IL started gathering together in large groups, looking at the problems they are facing as a community, and started figuring out what to do about it? What if the citizens of the devastated communities started brainstorming together about working their way out of this? What if they started creating little businesses among each other? What if they decided that they could appeal to each other for new ideas, not just the government to fix things?
If you were stranded on an island and didn’t know when you could go home, would you sit down and wait or would you start finding shelter, food, some way to survive? And as you continued to survive, would you start having glimpses of actually thriving in that environment? Isn’t that a distinct possibility?
So here we are in America 2009 and our systems we relied on are breaking down, the blue chip stocks, the business leaders, the political answer people don’t seem to have any clear solutions for our problems. Maybe it is time we started coming up with our own. Maybe we are on that island and it is up to us to figure out how to live on it.