A Sorry State?
The world is in a sorry state, and it can be a struggle to remain cheerful in the face of such atrocities. Political manoeuvrings are having all sorts of damaging effects on our personal and business lives, and the global landscape is reforming, bringing new levels of uncertainty and threat.
In times like these, it’s easy to feel alone, bereft, pessimistic and helpless. I can feel the pull of it, like a devil on my shoulder, saying, “Come on Tim, admit it: all is lost and everything’s hopeless”.
Along with many other people in my position (a small business owner selling services to larger businesses), I am facing new challenges. I’m being in hit by changes in taxation rules; by enforced deductions on my invoices from a client who has changed their payment terms; and by clients who have been operating in Europe but are now finding the terrain trickier because of the Brexit-effect. Any pain my clients feel has a knock-on effect for me.
It isn’t sheer bloody-mindedness that keeps me going. It isn’t blind optimism, either. It’s faith in people. That’s what repeatedly raises my spirits and keeps me focused on the task ahead.
This year has had its real highs and its real lows for me. A deep low was the sudden death of a neighbour’s 22-year old daughter. A real high was being accepted as a Fellow of the RSA after a generous nomination from a colleague. Through both experiences, I have seen the very best of people. I have seen and felt their humanity, their fortitude, their generosity, their deep love, their determination, their empathy, their stoicism, their capacity to touch the lives of others, their hope, their ambition, their gratitude, and their desire to make a better world.
I have also seen the worst of people. Their jealousy, their selfishness, their lack of feeling. But these pall into insignificance by comparison. Why should I concentrate on these when I have so many positive examples to draw strength from?
People do remarkable things. They are capable of great feats of endurance. They give and share freely. They see the prospect of a world that is bigger and better than them alone, and they work tirelessly to create it. Later this month, I’ll be attending the screening of a documentary about a friend of mine and her amazing colleagues. LOSING SIGHT OF SHORE follows the extraordinary journey of six brave women known as the Coxless Crew, who in 2015 set out to row the Pacific Ocean from America to Australia to raise money for charity. Their unsupported 8,446-mile journey in their pink boat called Doris, took nine months, and is an example perseverance, friendship and the power of the human spirit. Check them out here http://coxlesscrew.com/
There are many reasons to be cheerful, not least listening to Ian Dury’s song of that name. And that’s why, despite the setbacks and the uncertainty, I plan to remain cheerful and keep my focus on what sustains and enriches me, not what depletes me.