CAN WE AFFORD TO LET OPTIMISM DIE?

( Note this post is directed to  an Australian audience but may be of interest to people in other countries).
A couple of days ago whilst backing up the files on my computer I came across a video I produced regarding an event I conducted a couple of years earlier, dealing with the subject of optimism. The event was quite successful with over 50 people in attendance and the prospects of further participation looked promising.

The reason for me taking up this cause was that in my home state South Australia and within Australia generally we were witnessing an alarming deterioration in optimism. The catalyst seems too have been the end of a twenty-year period of sustained growth in the economy together with other significant world events and social change.

My state was being hit hard and in some quarters the obstinate held belief that they could ignore change and it would pass us by. The notion was we could continue to believe life could return to that sleepy comfortable paradise we had once known.

Two years later unfortunately that optimism has continued to decline both in the state and nationally and in fact confidence about our future is being further eroded as structural change takes effect. All these changes and events would suggest we are witnessing a degree of fragmentation of how we work and live together. The national mood turning from what once was a very healthy environment envied by the world to one where rancour, recrimination, blame and negativity has taken hold.

Research has revealed that we are now experiencing the lowest engagement levels between business and the individual that has ever been recorded. Added to this respect and trust within our political system has fallen to incredible depths and today is openly mocked by the public.

Reality tells us the world has changed in such a way that we are as a nation currently under pressure something we have not have not had to contend with for a long period of time; how we react to this situation will define our future. The previously long held world view of Australia being a vibrant progressive country can quite easily evaporate really quickly if we are not prepared to alter our mindsets.

The strange thing I see against this backdrop of national angst are some magnificent achievements by ordinary people developing new businesses, striving for better education and working to improve our environment.
Furthermore the bogeyman theories of the next generations leading us to wreck and ruin are proving to be myths, I am of the strong belief they will be successful, they are energetic, innovative and are these are great assets they possess. My many personal experiences reveal a desire for engagement only difference they do not accept the old methodology of direct and control, this appears to be an opportunity we are missing. Increasingly I am coming to the conclusion that one of the ways we might emerge from this morass will come from generational change.
It had been thought that a general call for Leadership would be the panacea to what ails us unfortunately that theory is proving to be elusive given the results and evidence today despite the various considerable efforts being expended. The feedback being received that people have lost trust and just not are listening.

The theme of that event two years ago was that to believe that any institution or organisation could possibly solve our problems and challenges was totally misguided. The event centred around the thought it was down to the individual to assess how they could improve their own mental attitude and of that of others in their own sphere of influence.

For my part personal financial restrictions have halted my public activities to gain traction although I am still actively engaged in talking to organisations in the private sector. The momentum of that event unfortunately was unable to be sustained due to the conditions mentioned above.
This does not mean I have changed my opinion, on the contrary it has enforced my view; which is until we all accept responsibility that it is down to each one of us whether it is in our business, the workplace or life to look ourselves in the mirror and ask, “What can I do”? , rather than “What can be done to further my personal interests”?
(Actually that statement seems vaguely familiar, did someone express that similar sentiment in the past)?
It is fanciful to believe that the struggle to improve optimism can be achieved overnight it will not, given our current mindsets today. .If we are to be successful we need to take a pragmatic approach and accept the power of the individual will determine the eventual outcome. It is a choice we are all at liberty to make.
Please Note
For those you who may be interested here is the video link for that event. I would make the honest admission I made a couple of economic predictions at the time which have since proved to be incorrect but stand by my original assertions.

Ken 0051_1-H.264 25fps 640 400kb

Ken Wood
People Specialist
9th August 2015