I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set her/him free.
I believe every person was born to enjoy living their best life by developing their talents/gifts, and following their passions to allow their natural potential to blossom.
The realities of modern living are too often limiting people in their natural desire to find and become the person they were born to be.
In terms of the Michelangelo quote, the ‘marble’ represents peoples’ ‘imprisonment’ within a 21st century way of life that requires people to live according to the expectations of an economic rationalist world. To put the dollar ahead of the heart. The ‘angel’ is the self who yearns for the freedom to grow his/her natural gifts, allowing their unique potential to blossom.
The only person who can be the ‘sculptor’ is the individual, authentic inner self.
The role of society at all levels is to recognize, value, and extol the natural advantages and benefits of this approach as being essential to building a global environment of true, sustained human progress and achievement.
Covid is dramatically changing the world. Now is the time for a paradigm shift in our approach to personal development and human progress.
The Michelangelo quote, in today’s terms, means freeing the true self within and allowing that self to feel accepted, publicly valued, and greatly wanted in this new emerging “post-Covid” world.
Every person was born to be different. We each have our own naturally unique mix of gifts/talents and passionate interests. These give us all the basis for achieving a potential unachievable by anyone else.
Living the life we were born to enjoy entails becoming self-aware, valuing our unique individuality, enjoying using/developing our natural-born abilities in our personal, business, and community lives.
The Law of Correspondence – one of the 12 Universal Laws – includes the statement “So within, so without.” This advocates the need to bring our inner self and outer self together as the oneself. It also suggests that finding balance and happiness starts from the inside.
Freedom to develop one’s abilities, talents, gifts, and passionate interests would give each individual the following benefits:
- the enjoyment of learning with purpose,
- working with energy,
- managing stress and building resilience,
- to feel positively engaged,
- purposeful, passionate, creative/innovative,
- solving problems more easily
- feeling closely connected, and
- enjoying high self-esteem, self-confidence, and self-belief
WHAT PEOPLE WANT
People want to be free to focus their lives on searching, discovering, and pursuing the meaning behind, and purpose of their unique mix of natural abilities and interests.
A clear illustration is the sportsperson who recognizes and pursues the potential of their natural physical and mental abilities. Purpose and goals become clear. They become aware of their opportunities and the hurdles to be overcome in achieving their life dreams.
Would that we could all have the same clarity of our abilities, and potential achievements – and be encouraged to do so! It is commonly believed that once we know what we want to achieve, the ‘universe’ finds us a way. Or, ‘when the student is ready, the teacher appears’.
- Traditional thinking.
We have a 21st-century problem of entrenched traditional thinking – based on outdated 20th-century thinking. Even the 19th century when the Industrial Revolution embraced the principle of the work ethic.
Today’s perception of human progress and success is set solidly in the ‘work ethic’ belief that:
- paid work is the centre of life
- economic development is the measure of success
- work is ‘hard work’ in which enjoyment is not valued
- we identify ourselves by the job we have and the work we do
- stress is a badge of honour
- we perceive ‘retirement’ from work as retirement from life
- doing what we enjoy is a ‘soft skill’ that has no place in the concept of the productive workplace.
Covid is shaking the work ethic to the core, as people re-consider their aims in life and their ‘place in the sun’ in the emerging post- Covid society. Pre-Covid research had been indicating something like 70% of workers were not feeling engaged in their work. Now we are experiencing in many developed countries what is generally called the Great Resignation. These are strong indicators of workers wanting a greater sense of purpose in their lives.
An alternative philosophy is needed to better reflect the realities of this changing world.
Flying under the radar is the OECD Better Life Index. This Index is officially maintained by all OECD countries. It measures annual progress in terms of more than money. It captures – by country – annual statistics on housing, jobs, income, community, education, environment, civic engagement, health, life education, safety and work-life balance.
While I am sure these statistics are useful in government decision-making, the economic factor continues to be the prime indicator used to determine the state of human progress and wellbeing. Yet there is plenty of evidence that money is not in itself the driver of wellbeing and this is being supported by the Covid-driven reactions of workers who realize now that life purpose is driven by many factors, not only money.
I suggest the Better Life Index information complements the aims of this Manifesto.
- Our Dependence on Artificial Living
We have turned the role of nature from being the centre of the world’s health and wellbeing to becoming a slave to an economic hunger that devours all in its path.
For some 10 000 years (the Agrarian era) humans based their lives and growth around the use and development of their natural-born talents and gifts. Our connection and relationship to nature were the core of our way of living.
Artificiality may be bringing people perceived material success but it is still the natural things in life on which our long-term emotional strength, personal development and wellbeing depend.
For almost 50 years I have been an active member (now Life Member) of my professional association Parks and Leisure Australia (previously the Royal Australian Institute of Parks and Recreation), including a term as National President. This has taught me how much people love and greatly need to enjoy being outdoors in nature. “Nature has kept me sane” became a popular catchcry during the months of Covid lockdown. It’s time to remember we are partners with nature, not it’s master.
- The Future of Work
Even more unclear is the place of work in people’s lives. Power is increasingly in the hands of the worker as employees make their wishes known on key issues such as work flexibility wants, professional development, and mental health needs. Hierarchical organization charts are rapidly re-shaping, even flattening. All of this adds credence to recognizing the need to free the person within and allow their essential natural-born gifts to flow.
The following diagram outlines what I see as the only certainty about the future, not just of work but of the deeper desire for overall human progress:
- People will always want “conduits”, i.e. structures within which to bring together people needed to achieve a purpose
- Connections with positive like-minded people to share and achieve outcomes of common interest
- Effectively manage this era of increasingly rapid change, including the growth of Artificial Intelligence
- The aim being to advance human progress in a way that improves the well-being of people and nature.