How Can We Have So Much and Be So Soft?

I have always been able to have conversations with friends and family members with differing political views because we talk about the morals, values, and ethics that live above politics. You know, the ones that all of us used to remember as the ideals of the American spirit. We treasured characteristics such as respect, fairness, inclusion, vision, kindness, opportunity, supportiveness, and unity.

Right now, virtually anyone who works is in the cross-hairs of change and far too many are viewing the changes as dreadfully threatening. Put on a new set of glasses and we find a new life with ever greater freedom from monotonous tasks. Without insight or understanding of how to change ourselves, we fall back on the very filters that will kill self-change on the spot. All of us have been trained. They are the filters of cynicism, contempt, aimlessness, resignation, and frenzy. Now, when we most need to change, the filters have become full-time jobs of taking it out on each other. For example, Lady Gaga says, “The Internet is a toilet.”

For anyone that has even a modicum of spirituality or for those of us who want to maintain our sanity, we rush past the posts filled with name-calling and rage to locate friends and role models that do their very best to be positive, the ones that add rather than detract from the light.

Why have so many become so unhinged?

I’ve never seen so many people frightened about their future. When almost ½ of our country’s workers characterize themselves as underemployed, they are having increasing difficulty envisioning a future livelihood.

During the recent debates, I came to the conclusion it is time for all of us to stop depending on our politicians for any meaningful leadership on the conundrum of work. There wasn’t one word about how we can strengthen our relevance during the biggest restructuring of work since the industrial revolution. Lest we skip past the importance of relevance, let us remember that democracy gives every citizen relevance. Lose that and we lose the purpose of democracy. Instead of using such a valuable opportunity to enlighten the citizens, we had the same tired chestnuts of demonizing the rich, preaching about the victims, and promising more jobs. It is so ironic that most everyone on the stage had taken huge donations from wealthy benefactors only to demonize abundance. If I had children, I would cover their ears.

No one implied, not even once, we would have to do a thing beyond casting a vote.

The war in front of us has to begin. It is our war with the past. We have an educational system that is designed to serve the industrial revolution. We don’t teach the life skills that are necessary for modern success such as wealth, sales, influence, building communities, and connecting with mentors. Other civilized countries don’t lay off their workers because of obsolescence, they keep teaching their workers to stay ahead of change. It isn’t socialism, it is an investment that produces wealth in every corner.

The great dysfunctional relationship between America’s citizens and politicians began with John F. Kennedy’s assassination. He was the last in a series of great leaders who told us to fix the world’s problems. They told us to get educated. They inspired us to serve during war and to serve during peace. They told us that the great fortune of being an American required that we give back to our communities.

But, shortly after JFK’s passing, the advertising industry introduced a marketing tool that ultimately destroyed our contract of mutual responsibility. The focus group became a method for politicians to determine what we wanted to hear rather than what we needed to hear. That’s as healthy as asking one of our dachshunds how many biscuits she wants to eat.


David Harder
David Harder
DAVID founded Inspired Work in 1990, which has helped over 42,000 professionals transform their relationship towards work. Individuals from all walks of life attend Inspired Work’s public programs to launch new careers, new business or to become more successful in their existing role. He views work as a profound opportunity to become more fulfilled, contributive and effective. Mr. Harder’s leadership, employee engagement, executive development and social networking programs are used in a wide variety of organizations including The Walt Disney Company, HBO, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Loyola Marymount University, University of Southern California, The United Church of Religious Science, Morgan Stanley, and many others. Inspired Work’s leadership programs, career development and team building programs produce some of the worlds most outstanding satisfaction numbers in any business: 92.6% out of a hundred. David has appeared on many business and human-interest programs including CNN, KTLA News, KFWB News and Business News Network. David’s book, new book, The Workplace Engagement Solution (Career Press) offers an entire “crack-the-code” approach to engagement.

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