Transforming the Trends

By Jim Selman | Bio

I was sent this extraordinary video produced by the AARP communicating in a simple and straightforward way that if we don’t change the direction we’re going, we’re apt to end up there. It is one of a number of dire predictions about our common future. Yesterday, Al Gore declared climate change irreversible and challenged all of us to transcend short-term concerns and agendas and unite with the world in dealing with this looming calamity. There is so much bad news about the ‘economic crisis’ that it is easy to become depressed or at the very least to become numb to the waves of negativity we’re encountering on a daily basis.

Part of the problem, in my view, is that we have very little rigor and personal responsibility in our relationship to what are admittedly complex and dangerous times. We’ve become spectators measuring our progress in terms of polls and whether we ‘feel’ optimistic or pessimistic as if our moods were reliable predictors of the future. The AARP video includes a voiceover by a younger person that shows as clearly as anything I have seen that the future is a choice. IF we follow the social, economic and environmental trends we’re on a course that at best will mean the end to our way of live and reap unprecedented suffering on billions of people. But resisting, denying and arguing with trends doesn’t change the trends. The only thing that changes a trend is action. Reaction only reinforces and empowers the conversations that are producing the trend in the first place.

So we need to, as the AARP suggests, change our conversations about the future. We must not be either optimistic or pessimistic. We must be committed to creating a different reality every day and in every conversation. We must individually learn to interrupt our automatic conversations and begin to wake up to the consequences of what we say and how we listen. We must not just change the trends, but transform our relationship to those trends and, in doing so, transform the trends themselves.

I am going to watch this video several more times and look deeply at what is my conversation about the future. If it isn’t inspiring action and empowering myself, my family, my friends and those I work with, I’ll change it today. It is time.

© 2009 Jim Selman. All rights reserved.