We all survived the first night of the noughties and Y2K— the fear that computers would not shift from 1999 to 2000 correctly, plummeting aircraft from the sky and sending the share markets into turmoil. We’d have to wait eight years for the foibles of Wall Street financiers packaging risky loans—likened to ‘building an every growing tower built on a foundation of sand’— to do that.
Before that, we faced a most catastrophic event that would hurl humanity into a period of lengthy uncertainty. Who will ever forget watching those planes and burning twin towers crumble over the skyline of New York—images of our worst nightmares. It changed air travel for all time. And yet we still flew.
During this decade and into the next, various presidents of the US and their allies would deploy troops into different countries to find weapons of mass destruction or hunt down dictators and despots. Did the resulting loss of life cause anything but more suffering, more refugees, more war, more death and mayhem?
The noughties ended disastrously for us. The Great Financial Crisis of 2008 collided with an ignominious business betrayal and crashed our once healthy business. So, we started a charity. It was financial madness, but wonderful and life affirming, despite forcing us to leave our home of 26 years.
The twenty tens
It ensured there was no choice but to make the twenty tens a decade of reinvention as a solopreneur. When I stood on the Melbourne TEDx stage in 2014, to do a talk called Tell your story, save a life, which told the story of the charity, it seemed I was on track.
Three grandchildren later, it would take another six years, to this strangest of all strange years 2020, for it to culminate in its fullness.
The twenty twenties
The start of the twenty twenties delivered a welter of uncertainty in which the word ‘unprecedented’ took on a new and sinister meaning— fires, floods, and pestilence.
Where could we look to find uplift in this? For most of the year, I offered stories of hope. And there were many—of people who used their innovative, energetic, humanitarian spirit to resolve our individual, professional, and global problems.
Then on November 8, 2020, after months of hard lockdown in Melbourne to contain Covid-19, and four days of anxiously waiting for the results of the US election, we heard first from Premier Dan Andrews that in Victoria we were on track toward living a ‘Covid-normal’ life after nine days of zero cases, zero deaths.
Afterward, we watched the victory speeches of Vice President elect, Kamala Harris and President elect, Joe Biden.
There would much to say about the spectre of the early twenty twenties being dominated by the current leadership in the United States. Happily, there is no reason to now.
There are many people better equipped than I to comment on the politics and economics of a Democrat victory. But, for the fact that both spoke to addressing climate change, systemic racism and social injustice, we should be elated and uplifted on behalf of the people of America and the citizens of the world.
One commentator said, politics is after all a narrative, a story told to the people. The story we heard was of science, hope, unity and truth.
All the people of America, including those who did not vote for the Biden Harris team, and the rest of the world, will watch to see how they deliver it. Our greatest hope for the twenty twenties should be that we are all witness to an unfolding story that fulfils the promise.
The chaos theory
This random meander through seven decades is a personal reflection which may only partly mirror your experience, but it illustrates how we’ve always lived through uncertainty.
The greatly uplifted feelings I had in response to the promise of hope on November 8 2020, were but a speck of dust in an ocean of joy that engulfed so many here in Victoria, the US and globally.
I observed as the day passed, a shift in mood which grew exponentially toward a willingness to re-engage, get down to it, and make a difference. This is what stories of hope do. It’s the chaos theory of storytelling unfolding minutely all over the world, making sense of the confusion— impacting on how we feel, what we do and what we must change.
In his opening address as he launched the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Great Reset, executive chairman and founder, Professor Klauss Schwab said this:
We have a choice, to remain passive which would lead to the amplification of many of the trends we see today, polarization, nationalism, racism, and ultimately increased social unrest, or we can build a new social contract integrating the next generation; we can change our behavior to be in harmony with nature again; and make sure that the technologies of the 4th industrial revolution are best utilized to provide us with better lives. In short we need a great reset.
In their victory speeches, President and Vice President Elect, Biden and Harris mirrored these sentiments exactly.
Can you think of a better summary of what each of us can contribute to in the forthcoming years post Covid?
The WEF believes that it’s the storytellers that can save the planet. They believe that by providing us solid science— one of the pledges from the Biden Harris team— and free footage, we can bring the climate catastrophe alive. What they provide is almost always stories of hope.
There is no better time than NOW to share our collective and uplifting stories of change, so I invite you to visit the WEF, find a story and share it with us at the next Uplifting Story gathering. They are every two weeks on a Friday afternoon, and an opportunity to wind down and revel in hope.
You can find the list of dates in the Humanitix link below. We look forward to your company.