Today we live in an ever-faster world. Time is shrinking… and we are trying to get ever more done. There is never time to catch up… there is never the time to get everything done… And at the same time there are more demands on us… there is more we have to get done.
Our Boss wants more... in less time. Our Spouse demands more from us. Our children demand more.
And so we rush and we rush… always busy, busy, busy. And we never catch up… we never complete all the things on our to do list. So our head is always spinning… I have to do this, I have to do that.
You never get the chance to relax… even when you have the time to stop doing, you’re too wound up and tired to enjoy peace of mind. Every now and then a thought creeps into your mind…
There Must Be Another Way.
Surely there is more to life than this. There must be some reason or purpose for me to be alive… other than to just run around keeping up with working, raising children and struggling to earn enough money to run a home.
And there is.
Our lives are lived according to some artificial, arbitrary set of rules. Our way of life is so unnatural and so false. We are not built genetically, emotionally or physically to live the way that we are currently living.
That is why twenty per cent of the population at any given moment are lonely.
That is why 51% of us will suffer from a form of mental illness.
More and more of us are feeling more and more stress. This stress can either be turned inwards making us feel hopeless and powerless leading to a sense of depression and giving up.
Or it can be turned outwards into a frustration at the world, making people more violent. Not necessarily physically, but you can see this in road rage and air rage attacks. Often though there's an increased violence in the sense of more conflict, whether that is verbalised or perhaps only felt – or known - by the individual. Over time though, this leads to an increased sense of callousness towards others and a lack of concern. All this leads to a sense of disconnection or loneliness.
To attempt to resolve this, people are increasingly turning to drink, to drugs, to busying themselves in work, to food, to sex, gambling… anything that dulls the pain and the emptiness from their lives.
But none of these work.
We do what we do because we believe it is the right thing. We believe it is what we should do. We think it is us that is failure because we don’t live up to the expectations and standards that have been set out.
We were wrong… so wrong.
The most common recurring fear that I hear over and over again in working with people is…
Is this normal?
Am I just odd?
And so people keep quiet about their fears. And no-one knows, but almost everyone feels the same. Yet none express it. So it continues.
Again. And again.
There is nothing wrong with you. Stop worrying that you’re not normal… that you’re not good enough. You are... it’s the system that doesn’t work.
About a hundred and fifty years ago when we entered the Industrial Age, our whole culture changed completely. Work became a drudge. And people became dispensable and disposable, all in the name of efficiency.
The Industrial Age came about because we changed our beliefs. These beliefs have helped us… they solved the problems we had at that time. We live for far longer, we’re safe from nature and we have more than enough to eat.
We have been able to achieve these goals because of the beliefs we shared as a culture. For example, the belief that what was right was the good of the majority. The belief that people can be controlled and manipulated for efficient production.
The Industrial Age was the plastic age… where people and principles were dispensable and disposable. Where the ends justified the means.
One hundred and fifty years ago we were afraid of disease and starvation. We’ve solved these problems, but today we are afraid of being mugged and murdered.
The solutions of the Industrial Age were a patch. Like everything in our history, the patch that resolves one problem ends up creating another.
It was because we succeeded so well in becoming productive and rich that we have the problems we have today. And we are rich. If all the money in the world were divided equally every Man, Woman and Child would be a millionaire.
The problems we have today come about because while we believe that efficiency and effectiveness are more important than people we are always going to strive to get things done… And so more people will sacrifice their emotional and physical health… so that more is produced for other people to consume.
We work harder and harder, for longer hours to buy more and more labor saving gadgets. We work for so long and so frenetically that we have no time to enjoy the money we earn. Then we feel guilty about not spending enough time with our children and so we lavish money on them as a demonstration of our love for them. Yet money cannot buy love, security and emotional connection.
Do you see there’s something wrong in our thinking?
We were brought up to believe in the values of the Industrial Age. But they aren’t working anymore. They have served their purpose and now it’s time to move on.
Have you noticed that everything around us is telling us we’re going into a new age?
Everyone in the business world is talking about the Information age and knowledge workers and all that stuff.
Spiritual followers have been talking about something mystical called the Aquarian age.
These both sound a little complex and mysterious. The new era can be simpler to understand. The Industrial Age was all about things. It was about producing and creating things more efficiently and effectively… mostly through things. And so people and our planet were subjugated to things and to processes.
Today our planet has been almost stripped bare of its natural resources. And we have gone as far as we can with people being used as physical resources.
The new age is still about technology, but now it is the human technology. How to create relationships that work for all parties? Its about collaboration, rather than competition. Instead of more things, the aim is more enjoyment, more humanity. Today is not about mining gold from the world, but mining the hidden gold inside each of us.
Everywhere around us the signs are that things are changing. Everywhere companies are talking more about increasing job satisfaction. I know that words are often empty when they are first stated, but action eventually follows words.
Everywhere the old symbols and systems are creaking and collapsing. Companies like Enron and World.Com are falling.
The major brands of the twentieth century were things, like Coca Cola, IBM and Nike. The major brands of the twenty-first century will be processes that help people to get more out of their life. We can see this in its infancy with Oprah, Dr Phil and Anthony Robbins becoming multi-million dollar brands.
History and Anthropology hold two vital lessons for us as individuals.
History demonstrates that taste, fashion and standards are ever changing concepts.
Anthropology teaches us that every belief and custom is held somewhere. Every idea belongs and is or has been accepted in some time or place.
Modern technology means that for the first time psychographics (meaning psychological preferences) are taking the place of demographics. Today we can gather among those who share the same interests, rather than conforming to the ideas of our birthplace. Myspace and all the other Social Networking tools let likeminded people all over the world gather.
For you this means, it’s ok to be you. You don’t have to compromise who you are to fit in with the world. Just being you adds value to the world. This means there will be more diversity to the world. Mainstream is being fragmented into many streams. As in genetics, in decision-making and in society more diversity means stronger and healthier, unless there is so much conflict that opposing sides kill or weaken each other.
This book is intended to help you find the passion, strength and sense of security to feel the freedom to be yourself and live without the debilitating and wasteful conflict, both internal and external, that scars our lives.