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Daily Leadership Thought #137 – Have We Lost Our Way?

May 13, 2011

Free Person Standing on Pathway Stock Photo

Lately, as a society, it feels like we have lost our way. The disproportionate celebration of the individual has come at great expense to the family and community.  Other people have become props in our life who are discarded as they no longer suit our purpose.  We tolerate less and expect more.  We want what we want, and we want it now.  We are worried more about what strangers think than strengthening the bonds of our existing relationships.

It could be my age and being more aware of things, but I am convinced there are more egocentric people today than when I was younger.  You meet people like this all the time.  Whatever happens is always about them regardless of the situation and its consequences (for others).  Sadly, they have been buoyed in their attitudes by a cottage industry of self-help gurus and marketers that continue to reinforce the worldview that everyone should be the center of their own universe and everyone’s primary concern should be their own happiness and self-satisfaction.  It feels like people can no longer compromise or handle adversity.  How many of us even truly grasp and embrace the concepts of delayed gratification and self-sacrifice?

We expect to be happy and fulfilled all the time and paradoxically we are less happy.  You see the evidence everywhere: divorce rates now above 50%, parents putting their own needs ahead of their kids, parents over scheduling and stressing out their children and trying to live vicariously through their exploits, people switching jobs every 2-3 years, children living at home well into their Thirties, the number of people you know on anti-depressants, etc.  The offspring of the “ME” generation has clearly been paying attention to the actions and attitudes of their parents.  It is all quite sad.

The following secrets leading to a happy and fulfilling life have been communicated down through the ages, across cultures and religions:

We may have lost our way, but we can reroute and get back on track and it starts with you and me.  We know the answers.  We just need to wade through the murky waters of self-deception and conceit to get there.  The lessons and values we need to embrace are widely known, time-tested, implementable, and lead to better results.  We just need to let go of the Ego and embrace the needs of our fellow human beings.  We need to stop always putting ourselves and our needs first and then rationalizing this behavior.