You are the only source of yourself. Organize yourself to make an open future possible.
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If you have a false notion of who you are, and you have a misunderstood idea of what the current situation is, your chances of making good decisions is poor. If you engage in discussion with other people, you have some small level of protection against your own ideas getting off base.
During this depression try to maintain your membership of clubs and community organizations. Don't allow yourself to become isolated. Maintain and build your relationships with other people. Try to find things that you can do together that are useful. Online networking is also a useful way to connect yourself to the world of ideas and to possible help and assistance.
You must sustain yourself with ideas, with hopes and dreams and plans. People are at their best when they are self motivated. Whatever the circumstances you should try to engage with an action plan that you are committed to. Find and join groups that share your interests.
What do we really want?We want to live lives where friends and family are important and where we can choose ways to make a purposeful contribution to the economy and to community life.
To be a member, useful, and respected.We all need someone to love and a work to be devoted too. The opportunity to be a useful member of the community who makes a strong contribution and earns the respect of our peers is what we crave.
To be healthy and well and live in a pleasant environment.Quality of life is important to us. We need personal health, good food and the ability to keep physically fit. Access to quality water, soil and air is important. Modern societies should also be able to provide free or almost free health care when it's needed.
If unemployment of under-employment comes your way organize yourself and try to get the most out of both close family and wider family assets. You do need money, but money buys freedom from worry today, it doesn't buy happiness. What you do for yourself and with others is the key to happiness.
What can you do to make the best use of family capital goods? Is the land owned by the family being well used? Does someone have time to make gardens on the property of other family members?
What skills, tools and capital goods exist that might allow family members to produce an income?
Re-examine your personal "story". How do you explain yourself to yourself, and how do you explain who you are to other people? Most people have given their own story very little thought. I've found that as a member of online social networks it's necessary to put some details about yourself on an "about me" page. There is no perfect way to do that, there is no correct way to explain who you are. What you write isn't very important to other people anyway, it's most important to you. So put effort into this task each time you do it. Try to write an honest assessment. The more honest you can be with yourself the better prepared you'll be to make changes in your life if you need to. We like to imagine ourselves as players in a story where our personal role is significant. We want people to tell us how good we are, even if it's not true. We want to be misled, even to the extent of misleading ourselves. The lies you tell yourself are the most difficult to detect.
Maslow's hierarchy of needs gives some guidance to setting some priorities for yourself.
Physical fitness is something you can build if you have time on your hands. The process of training makes you feel better about yourself. When you feel the strength of your body, power in your muscles, when you know you can run for an hour or more, that does a lot for your confidence. Walking, cycling, running or doing T'ai Chi Ch'uan doesn't cost a lot of money. If this is not your habit, start slowly. Get some training advice. Your local athletics club might be a good place to start.
We understand who we are much better when we are engaged with other people. The groups you are a MEMBER of help to define you. You may imagine yourself as a member of various groups. The test is that other people who are themselves members, recognize you as a member. For instance there was a time when I was an athlete. I wasn't a member of any club, but I trained regularly, and I ran in many races from 10km to marathons, and although I was never very fast, my status as an athlete wasn't questioned. I don't retain that membership today. I'll have to settle for slightly overweight and fairly fit. For a long time I was a Toastmaster, officially a member for 20 years, with a long list of achievements as a leader, trainer and sponsor of new clubs. If you are unemployed, don't hide away, join some groups, be active, become a member. There are many ways you can do that.
In my own city, Christchurch, NZ, we have established on online forum, "Canterbury Issues" that's quite active and discusses all sorts of local political issues. I'm a member of the small committee that started the forum. In the current depression the forum is likely to become more and more useful to the district. In the same way there is scope for people to form much smaller groups based on city blocks or perhaps on a street. If unemployment bites really deep there is a great deal people can do for each other. They need to take the simple step of joining together. If you go out an knock some doors you may be surprised how willing people are to be involved in such a group. Hold a street party BBQ for the local kids and see what happens. You can go to Online Groups to find a well organized easy to use community communication system. There's more about that on this page.
Your Household is a Common
Prof. Robert Ellickson studied the way households manage and share everyday resources. He said that most people choose to live in small kin-based clusters. The small size of the family makes the transaction cost of making decisions very low. We choose not to exchange money in return for services within our households because it's easier. Your household operates as "gift economy". Cooperation produces a shared surplus of goods and services which everyone can enjoy. The household operates as a common where most decisions are reached by consensus, where people seldom choose not to help, and where everyone has an appropriate role to play. In Pacific Island communities this principle operates in larger groups, perhaps extending to the whole village. In modern cities we might be able to approximate some of that sharing by trying to enlarge the useful common.
Contribute to the Useful Common
The useful common is a set of natural and community resources that are available to all community members. If government recognizes the value of the useful common, it's fairly easy for them to help it grow and to make it more easily accessible. There is also much that community groups, churches and sports clubs can do to make the useful common available to a wider group. Discussion of the concept of the "useful common" here in Christchurch seems to get stuck on the need to develop more community gardens. That's an excellent idea, but I'm looking for much wider participation.
If you volunteer your time and skills to the useful common, that's good for you and for the community. I've found Ryze is one place with active forums where I can learn a lot and make an active contribution. This link takes you to my Ryze Homepage from where I run three forums. The Open Future website adds to the useful common too, as does my earlier site Adapt to Experience. Besides I run a group for New Zealanders on Linkedin and I'm active in many other groups. I do try to practise what I've been telling you here.
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