This crisis is not temporary - welcome to the creative age

These new numbers showing +50% youth unemployment in Spain and Greece are simply mind-boggling. The old world order has broken down. The financial crisis is not some temporary phenomenon and then we can all get back to work.

The requirements for what it takes to succeed or even survive in this world has changed dramatically.

We’re now responsible for creating our own lives, our own livelihoods, our own work.

In a sense, it was always like this, of course. But it used to be that we could get security in exchange for giving up our spirit.

We could lock away our soul in a secure place, only to be taken out on weekends and special occasions, sell our time wholesale to the highest bidder, and in return get a predictable paycheck at the end of each month.

Not anymore. With the rise of automation and outsourcing to Asia, those jobs are disappearing really fast, and they’re not coming back. I’m not sure people in the western world have woken up to this fact. They will, eventually. But it’s not going to go down easily. There’s going to be a lot of screaming for governments to try to return us to the good old days. And they’re going to try their best. But you can’t fight the tide, so it’s going to fail.

I don’t mean to be a doomsayer. I’m really very very optimistic about the future. I believe we’re in the midst of creating a whole new way of existing on this planet. A new global consciousness, a new realization that we’re connected, not isolated, an age of cooperation and co-creation instead of competition, of abundance rather than scarcity.

But it’s going to take a conscious decision on our part. A decision to see the world as it really is - fundamentally unsafe. No guarantees. To embrace that lack of safety, that uncertainty, and to see how creative and joyful and exciting life can be when you let go of your need for the illusion of certainty. Certainty doesn’t really exist, yet in pursuing it, you’re losing your life, your soul. It’s really the worst of both worlds. Let’s abandon the illusion and embrace life instead.

Instead of searching for jobs - I mean, who do you think created those jobs in the first place? God? He couldn’t care less about jobs. Humans created jobs. Yes, humans just like you and me! - let’s search for your dharma.

You are an eternal soul. You choose to come to this planet at this time, for a reason! There was something you wanted to do here - to learn, to experience, to contribute - something. Alas, as soon as we’re born, the whole Men In Black routine plays out. It’s like you’re zapped, and you forget why you came here. Ahh, but that’s the fun and beauty of life. It is now your job to go through all this stuff to try and recall.

It is, as Steven Pressfield so brilliantly describes it, like the movie about the amnesiac. Like the Bourne Identity. We’re trying to use clues in our life to help us remember who we are and why we are here.

And once we start to remember, we’ve got something to go by. Now we can start to explore. It’s a continued process of discovery, experimentation, feedback, reflection, and over again.

That’s what we’re here to do. To remember why we came and get on with the business of doing it. Maybe it takes the shape of a work of art. Maybe it takes the shape of just being a really nice human being. Maybe it takes the shape of being a monk. Or a teacher.

But increasingly, I think it’s going to show up as a business. Even if you’re an artist, you need to be in business. What does business really mean? It just means you’re producing something that has value for others and you exchange that for money. We all need to do that in order to survive in this society. I’m going to predict that there’s going to be more “businesses” than adult humans at some point in the next century. Provided we’re not extinct by then, of course. It’s just the nature of the world that we’re each going to have to figure out how to become “Me, Inc.”.

Everything about our societies are lagging behind, of course. Schools horribly so. But also political systems, tax codes, health care, higher education, and on and on. It’s going to be a challenging and exciting time, with lots of resistance from incumbents.

But it’s going to happen. It’s going to go this way. You can’t turn back the tide.

(The inspiration for this came from the wonderful Hugh MacLeod.)


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