Even as we emerge out of the shadows of the pandemic and pick up the pieces of what is remaining to rebuild and revisit our lives, livelihoods and priorities the fact remains that, we are not going to be coming back to the way the things were earlier at least for the next 12 – 24 months depending on which part of the world you are! Even as we overcome what has hit us, we must prepare for, what I like to call as the Hour-Glass Effect, something which has already started and will go on to dominate our lives for a couple of years at least! This article is about, understanding what this is and what we can possibly do or not do, to be sure that we have our dear life in the right areas of the emerging hour-glass! So here we go!
Let’s examine on the political front, what we see around is that there is an increasingly sharper division among the political class the world over, unlike the earlier times when there was space in the middle to ensure that a dynamic and progressive balance is offered to the nation (to keep moving ahead) without any extreme alignments to the right or the left, now it has become the survival of the either ends of the ideologies that the world of politics is known for- irrespective which nation you belong to what state government you are ruled by- if you are living in a democratic set up- you either are making a choice between a radically polarized nationalist front or trying to hold on o a liberal and more accommodating popular front.Well there is nothing, more that I want to suggest here; each of us is free to choose our own path to to our grave- doesn’t matter which end you lean because at both ends what you have are politicians, the real problem is the stretching of the hour-glass right in the middle- the stretch which would have normally been of an adequate proportion seems to be drawn out and made more and more thinner with each political move and this is what throws the society into further chaos- because the society is compelled to collapse onto itself with no space to move, act or even breathe- let alone exist!
If politics plays its part, how can society be left untouched! At the very moment that I am writing this, thousands of families would have either made it to the upper- more opulent part of the hour-glass escaping the intense pressure and crush at the thinned out central space and there would millions who would have been pushed down back to the bottom – most of them reaching back where they would have been a few years or perhaps even decades back! Don’t be surprised, its relatively simple- as the political class go on to play what they are good at, the economic indicators are often let loose to alter the disposition of societies- at times willingly and few times accidentally by oversight- it’s anyone’s guess about what it is – with regards to the events that we are witnessing now! As this happens, the societies move and adjust to get into the old two class system- those who have and those who don’t and each of these sets then begin to carve out their own goals to co-exist with or without confrontation and as this happens over the period of time you see once again the coming of age of the so-called middle strata- middle class once again and the whole cycle start again as the hour glass gets flipped by then! This is what really happens and given the lifespan that each one of us has- rarely will we have a chance to witness the whole cycle through the meaningful period of our lives- and as depending when this cycle hits us individually either we become those dazzling sunrise entrepreneurs or we are forced into the oblivion of darkness through early exit form the professional stage with no time or resources left to re-build or re-start anything meaningful all over again- simply because there is no time left!
If nations,societies can be impacted then what makes you think, that as an individual you will be spared! In fact to be honest, it is the impacted individuals who go on to make the choices which determine the stretch of the hour glass and the quantum of right choices then enables one to reach a comfortable zone within the right space in the hour-glass and bad decisions are routinely rewarded with uncomfortable positions and spaces which manifest as societal discord being played out in the streets on a daily basis! So you see, it is about the choices that we as individuals make that determines the stretch of the central section of the hour-glass and if we are wise and swift enough to make the right one, we are bound to be at the right place no matter how many times the hour-glass is flipped or shaken! The beauty is that the choice always remains with us and within us! So how do we go about ensuring that we are in that sweet spot and are able to be in a zone that is safe enough ton make the adjustment but stay relevant at all times? Well read on!
The trick is deceptively simple, firstly irrespective of everything and anything else, follow the old maxim of creating friends and enemies that you can live with but get get killed by! Once you have the contextual settings around you in control you are certain to always calibrate your aspirations, risk appetite and recklessness in direct contrast to your immediate surrounding- this ensures that even if you hit the deepest and the oddest of all potholes, you will survive and live to tell the tale and begin all over again! Next, calibrate and define your achievements/ success stories to yourself not to the settings around you! You see, if you are going ton end up building sandcastles by the beach, they will not last, that’s a fact, at some point of time either the sea will claim it or the crabs will use it! As long as your success comes from within you, because of who you are and not because of what is told to you- about who you are- you will be just fine! Each one of us is unique, needless to say, even the thought of comparing our success/achievement with anyone else around is the dumbest things that we can ever end up doing!, so never ever do that! Finally once you have a refined sense of what makes you- who you are; once you have a refined understanding about what is your definition of success; you will always then be scanning the contextual settings around you- at all times; not to compare but rather to know what’s out there which may harm and stall your progress. Your heightened self-awareness will go a long way to provide you with that vital early-warning system which will tell you well in time (more than others) to make the needed amends so that as the flip of the hour-glass occurs or as the constriction commences you are well ahead and safe enough to manage yourself and those around you!
Well the hour-glass will flip and will continue to constrict and expand around the centre in an endless cycle – that is perhaps what life is all about! What matters though is that in the short times that we have, it will only make sense that we make an effort to be at the right place within the hour-glass so that no matter how hard it is shaken, or how tight the constriction is, we are able to prevail for our own well being and for the people who depend on us- whether that’s our family, our society or our nation or the global community, depending on who you are, larger will be the dependence and higher the need to prevail and overcome the hour-glass effect and the only way to do it, is by – Being who you are!
I will leave you here with these thoughts for now, to reflect and contemplate , where you are within this hour-glass and how well you are prepared for whats happening now and what will happen later- because the hour-glass will keep flipping as and when its time arrives!
Ciao for now, will be back soon with another article! Until then stay safe, stay wise and keep time!