The Stormy Present

The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew and act anew.” ~ Abraham Lincoln

Well, here we are again. We went to sleep in the old world and arose to a new one. The usual street signs and signposts are gone, what used to be normal economically no longer is and the rules of the game have changed.

We, as human beings, love to hearken back to a simpler time, be it 5, 10 or 150 years ago. We seek the voiceless counsel of past sages, scrounging through the written word for clues as to how best to meet the new reality and the most creative among us concoct new solutions for the challenges of the new day.

Those who dwell overly in the past suffer an unfortunate, yet certain fate. If you are not careful in this regard you find as John Berger so graphically noted that “The past grows gradually around one, like a placenta for dying.” The past can be quite instructive, but it cannot be grafted directly onto the present as so many of the underlying factors change from one moment to the next. In the infinitely practical words of Warren Buffett, “If past history was all there was to the game, the richest people would be librarians.”


We live in a stormy present. Every day we seem to witness another destabilizing moment in terms of global governance and economics. Closer to home in the United States it is clear that life now isn’t as it was three or four years ago. Health care, social security, national security, GDP growth are all on shaky ground and in need of leadership capable of rising to the occasion.

The future feels more uncertain than ever, a reality that is exacerbated by the widespread tendency to fear the unknown. Few are in position to influence politics, social and economic conditions at the international level, but everyone is in position to make changes in his or her immediate sphere of influence.  Where to start? Coming to the point where you relinquish fear is a great point of departure.

Rather than fret about what you don’t know, look to build on what you do know. Likewise, if you build on your strengths, you’ll find that your weaknesses are systematically drawn into the light. Hidden or secret faults cannot be repaired, but when you see them, you can do something about them!

When you find fear creeping in relative to something unfamiliar in your path, don’t take another step until you identify those assets, capabilities and talents present with you that can be applied to the formulation of a successful approach. Don’t just blindly makes stabs in the dark, take out your flashlight, night vision goggles, a candle or whatever tools you might have gained from past experience and put them to good use, before you get yourself into trouble!


4 thoughts on “The Stormy Present

  1. brigitte

    You are right, it is so important not to live in the past and it is essential to build on our strengths. Each of us has them along with our own brand of strengths and capabilities.Thanks for another inspiring post!


  2. Lady Leo

    Between weather disasters, global economic failures, rampant political upheaval and I’ve not even considered what my personal health or economics might be …oh yes a new strategy is certainly required by everyone. I appreciate your thinking today because in order to be in the right situation to make the necessay changes our orientation point will sink us or position us for triumph.


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