Your Move…


I had a guy take me to task last week with the following:

“If we all create our own reality like you say we do, why is it that I have to get caught up in this recession/depression? I bought a modest house, I don’t buy a new car every three years despite the flyers turning up weekly in my mailbox offering me “0%, nothing down”, I don’t have a 50 inch TV. If we all create our own reality, why is it that I’m losing my job next week, when I didn’t do anything to create this situation?”

Good point Joe (not his real name of course, but we’ll call him Joe). And lot’s of people I come across feel the same way. The fact is though, that yes, we do create our own reality, and it’s that reality that then filters out into our family life, our work life, our community; where it forms the collective reality that we call our society.

The truth of the matter is that the overwhelming majority of us have been living beyond our means, and it’s the majority that shape the collective reality. Now, when I use the word reality, please don’t think that I’m going all “woo woo” on you. By reality I’m referring to our collective consciousness; what’s acceptable, what’s not; what we value as important; how we live our lives basically.

It’s not just in how we’ve chosen to spend our money that’s shaped our reality. A huge factor has also been how we choose to spend our time and where we’ve chosen to put our energy. Just because you didn’t go into debt, doesn’t necessarily mean you were paying attention. Remember, our reality is shaped by what we give our attention to, and the sad fact of the matter is we know more about pop culture and sports than we do about how our economy works, or at least we did before the melt down started….

So, my question for Joe, and my question for you, is: What are you putting your energy into? If you, like Joe, are staring down the barrel of losing your job, you’ve got some tough questions to ask yourself. Have I been spending more time at work pretending to be busy that actually doing something? Have I been spending more time on Facebook than actually working?

What if you spent that time looking for ways to tighten up some of your processes? What if you spent it taking the extra step to solve an issue for a client; therefore providing more value? What if you took a training course that would equip you with skills valuable to both you and your employer?

This goes for time outside work also. If you’re really worried about losing your job, should you be investing another minute of your time caring whether the Cannuck’s ever win another game.

Please don’t make the mistake of going into denial; the writing is on the wall, there will be more job cuts: Caterpillar 20,000, Sprint 8,000, Home Depot 7,000, and that’s just his week…

So, the reality we’ve effectively created is all around us, and it doesn’t look pretty. We can get all overwhelmed by that, we can feel all defeated; or we can choose to take action. What are you going to do? What are you going to do to make yourself not just recession proof, but depression proof?

Let’s start with what you have right now, and to get you started I want to share this story with you.

Last week I visited a family of refugees from Burma, brought to Canada by the Canadian Friends of Burma (CFOB). I’d been asked to visit to provide some encouragement to a nine year old boy named TaHay Tha who’d been born with no arms or legs courtesy of the Burmese military using agent orange as part of its “campaign” to stamp out the riff raff…

As we were being introduced, you could see interest in TaHay Tha’s face that I was different; that I was more like him than anyone else in the room, but a deep sadness still pervaded this little boys eyes. A sadness built up over a lifetime of, not just being limited, but of being shunned by his community. Disability is not treated the same way in other parts of the world as it is in the west, and although we still have a long way to go here; in many parts of the world the disabled are hidden from the community out of shame. So, I think you’ll agree TaHay Tha has a fair bit going against him; it’s no wonder he’s not happy, but when Shauna (CFOB) suggested I challenge him to a game of marbles, something in him changed. I’m not going to say he got excited; TaHay Tha didn’t smile the whole time of our visit, but when the marbles were bought out and dumped on the floor in front of him, all of a sudden he had a purpose…


Over the next twenty minutes, I proceeded to get my arse kicked at marbles by a nine year old boy without arms, or more accurately, with no arms just below the elbows. My clumsy flicking of each marble with thumbs that hadn’t flicked a marble for 30 years were absolutely no match for the way TaHay Tha rolled each marble between his two stumps carefully whilst taking aim, then rubbed them quickly together to shoot the marble out with incredible accuracy. He didn’t just beat me; as I said, he absolutely kicked my arse!

The moral of the story of course, is that TaHay Tha beat me by focusing on what he has. The list of things he doesn’t have is immense, far greater than you and I can imagine and far beyond not having arms and legs. He doesn’t have any control over what bought him to be in this position in his life; the reality of others determined TaHay Tha’s reality before he was even born. But it was he who turned himself into an arse kicking marble player, and it’s you, and you alone who can equip yourself with the mindset and skills to not just survive, but thrive; no matter what happens to the economy.

It’s your move.

What have you got?

What are you going to do with it?