From HBR Blog Network: You Don’t Need This Recovery by Umair Haque. Urge you to read entire post. I’ve shared a few excerpts below.
“What, then, does it mean for an economy to be "healthy"? Consider, for a moment, a few very different numbers.
- 9.8% of adults strongly agree that their life is close to their ideal.
- 19% of adults strongly agree that they are satisfied with their life.
- 21% of adults strongly agree that their life has a clear sense of purpose.
- 30% of adults strongly agree that on most days they feel a sense of accomplishment from what they do.
Surprised? Here’s what I’d suggest: we might be in a eudaimonic depression. The real depression isn’t merely a temporary lapse in economic "output" — but a depression of human potential; one of human significance squandered.
But perhaps there’s more to the "health" of an economy than how many McWidgets it can churn out, more bigger faster cheaper nastier. Perhaps the health of "an economy" is better represented by the mental, physical, emotional, and social health of people’s very real human lives. Perhaps what matters more than (yawn) the stuff we can buy is the stuff we can’t.
…Perhaps performing the mute steps of the clockwork dance above can no longer yield the bounty we once cheerily took for granted — because the more we denude ourselves of purpose, humanity, and meaning, the less demanding, capable, and able to realize our potential we become. Perhaps, at some threshold, having ascended into minimal material plenitude, eudaimonic depression yields material stagnation — and the more lost, alone, and bereft we feel in the human world, the less capable the gears of prosperity are.
If we face an imperative, perhaps it’s one as timeless and worn as bedrock: not merely to employ our selves to make the most, but to make the most of our tiny selves. Perhaps it’s this imperative that is the bedrock of the human world, the only firmament solid enough to support the foundations of meaningful lives. And to this imperative, there are no easy answers — just hard questions. The questions we’ve been uncomfortably failing to ask for a long, long while. Hence, if you want some tiny advice, I’d say: craft a purpose. Find yourself . Mean it. Matter. Better.
We’ve spent a lot of time looking for the promised land. Building utopias, worshipping idols — these are amongst humanity’s most natural, frequent aspirations. Despite ourselves, we haven’t reached the end of our journey: I’d bet the farm that there will be whole new economies to model; whole new continents to explore; whole new worlds to save. Yet, perhaps the fact will remain: for you and I, in the living moment, there are no promised lands. Perhaps the human world is all we’ve got — and all we’re sure to have. Hence, maybe, if there is an answer to the question "Is this all there is?" then the contours of that answer — imperfect, imprecise, painful, sharp with color — outline the shape of whom we are, have been, and will be.