The end of 2012! How did it get here so fast? Has this not been the busiest year in the history of busy years? I feel like it was only yesterday that I was reflecting on 2011 and here I am just minutes later doing the same for 2012.
2012, the year the world is supposed to end after having kept us all suspense until the very last week. We have all been hearing about 21 December 2012 for a long time. Some have taken it seriously and gathered in emergency supplies, others have dismissed it completely, I have ceased the opportunity to rationalize going on leave early and eating myself to a standstill every day, because if the world is going to end, we might as well really enjoy our last few days. But ultimately I think it is going to be like the Y2K panic of 1999/2000. I remember I was working for a huge insurance company based in Dublin at the time. For weeks before the end of 1999 the best brains in the building were summons down to the boardroom (I was there to take notes) to discuss how they were going to handle this impending ‘crisis’. Plans and contingency plans and back-up plans were all put in place to deal this disastrous computer crash that would certainly plunge the world into everlasting chaos. Things were backed-up and suggestions were made as to how they were going to carry on with life once this inevitable and guaranteed nightmare was to take shape. I remember finding it all very amusing, not really believing that any pandemonium would unfold from one day to the next just because of a change of date, but of course being aware that I wasn’t guaranteed for certain that things wouldn’t crash and thus change forever. When we all woke up on the 1st January 2000 we cautiously opened our eyes and held out breath, delighted that everything remained, as it had been 24 hours earlier. I am hoping for the same experience on 22 December 2012.
Of course I don’t think the world is really going to end. I know some of the media and some conspiracy theorists have said that governments have been secretly stockpiling things for survival, like food and water; and that there is other concrete evidence that the world will end. Millions of people will be shaking in their shoes this December as they count down the last days of life, as we know it. Pessimists (or believers, whichever way you want to view this) point out how much ‘evidence’ there is around us to indicate that the end of the world is coming. They use things like the financial crisis, the change in weather patterns and even the large numbers of unemployed youth to justify their beliefs. But I think if you were to reflect on the Hopis and Mayan scripts properly, you will note that what they are suggesting is that we are moving into a new (or different) ‘World Age’. As far as I can tell the message they are bringing to us is much more to do with how we make choices in order to enter the future and less about whether or not there will even be a future. I think the latter point has been the fuel that has created the panic and fear amongst millions, and the truth lies more in the former statement, that the future is about making choice; and accepting responsibility for the consequences of those choices.
As I understand it, what the Mayan elders suggested was that as we move forward post 2012 we will do so with either resistance or acceptance. Amazingly, also, what the Mayan’s suggested was that there would be a shift in our cultural context for the arising of Feminine stewardship for the planet. I don’t say this because I am on some feminist mission to undermine men, but rather because I think that there is existing evidence to support such a notion.
In as long ago as 2010, the then recession, which started in 2008, was dubbed a ‘mancession’ because the industries hardest hit were male-dominated industries. If one was to look at South African matriculation statistics, there are more females graduating from Matric than male students. The same is true in tertiary level graduates all over the world across all disciplines. The global workforce has also been primarily female, in terms of numbers, for a couple of years now and I have no doubt that female leadership will become a topic that cannot be ignored going forward. What I think is interesting, is how female leadership, higher proportions of educated women and an increasingly economically powerful female population will change the face of our social currency. Without diminishing the complexity of the Mayan’s ancient sentiments, TomorrowToday’s message has, for a long time, echoed some of the above considerations. A lot of what we talk about is all to do with surviving change and the future.
Peter Drucker talks about turbulence, and the fact that it’s not the turbulence that we need to be aware of, but rather how we are going to respond to the turbulence. In focusing on our response to change, rather than change itself, Drucker intimates that we have a choice. To continue to do things the way we have always done them, even though we know it is not necessarily safe to do so; and therefore resist change, or to accept that we have to do things differently to cope with change. A very wise person said to me once that is we are going to respond responsibly to change we have to follow a three-step process: to be aware that change is happening, to accept that we need to change and to then take action that we actually need to do something about it. TomorrowToday has been very good over the last ten years and a) enabling you to be aware of change and b) help you take action to deal with change. Acceptance is the hard part, and has to come from within. I think this is what the Mayan notion of 2012 is all about. But following this three-step process will aid our survival, not to mention our growth.
Mark Twain suggested a similar way of thinking. He said that it is not the things that we don’t know that will destroy us, but rather the things we do know for certain that are not so that will get us into trouble. Going forward, I think it is an imperative that we question the things ‘we know for certain’. I do recognize that the human psyche is constructed as such to need certainty (safety and security are just the second step on Maslow’s hierarchy), which is why, in my opinion; the new world of work poses such a challenge for most decision-makers.
So if we are all still here next year (which I hope we are), I look forward to going forward in partnership with you to explore the possibilities presented through the acceptance of change in even better ways than we have in the past. Perhaps 2013 will bring newfound consciousness for all of us, and perhaps ‘the end’ of the world as some have called it, simply means the end of the difficulties we have faced in the past. Perhaps, with a change of attitude for the better, better change will come.
I hope you have a very safe and joyful holiday season, however you chose to spend it, and I look forward to a fruitful 2013 filled with renewed and restored energy.