It’s easy to recognize that the world around us is changing incredibly quickly. Consider innovations like smartphones, social media, video streaming, e-sports gaming, self-driving cars and the like. We take all of these advances for granted – and yet they are all 21st century creations. And they are transforming and disrupting broad swaths of society. Beyond this shocking level of change is another challenging reality. As a speaker at a recent conference put it, “The world will never change this slowly again.”
We are now entering a new decade – perhaps a somewhat arbitrary marker on the calendar – but it feels more significant to me given the social, economic, and political issues swirling around us. The nightly news does not inspire confidence or optimism: impeachment, street violence, raging forest fires, Twitter intolerance, runaway deficits, migrant suffering, homelessness, and more. We are clearly not dealing with the advancing pace of change effectively.
I want to turn the page not just on the last decade, but on the last twenty years – an era that began for me on 9/11 – and strike a note for optimism. The decade of the 20’s needs to mark a turning point – a time when we collectively flip these challenges into opportunities, making progress across our local, state, and national communities. I want to watch the news and be inspired by innovative ideas, excited about new policies, and encouraged by our collective progress.
In an effort to live up to this proposition, I offer Five Words for the New Decade. These are not specific resolutions that lead to success or failure. Our challenges are deeper than that and the effort required will be greater. Rather, they are durable ideals that can focus our attitudes and energies to lead to positive outcomes in the medium to long-term.
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