My heart is so full as I contemplate the results of last Tuesday’s election. Never before have I experienced such joy related to politics. And never before have I felt so clearly the responsibility to stay awake and do my part.
Back in the 60s and early 70s I experienced political highs and lows that were, in retrospect, almost indistinguishable from the hormonal tumult of adolescence. Even then I was aware that leaders of “the Movement” were all too often stoned on their own importance, drunk on self-righteousness.
I responded by pulling back, watching the political, social, and economic landscape through jaded lenses. I declined to cry that the sky was falling, even as I suspected that it was. Why act when the available alternatives seemed to be equally corrosive?
But my heart has cracked open with this election. I hope it stays that way. And I know that it will only remain open and vulnerable to the extent that I drop my pose of intellectual distance.
There is work to be done, folks. And from where I sit, Accidental Entrepreneurs can play a huge role in the evolution of our government and our marketplace. But only if we will do two things.
First, we have to drop every vestige of victimization and superiority. Yes, this is one and the same for many of us. I know that I have often been complicit in keeping myself from thriving because I was too good to risk getting my hands dirty in the marketplace.
Second, we must fully embrace the task of living happy lives.
In her Open Letter to Barack Obama , Alice Walker writes.
I would advise you to remember that you did not create the disaster that the world is experiencing, and you alone are not responsible for bringing the world back to balance. A primary responsibility that you do have, however, is to cultivate happiness in your own life.
Are we willing to source happiness in our own lives even as we take up the challenge of creating thriving careers working for ourselves? Are we humble enough to be caught smiling over the phenomenal joy of being alive – a joy that is available to us always? Or will we wear struggle as a badge of honor, turning our back on happiness for the sake of some sort of twisted creative martyrdom?
I’m not claiming that the task of working for ourselves is easy. And I don’t suggest that there are not hard days ahead. Here again, Walker speaks for me:
One way of thinking about all this is: It is so bad now that there is no excuse not to relax. From your happy, relaxed state, you can model real success, which is all that so many people in the world really want. They may buy endless cars and houses and furs and gobble up all the attention and space they can manage, or barely manage, but this is because it is not yet clear to them that success is truly an inside job. That it is within the reach of almost everyone.