(The unofficial mascot)

2017 Wrap Up & Welcoming the Year of the Dog.

We saw Eric Hoffer’s theory on mass movement’s proven once again when Trump continued exercising his reign of tyranny from the Oval office(*Hoffer states that mass movements begin with a widespread “desire for change” from discontented people who place their locus of control outside their power and who also have no confidence in existing culture or traditions). Arguably representative of one big step backwards for mankind in 2016 when not only did the female candidate succumb to second place, but the type of man that speaks with confidence similar to those in power pre-women’s suffrage movement was voted in. We witnessed more back steps when he continued his personal vendetta on the environment, making mockery of climate change, ignoring evidence and science based facts.

We saw the equal parts good and bad influence that social media has on the world. With movements such as #Metoo, opening up a conversation that has long been discussed behind closed doors and simplifying opinions on the matter of sexual harassment down to a #hashtag.

We’ve seen technology progress at speeds in which we never could have imagined, and we’ve seen both fear and excitement come as a response to this lightening speed. We’ve seen technology that has dramatically improved healthcare, the environment and communities, and we’ve seen technology that has worked in the exact opposite way. We’ve seen the rise of the robot, or at least it’s progression in taking steps closer to “replicating” the human mind and capabilities. Enter Bitcoin, the latest hot topic with the potential to wipe out financial institutions as the first decentralized digital currency, without a central bank or single administrator. While promising great global impact, bitcoin has also managed to confuse many, leaving them longing for the simplified explanation of bitcoin and it’s cryptocurrency brothers.

“Eye of a hurricane, listen to yourself churn
World serves its own needs,
Don’t mis-serve your own needs
Speed it up a notch, speed, grunt, no, strength,
The ladder starts to clatter
With a fear of height, down, height
Wire in a fire, represent the seven games
And a government for hire and a combat site
Left her, wasn’t coming in a hurry
With the Furies breathing down your neck”-
it’s the end of the world as we know it, R.E.M. released 1987

From earthquakes, floods and hurricanes, 2017 was wrought with natural disaster, causing devastation and broken hearts across the globe. It’s simple to reference the horrific events that occur over the duration of the year, and not so simple to remember the root cause of what continues to move the human race together, because it’s not always simply quantified or measured. That metric, being human compassion, is often immeasurable and what keeps our human race unique, irreplaceable and proving that diversity, strength in numbers and community form the foundation of courage. Awarding the human being the first place ribbon at Darwin’s finish line, year after year.

While we can’t possibly control or influence every happening in the world, we can control our own individual actions and this may be the most powerful ability of all. Whether 2017 brought you great content, or left you feeling a little off-kilter, here are some suggestions to carry forward with you to a fruitful 2018 (did I mention that it’s the year of the dog?):

  • Surround yourself with smart people who share your vision, but also have different lens frames of which they use to view the world.
  • Invest in yourself.
  • Walk into every room respecting everyone as your equal, and invest in the time to learn about people’s stories (everybody’s got a story).
  • Always ask questions, you’ll never get ahead by feigning intelligence on all topics, and likely, you’ll learn even more by expressing interest.
  • Invest in the unknown, be vulnerable and get comfortable with the uncomfortable.
  • Make newcomers welcome, remembering that you were once in their shoes in one way or the other.
“We must never tolerate dehumanization — the primary instrument of violence that has been used in every genocide recorded throughout history.” ― Brené Brown
  • If you’re going to talk the talk, you better damn well know how to walk.
  • Don’t be afraid to change your mind (learned from a great mentor, Krista Ross).
  • Believe in the underdogs, the misfits and the change makers, and lean in close because they will change the world that you live in today.
  • Unplug and GTFOutside. And remember to treat the land as your equal.
  • Stop taking yourself so seriously.
  • ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Seriously.
  • Learn the value of knowing when to say “yes” and when to say “no”. Find your balance.
  • Cherish your relationships, and recognize who plays what role in your life.
  • Step outside of your geographic boundaries, if even with your mind. Embrace the beauty of diversity.
  • LISTEN, LISTEN, and then LISTEN some more.
  • Define success for yourself, and not the guy next door. Success and happiness are directly aligned, you get to define what this means.

It is through community and the people that live and breathe within that make up the foundation of which courage is built in an individual. It takes a village, Armstrong recognized this after his moonwalk, and so should you.

“In an interview years later, Armstrong praises the “hundreds of thousands” of people behind the project. “Every guy that’s setting up the tests, cranking the torque wrench, and so on, is saying, man or woman, ‘If anything goes wrong here, it’s not going to be my fault.’” (› Read 2001 Interview, 172 Kb PDF)

Act as the person you want the world to see and recognize that you may not be able to fight every battle, so start each day with good intention and follow through in building the world you want to live in. Go Do.

Erin Ann Flood