After the euphoria of the Olympics people in the UK seem to be returning to the doom-and-gloom of diminished expectations and lowered hopes, if barometers of consumer expectations such as indices of confidence are to go by. Intially, after the 2008-9 slump people carried on spending to a degree in the hope of a recovery but 4 years on and it seems people are becoming resigned to things staying the same. So what might this be telling us of our levels of hope faith and trust in possibility, and how much does this economic climate translate into how we think about possibilities for our lives in general at present?
If we’re feeling pessimistic, we’re less likely to take risks, and less likely to think things will work out well. People behave cautiously, “saving for a rainy day” as we say in the UK, not altogther without reason in the current climate – pardon the pun! When we set ourselves lower horizons we’re less likely to stretch ourselves and go for something beyond our current perceived limitations. “Be realistic”, people say.
In the 1930’s depression, people learned to hang on to their jobs and to save, very much as at present. It induced a caution and a spirit of endurance, “make do and mend”, that fed on into the 2nd World War and enduring the blitz and rationing. This in turn affected the mentality of a whole generation at least. Now we have an economic crisis every bit as severe and although we now have a welfare state, it seems that lower to middle level incomes will stagnate for a long time to come, and the social gap in society that had developed in the “noughties” will grow. Like the 1930’s economists are fiercely debating what is needed to restore growth.
Stagnation in economic life has a powerful influence on our sense of wellbeing. The self aware might ask themselves if that is true for them too and whether being pulled into this collective mind-set is serving them. In other words, there is a challenge here to rise above the doom-and-gloom and despite the apparent evidence, to take faith in what is possible.
Thus it is time to being going within and exploring and rooting out our own inner fears and doubts, and connect with our own faith in who we are and what we are about, and affirming our own personal vision. Then we can better take the initiative and lead others, rather than colluding with limited thinking. This is what faith is in part about, believing and acting despite apparent evidence to the contrary, pushing through the illusion of lack. The first step on this path comes with us ourselves.