January 2008 - Forecast for the new year
Themes and Trends for 2008
2007 was a year that seemed to fly away before our eyes. No matter what we did or how much we tried, we could not keep up with expectations, workload, e-mail, family demands, and the dizzying amount of technology we saw in the news. Then, at the end of the year, we hit a lull, a soft spot, a time when people just wanted to "chill out" and be with people they cared about. The commercialization of the holiday season (at least in the US) was lost on many people as they pulled back. Perhaps, they were caught in some of the disasters and focused their attention on recovering or helping others recover. Perhaps, they had a family situation that required their attention. Or, a personal health issue. Commercial sales were down this holiday season leading to dire predictions of looming recession. With the political season ramping up quickly in early January, many people simply didn't care as their attention was focused else.
2008 will be a very interesting year. As each year builds on the lessons learned from past years, we expect to see people trusting themselves more and learning to speak out more from their own feelings and beliefs, and less from what they may have learned from others. We expect to see more people exercising their own personal power and feeling more like their own best authority for their own lives.
In November 2007, our newsletter was about True Community. This is an area that will continue to draw people's attention as they find they really do want and need to connect in a deep way with other people. Their community may be a family connection, neighborhood connection, work-related or business-related connection, or interest-based connection. Whatever it is, people will feel stronger and healthier when they feel the support of others. It's no surprise that the desire for community has led to the explosion of online services such as MySpace, Facebook, ning and many others as people find ways to keep a connection with others alive at all times.
Recent natural disasters - too many to itemize here - have also emphasized how much we need each other. Smaller "disasters" tend to bring people together also - the loss of a friend or family member to an accident, sudden illness or even long-lasting illness. All of these point out the fragility of our physical existence and help us to appreciate the need for other people to help us cope.
It has been proven over and over: We can be happy, healthy, warm and dry one minute and in a flash, be caught in a situation that we cannot control. Such situations test our faith in all what we know to be true. We tend to place a great deal of faith in what we have physically (our home, our property, our bank account, our job, our family, our friends, our personal situation) and when that is ripped away from us suddenly, it is very hard to feel safe and secure. So, Security continues to be an issue as unpredictable weather patterns and other unknown, larger forces take a greater amount of our attention and leave us feeling more vulnerable. Global warming used to be a strange idea held by a few people. Now, many mainstream scientists tell us that the Earth is warming up even faster than their most dire earlier predictions. "What will we do and how will we survive?" is a question that comes to mind.
Ultimately, the only real power we have comes from our ability to control our own mind. We certainly cannot control weather, we cannot control other people's actions and we cannot control corporations or governments, no matter how much we wish that was true. If our mind is clear and we can trust our own judgment, we become our own authority and can make decisions based on our own needs and intentions, rather than someone else's needs. Ultimately, that may be the only real Security left to us.
Over the past few years, we've studied, debated and considered the issues of Freedom and Security. This area of interest continues again this year as the United States looks forward to a major presidential election season that kicked into high gear in 2007. The candidates of all parties offer us a wide variety of viewpoints from which to choose. The early primaries in 2008 will give some indication of which direction the general population wants to go with the next president and their administration. It is impossible to predict the results. We do expect to see heightened interest and lots of debate about the options. We have already seen history being made in the gender and racial diversity of candidates. This is a natural evolution of the diversity of our population and brings even more unpredictability into play.
With so many choices offered to us - from presidential candidates, to commercial products, to religious beliefs, to weather conditions, to whatever you can think of - it is growing even more important for people to learn to trust their own counsel, feel good about their own beliefs and choices, and move their lives forward based on trust their own judgment. If we can't trust our own judgment, who do we follow with so many choices?
As in years past, we continue to see a growing interest in spiritual subjects and an ever widening range of possible methods for people to find a community of like-minded people. Some spiritual ideas are moving into the mainstream, with best-selling books like The Secret. This book is an ancient idea repackaged to meet the needs of modern times and brilliantly marketed. We see this movement as a good thing that helps to strengthen people's ability to trust their own guidance, intuition or beliefs. That doesn't mean that we all agree on what is best or what is right. As our daily world shows, there is incredible variety of opinions and belief. That diversity is what makes such a rich and fertile human experience. At some point, we hope that we can recognize diversity as a good thing and learn more from each other and see less of ideas such as, "I'm right and therefore, you are wrong." Maybe, we will someday learn that we are all just fine as we are.
Past themes continue as our world restructures to fit the needs of today, not of yesterday.
The health care industry must find a way to deal with the reality of demographic changes from an aging population. This is a relentless march toward an unknown situation with many ideas and still great opportunities and challenges yet to be faced. The demographic changes affect every area of our society in ways that most of us still do not yet comprehend. Five or 10 years from now we will have a better grasp of what may be possible.
One trend we are seeing is that more and more people are taking responsibility for their own health. Examples are the use of more meditation (instead of medication), stress reduction techniques, increasing interest in exercise and nutrition, and interest in healthier (drug-free) healing practices of all kinds.
More people are realizing that their mind, their emotions, their body and their spirit all work together to keep them healthy. If all are in balance, then the person is healthier. More and more businesses are recognizing that having healthy employees is beneficial to their bottom line profitability and encouraging workers to stay healthy. Many provide support through a wide variety of wellness programs including company gyms, annual check-ups, walking paths, ergonomic adjustments of office space and computers, credits on healthcare premiums for healthy behavior, information, workshops, etc.
The finance and mortgage industry is facing major challenges that places stresses on other industries. We expect to see continued restructuring of our large organizations and institutions. Some of these may seem like gradual evolutions and some may be sudden.
There are still many business organizations not operating on integrity or fair treatment of people. At some point, people will recognize what is wrong, step up and try to fix the problems, or abandon the effort, which could produce some interesting events this year. One prime example is the issue of "bullying," which we have written about in the past. More and more people are coming to realize that fair treatment of people in the workplace leads to profitability and poor treatment of people leads to unhealthy working situations, which ultimately affects productivity (and therefore, profitability) in a negative way. We expect to see more interest in awareness, training and legislation around this subject. It's time, and probably long over due in many workplaces.
In the United States, we are teetering on the edge of a recession. Whether we choose to go to recession or not, is unpredictable at this time. Collectively, we can each play a part by managing our financial affairs in a responsible way, learning to share what we have with those who are temporarily in need and being responsible in our use of scarce resources. Small actions such as these are the grains of sand that will eventually provide a new foundation for a stronger economic system than we have today.
The entertainment industry continues to provide us with interesting ways of expressing our fantasies with Harry Potter, The Golden Compass, National Treasure, I AM Legend, The Water Horse and Enchanted currently in stores and theaters. Even the much older Star Wars and Star Trek series continue to recruit younger generations as fans of these classic tales of heroes in different forms. There is almost no limit to the creativity of the human mind when it is inspired.
The technology industry continues to explode with an incredible variety of ways we can make our lives better. We can now have our e-mail, Internet service, personal assistant, calendar, watch, alarm clock and GPS (global position system) all contained within a device smaller than the size of a deck of cards. The introduction of the Wii technology also provides a way for families and/or friends (small communities) to interact with technology in a group, not just each person having their own individual device. It's no wonder the Wii has become such a hit.
Learning to cope with the vast changes in our world, our individual lives and the pace of everything around us requires a strong sense of self, a trust in our own ability to cope, constant flexibility to the unknown that is presented to us and an ability to laugh no matter what happens. Fast changes can lead to resistance from people who are afraid or feel unprepared. We can help ourselves be more adaptable by realizing that everything physical is temporary and learning flexibility so that it becomes a habit and a conscious choice.
"Resistance is futile" as the Borg says in Star Trek. The future is pulling us relentlessly forward, whether we are ready or not. Remembering this cute line can help us when it seems that life is giving us more than we can handle. If we have already learned flexibility as a habit, we will be able to more easily cope with sudden changes the next time they show up. "There is nothing as constant as change," a wise person once said. Often, the loss of something we thought was important really opens up the opportunity for something even better: "When one door closes, another opens."
For 2008, we wish you a year of personal empowerment, joyous community connection, personal and professional abundance, and deep trust and faith in whatever you believe is right for you.
May you dance lightly on the Earth and may you feel the wings of angels surround you with their joyous song as your life unfolds before you.
Here’s an exercise that you might try:
This forecast represents our views and opinions. Please, don’t just take our word (or anyone else’s) for what will or will not happen. Use whatever methods work for you in planning for the future. Wise people will use all the forecasts they can find, then see what feels right for them rather than letting any one dictate their activities.
No guarantees about the future are implied or given - use our views as you would anyone’s opinions.
Last year’s forecast: January, 2007
When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us. .. Alexander Graham Bell
If you can dream it, you can do it! Walt DisneyStrength is irrelevant. Resistance is futile. We wish to improve ourselves. We will add your biological and technological distinctiveness to our own. Your culture will adapt to service ours. .. The Borg, Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Best of Both Worlds" (1990)
There is nothing as constant as change: related quotes http://blogs.technet.com/cdnitmanagers/archive/2006/05/15/428298.aspx
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About our resource links: We do not endorse or agree with all the beliefs in these links. We do keep an open mind about different viewpoints and respect the ability of our readers to decide for themselves what is useful.
Page updated: June 05, 2009
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