OK, well I said I was going to stop commenting on the election, but this is about broadening my/our collective perspectives on how others view this phenomenon. And since many have compared the recent Brexit situation in the UK with Mr. Trump becoming the American President-Elect, I thought it would help to share this author’s perspectives. I have another HBR article I may share tomorrow as well, which somewhat serves to complement what you’ll read below.
The author of the below blogpost is Richard Barrett who is Founder and Chairman of the Barrett Values Centre based out of the UK. I attended a webinar he conducted a few weeks ago and was immensely impressed with his research and ideas on human development. And, yes, I know the UK would likely be considered Social Capitalists so this article won’t come as a total surprise. Here are his thoughts in a recent blog post:
Dealing With the Shock of the Brexit & Trump Votes
On the 24th June and the 9th November 2016, approximately half the population of the UK and half the population of USA awoke to the shocking and painful news that their current lifestyle was under threat and their future needs might not be met.
Meanwhile, the other half of the population of the UK and the USA awoke to the joyful and hopeful news that their current lifestyle might improve and their future needs might be met.
The same event in each country triggered fear in one group and hope in another group.
The fear of the first group is that they will not be able to meet their aspirations. The hope of the second group is that they will be able to meet their aspirations. Why this difference? The answer is simple—inequality.
One group was presented with opportunities to evolve and grow so they could take care of their survival, safety and security needs, and the other group, mostly for reasons beyond their control, never got those opportunities. They got left behind. Their life is a daily struggle for survival, safety and security .
The system was stacked against the group that got left behind because those who were able to evolve and grow became the political elites who controlled the policies that enabled them to further enhance their own survival, safety and security. Now, those who benefited from this situation, and took their opportunities, are in shock.
There are three possible reasons for this shock, all of which have to do with fear:
They are afraid that they will no longer be able to manage their current survival, safety and security needs;
They are afraid that they will no longer be able to manage their future survival, safety and security needs;
They cannot make meaning of what happened and have defaulted to their greatest fear. Whenever we cannot make meaning, we always assume the worst. This inbuilt survival mechanism lies at the root of all traumas.
If you are experiencing any of these fears, here is what you can do.
First, try to see the bigger picture; this will help you to understand what happened. If you cannot understand what happened, then you will not be able to give meaning to the situation, and you will live in your greatest fear.
Second, recognize that this is a transformational moment: an opportunity for you to move beyond “us and them.” The truth is we cannot move forward unless we all move forward together. We must shift our attitude from “What’s in it for me” to “What’s best for the common good.” We must individually and collectively embrace those who got left behind and help them to meet their survival, safety and security needs. Only then, will we all be able to move forward/
We either move forward together, or we don’t move forward at all.
Third, understand that the world is in turmoil because billions of people on the planet are not able to meet their survival, safety and security needs. We will never find the peace and stability we are all yearning for by focusing on our own needs. We will only find peace when we can embrace empathy and compassion for those who are less well off than ourselves and by doing whatever we can to contribute to the good of the whole.
If you are living in fear, you are part of the problem. When you move beyond fear, you become part of the solution.
For further reading:
Love, Fear and the Destiny of Nations
A New Psychology of Human Well-Being
Chairman and Founder at Barrett Values Centre