I’ve always believed that to really understand an issue, you need to get as close to it as you possibly can. For more than twenty years, I’ve been working directly with thousands of business professionals the world over, many who are high-powered senior executives living life in the fast lane. During that time, I’ve come tête-à-tête with a man-made issue, one, which over time, leads to self-destruct, ruined relationships, poor health, and empty lives where people have no interests or fidelity to a worthy purpose. An issue that needs confronting. An issue that must be conquered. An issue that’s become both my personal vision and mission, and which I’ve spent most of my adult life trying to defeat.
Let me share with you just one tragic example of what this man-made issue can do.
Carsten Schloter, former CEO of Swisscom, the largest telecommunications company in Switzerland, died by committing suicide at his home on the 23rd of July 2013. He was only 49 years old. Following his death, I read some excerpts from candid interviews, which he made with Swiss media, in the months prior to his incredibly sad passing. Here are just some of those comments (translation from French to English):
“I dream of a world less selfish, less greedy for everything, immediately. To stop this “race” that mankind, and the planet cannot endure for much longer.”
“I dream of having the time, just a few hours for myself, without a work agenda, and to find the emotional intensity that one has when one is young or a child.”
“There comes a point where you feel as though you’re constantly running from one obligation to another. It’s suffocating. It makes you feel as if you are being strangled. Having less obligations and responsibilities wouldn’t be a bad thing.”
“Modern communications devices have their downside. The most dangerous thing is to fall into a mode of permanent activity and continuously consult one’s smartphone see whether any new mails have come in. Everyone should switch off their mobile phone from time to time.”
In one of his last interviews, Carsten Schloter described himself as a victim of modern communication, always on the go, and said it was all too easy to get lost in the stream of information. Carsten Schloter was regarded as a first-rate businessman, incredibly talented, and very well respected by all who knew him.
Regrettably, dying at such a young age for a man who had everything is undoubtedly incredibly sad, but unfortunately no longer uncommon in a world obsessed with greater speed, impatience, digital ‘convenience,’ consolidation of power, and robotic humanity! You may be thinking that Carsten Schloter is an extreme case. Sadly, he’s not. Many of us give the best of our energies – physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual – to our jobs, and our families get the leftovers. Benjamin Franklin was once quoted as saying; “Some people die at 25 and aren’t buried until 75!” Certainly, applicable to the vast majority of modern society.
If we are afraid of telling the truth because it may disturb other people, then we will never get to the root of our problems and resolve them. Speaking the clear-cut truth in the face of collective delusion is paramount.
Tragically, everyday people worldwide are committing “slow motion suicide” while trying to keep up with this fast-paced socially engineered life, which by the way, is a human creation. And that’s my point. Has anyone taken time to reflect upon the human cost of this high-tension, fast-paced life phenomenon? Can we earnestly regard the figures as progress? Or are we ignoring the fact that we have corrupted our own minds while pushing a self-destruct button!
I’m sure Carsten Schloter would want us all, as is my conviction, to not only understand, but learn a lesson of utmost importance from his own misfortune. The great motivational author, Napoleon Hill wrote, “Any adversity carries within it the seed of an even greater benefit.” So why don’t we turn this tragedy into a “wake-up call” and acknowledge the very powerful message that it reflects: our toxic “Faster is Better” work ethic and technocratic approach to life, which so many admire and emulate, is a bankrupt business model.
In essence, we are at a crucial juncture in human history. If we stay on this course and continue to promote this undisciplined addiction to greater speed, impatience, technological control, and giving priority to ‘convenience,’ artificial intelligence (robotic humanity), and material values then it will ravage our generation, our children’s, and all those to follow. Conversely, if we act now and rid ourselves of this “Faster, Further, More” technocracy, there is hope.
It’s your duty as a citizen to become a “difference maker.” To break free from cultural untruths imposed by characterless institutions that conform people to live in a state of powerlessness and entrapment. So, I ask you to please take a fresh, more humanized approach. Your life, and those of future generations, depends on it.
As you consider changing yourself and your environment, never ignore the fact that there are always two choices, two paths to take. One is easy. And its only real reward is that it’s easy. That said, should you decide to follow the crowd, you can expect to get lost in it!
Stay safe. Stay healthy. Serve others. And do what is right, not what is easy!