What happens when people feel unprepared for the conditions of their life?
Suicidal thoughts are swirling all around. So close, it hurts.
Yesterday, I found myself in four separate conversations, concerning the struggles of three different people who are in my world. Some teens, some adults.
These aren’t the first conversations I have had. In fact it is feeling more common.
Perhaps it is worse where I am.
Seattle’s beauty comes at the heavy price of seeming endless grey skies and spring is always the breaking point where people are begging for a glimpse of sun.
Our fast moving tech culture delivers wealth beyond dreams, however, the correlating stress to always produce more and be better than your peer fractures the soul that longs for connection over competition and joy over wealth, but is pulled a part in the attempt to get both.
Add in the stress we all feel in a COVID laced world, learning of the atrocities of war, feeling the pinch of financial instability, and worried about the irrevocable environmental damage and elimination of common jobs on the horizon, and it seems you have the perfect cocktail to poison the mental health of anyone, let alone a teen or adult facing other life challenges.
The creation of this perfect human poison has been anticipated for decades and is known in futurist and executive circles as VUCA, standing for:
V — Volatility
U — Uncertainty
C — Complexity
A — Ambiguity
“The human brain simply isn’t built to handle all of this complexity and uncertainty,” said one of my clients.
I understand why they felt that way. It’s what so many people are feeling, but may not be able to put words to.
It’s this belief — that we can not handle all that is happening and that there is no hope of better — that slides people into suicidal thinking.
Humanity is on a trajectory that isn’t pretty.
Thinking that we can address our current challenges thinking in the same way we have always thought, believing what we have been taught to believe — will lead to more of the same.
THE TRUTH IS — OUR BRAIN IS BUILT TO HANDLE ALL OF THIS.
HOWEVER, our brain has been CONDITIONED / PROGRAMMED in a way that incapacitates it’s ability to handle VUCA.
To thrive in a VUCA world, specific human capabilities need to be nurtured and developed. And they are not related to the ability to project manage or use technology or sell or get good grades or take a test or produce more stuff.
Think about it.
When you are faced with disruption, trauma, big problems in your life, what do YOU do? Do you turn to your phone for an app? or do you turn to your phone to call someone and sometimes feel like there isn’t anyone you can talk to?
Please STOP — give yourself the space to SEE what is happening.
Please DROP — what you think you know.
Please ROLL — with curiosity and look beyond the next ‘to do’.
Give yourself the space to wonder why people are struggling — beyond the simple answers.
Give your team the space and time to talk about what is happening.