What shall we hope for in 2020 and the new decade? I feel sure that many of us will share similar positive outcomes of good health, world peace and more, if not the precise approaches of achieving them.
Right now I am wondering where all the self-help gurus have gone? The ones who told us to visualise a better future and act as if we had it? Deepak Chopra and his message of the universe being pure potentiality from which we could create matter from the ideas we formulate in our mind? Wayne Dyer who told us “you will see it when you believe it” or Anthony Robbins and his encouragement to “awaken the giant within”? I couldn’t have made the changes I did in my life in 1992 without their messages.
I feel we have lost some of their creative optimism and have just experienced a decade of too much negative focus. Don’t we need to get back on our horse of positive thinking and visualising? How else can we make positive changes in this world or in our own lives? Shaping the problem is helpful. But change cannot happen unless we develop ideas and solutions and imagine them happening.
So, with a new decade ahead, here are some of my own hopes for 2020 and beyond, perhaps to stir a few ideas of your own, whether you agree with them or not …
- I was never a great fan of John Bercow as I questioned his objectivity as a Speaker but I must say that I did find his Alternative Christmas Message echoed some of my own thoughts. That democracy needs to be valued and supported. That we need to be able to be friends with those who think differently to us. That many politicians are trying to do their best (and watching the Christine Keeler series demonstrates how sleazy they were in the 1960s). Either way, let’s not, in the next decade, feel we have to zip up if we disagree with someone. But let’s demand truth, honesty and ethical behaviour from our politicians and also politicians who have expertise and experience beyond being an MP.
- May Brexit go through with a pragmatic mutually-beneficial deal and may we forge new and strong alliances as friends and trading partners with Europe and the rest of the world through conversation, negotiation, and mutual respect.
- Wise world leaders – leaders who are intelligent, thoughtful and who seek the best for those they govern, maintaining peace, cooperation, stable economies, harmony and who spend time listening and shaping a future world that will benefit the majority.
- A revived and refreshed NHS where the investment is placed carefully into well-considered strategies that enable effective service, with staff who feel valued and fulfilled. Where those in senior positions recognise that systems need to be reviewed and revised to provide the services patients require in a changing world where younger staff are demanding flexibility. I suggest also that those who are trained in the NHS need to have a commitment to working within the service for a certain number of years – 5? – after being trained. And that the NHS becomes a learning organisation where the term ‘witchhunt’ becomes irrelevant.
- And on the subject of health, I pray for a breakthrough in the treatment of Type 1 diabetes to enable my beloved 8 year-old granddaughter to lead an easier life. And of course many other medical breakthroughs for cancer, Parkinson’s, MS, and other chronic or acute ailments that limit lives and quality of life.
- On that theme I hope for respectful and compassionate social care for all those who are needy or vulnerable, young and old. And for us oldies a care system of support in the home and in specialised homes that adapts to individual needs, perhaps with the assistance of AI. And, personally, I am all in favour of dignity in dying and would wish to decide the time of my own death without having to trot off to Switzerland.
- A demotion of the bureaucrats who seem to have ended up running our lives with their spreadsheets and tick-boxes. Yes, we need them but we don’t need them to lead every aspect of our lives. So often these people are young and think in administrative or politically correct ways, lacking creativity or strategic thinking. So often they have no real understanding of the context or running of the organisations they are regulating or assessing, and have never actually run a business or service – whether business, health, education, prison or police – themselves. They have therefore seldom had to be accountable in the way those they are assessing are responsible. Can we please put them in their rightful place as supporters of a service but not continue to allow them to be authoritarian dictators of how things should be run.
- Demote the voice of celebrities who express opinions on health or politics in order to attract brownie points to themselves rather than truly having the wellbeing of others in mind. If the young are relying on these people for their news and opinions then these influencers need to be accountable for getting their facts right and, when expressing opinions, make it clear that this is what they are doing and not describe those views as facts.
- Make everyone using the internet put their correct name rather than being able to hide behind some pseudonym like Mickey Mouse or Hercules from whence they can spout rubbish or be absolutely rude, bullying or horrible to others without being identified.
- A mature online society. It’s all so new and no-one imagined that the whole of society would be mirrored on the web, it’s darker aspects as well as higher aspirations. Who thought, when it was first considered, that the internet would be used to groom kids, sell drugs, radicalise ISIS followers, influence the young to watch porn at an ever earlier age? Let’s open our eyes to this and educate the young to know what to be aware of and what to avoid. The tech companies can do their bit but can’t be expected to police millions of uploads a day – it has to come back to individual responsibility and transparency.
- Teach everyone history – it’s a subject that has such bearing on the present and the future. Lessons within of patterns and repeats plus learning a discipline to read in depth, to analyse and think critically. How else do young people gain perspective on how good today is unless they realize that our yesterdays were often far worse?
- More young people reading newspapers. Apparently the numbers of young reading papers has reduced to 20%. I am afraid that strikes me as appalling. There’s so much you happen upon in a paper that you just don’t chance upon online. Plus comment and analysis by professional journalists who have expertise in their subjects, who you may or may not agree with. Of course it takes time to read a paper. So can we encourage them to slow down, read, reflect, think. Our future democracy depends on it.
- More talking, less screen-time. Developing empathy, courtesy and understanding of others and becoming mature enough to manage differences.
- Find solutions to Climate Change. I am all in favour of the young protesting but would personally prefer that they spend their Fridays at school rather than on the street. Make Fridays a laboratory day for STEM subjects and get them working on solutions. Please. And let’s envisage both corporate and government action plus also major changes of habits on an individual daily basis that maintains our environment.
- Abolish the concept and practice of fast fashion. Create materials that last and that can also be recycled easily. The young can’t blame us Baby Boomers for ruining the environment (which we certainly never meant to do) if they continue to do so themselves. Celebrities can model this by wearing the same clothes more often.
- Better rehabilitation procedures for the mentally sick, prisoners, the homeless, drug addicts, alcoholics. They all need, as we all do, to be given lifeskills to manage money, rent, interviews, work, as well as the specific therapies to move out of situations where they feel powerless.
- Debating LGBTQ issues in a calm and deliberate way so that all those involved in such decisions can have a chance to be heard. Making sure the rights that they obviously deserve do not infringe on the rights of others – whether in sport, prison or changing rooms. And ensuring young children are not persuaded into major chemical or surgical changes until they fully understand the consequences of what this might mean to their lives and relationships.
- Harsh punishments for organised crime gangs and their leaders whether in the field of drugs, migration, sex traffic, burglary, etc. We don’t want to end up like South America or the Mafia where the crime gangs run a parallel policing system of fear and brutality. Let’s get on it fast and recognise that there are criminals who bring a different type of crime into our country and that we have been naïve about this, to the detriment of many victims living here.
- But let’s move on from victimhood, misery memoir, the seeking of offence. Let’s encourage those who are quick to blame others to build resilience, to recognise that being offended is part of life, to have bad things happen to us is part of life, to be anxious and somewhat depressed as teenagers is actually a very natural and normal phenomenon, to worry about exams likewise. Let’s not over-pathologise these states. Share the stories, of course, but can we move away from gaining street cred for trying to be worse off than someone else? Keep hope in the equation. Self-esteem can be gained by working through challenges and creating a good-enough life for oneself. Help those who really need helping and encourage others to work through their fears and build resilience.
- Finally let’s all envisage a healthy and cooperative world, a more harmonious UK, the possibility that we can create success out of uncertainty. We are a nation of enterprise and innovation so let’s value that.
There’s so much more – reducing poverty, creating opportunity. What might you seek to create in your own life? What might you like to see or achieve in your life for yourself, your family, friends, clients or colleagues by the end of the year? Or by the end of the decade? If we don’t take time to imagine it we can’t create it.
Think about the inventions of science, medicine, design, music – they all came from an inspiration of someone’s thought or idea. It was all there in the potential of the universe, ready to be created once someone thought about it. We can do the same today, a collective optimistic and positive picture of our future.
I send you a heartfelt wish that we can, between us all, create a happy new year and new decade.