Economists and the media tell us we have just come back from the precipice of the "fiscal cliff." I posit that we are on the verge of an even more serious crisis, "The Emotional Ledge," a result of allowing ourselves to believe everything we see, hear, feel and think. This impairs our ability to self-regulate and undermines our emotional and physical safety, well-being, sense of self and happiness.
Like other dystopian authors, Aldous Huxley held a pretty bleak view of society. In A Brave New World, his future looks something like this: We live to consume. We're brainwashed by advertisements and institutions that make us feel as though we're free, even as they wipe out any originality and creativity in us. We lack meaningful relationships. We live in a society where art and religion are four-letter words, but where science reigns supreme. Science controls how we live, when we die, and what we look like; we're all born in labs, adjusted to be exactly how society wants us to be.
Some aspects of this dreary dystopia seem farfetched (after all, we're not all born in laboratories, and most of us still value deep connections with our fellow humans). But there's also some fitting forecasting at play here: Our society is becoming more preoccupied with consumption, and technology has begun to rule many of our lives. And advertising and media do play a strong role in how we humans think about the world, which can threaten our originality -- if we let it.
Huxley's view of the future doesn't have to be our future. Yes, the world is imperfect. There are a lot of negative forces at play. But with the right attitude and approach to life, we can avoid making Huxley's terrifying vision of society our reality. It's time to embrace the United States of Amazing.
What is the United States of Amazing? This is no saccharin-sweet view on life, and it's not a Pollyanna perspective. It's the art of swallowing the bitter pills that come from life's disappointments and choosing happiness as a vitamin regime. So, with 2013 right around the corner, I urge you to explore this brave new world with these Emotionally Intelligent tools in your arsenal: