TRIGGER WARNING: THIS POST CONTAINS CONTENT WHICH MAY BE DISTRESSING. This week someone I know killed themselves. I didn't know them well and I had no idea they were struggling with mental illness, so I am really quite shaken by it. Looking back, it explains some of their behaviour, but I didn't put one and two together. I hope I'll learn to recognise it in the future.
In a rather unusual text conversation, a friend and I were discussing suicide. I know, not a conversation you'd expect to have by text but hey, the upside is, I've got a record of it to paste into this post.
Helen Razer writes of her sense of hopelessness about the future over on The Daily Review citing, as causal examples, things like "the Global Citizens Festival, which attracted very positive international press, Sexy Celebs and a sell-out crowd of 60,000 ... an event that seeks to, and succeeds in, engaging young persons..." but which supports naïve UN Sustainability Goals — and the World Bank, which creates the poverty that the GCF purports to condemn.
Razer exemplifies nude selfie victim Jennifer Lawrence as another reason to lose hope, after the actress implied that pay inequity was a result of women not being tough enough with their bosses. Helen rightly points out that, without "J-Law's" privilege, toughing out their bosses would leave most women fired.
I share Helen's hopelessness for the future of humanity — a hopelessness without which, she muses, there can be no hope. Though a lot of my work involves promoting ways we can more constructively engage with one another, my reflection is that I feel a further burden: a wry sense of helplessness to impact on the world in any meaningful way.
Lesley Slade, with whom I have the absolute pleasure of leading Be. Leadership (and even more fun prepping and debriefing), used to be the CEO of Leadership New Zealand. She wrote the following article in LNZ's July 2008 magazine, "Leaders".
I think it still has tremendous relevance four years later, perhaps more so, and she has kindly allowed me to reproduce it.
Throughout the course of the last three and a half years there have been several consistent messages from leaders who have shared their thinking, leadership experience and their stories with programme participants on the LNZ leadership programme. One recurring message that I have thought about a great deal is that New Zealanders are innovative and creative people but do not have a shared vision for the future. Just recently David Skilling, outgoing CEO of the New Zealand Institute, was quoted in the NZ Herald as saying, "My view increasingly over the last several years is that the real challenge facing New Zealand is that we don’t know what we want as a country."