One moment in time: The last few weeks have proved indisputably – nothing lasts forever…
…Such were the words of the villainous Francis Urquhart in the original 1990 TV series House of Cards, as he stared at a picture of Margaret Thatcher, mulling over her demise. I felt when I first watched it – and still do – that no truer words were spoken. For example, this might be my last column I compose, should I fall foul of Pf’s illustrious editor or, heaven-forbid, turn in some lacklustre copy.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few months, you will no doubt be aware of the tumultuous state of the British political system: a divisive referendum, a shock result, the resignation of the Prime Minister, a split Labour Party and a new Premier. It’s enough to make your head spin. All the while, the media has been whipping up a storm – conjuring a cocktail of grim uncertainty, darkness and pessimism. No wonder we’re all worried about the future.
I think it’s time to call for some sanity. A pragmatic and considered look at the current playing field – socially, economically and personally. We all seem to rush around, panicking about those things in the distance we have no control over. It’s time to take a step back.
In previous editions of this column, I have discussed the virtues in occasionally switching off from the daily grind and I think now it’s time that we took another collective ‘chill pill’ and accepted that situations always change, and all things, both professional and personal, are finite.
Professionally, trying to predict the future – unless you happen to be an economist, pollster or tarot card reader – is a highly counter-productive pastime. Just looking at the papers on a daily basis shows how impossible it is to predict what’s going to occur next. It’s quite amazing how many people beat themselves up about things that haven’t even happened, and without any idea of the outcome.
Anxiety, the buzzword of the psychological moment, is a very destructive force and to my mind it stifles productivity, clouding your outlook. As I write, I sound rather hypocritical as I am a terrible worrier – always wondering how an action will pan out, what will happen if I don’t do something/if I do do something. It’s jolly tiring.
The other day, drowning in deadlines and fretting about upcoming update meetings, I read a rather strange blog entitled Embrace the Chaos, which offered an interesting take on the whole thing. One point, which resonated, and haunted me, was ‘you’re missing the best time of your life’.
He hit the nail on the head. I’m lucky to have a comfortable lifestyle, great pals, a wonderful girlfriend, stimulating work and a fun office – and I was losing it over a couple of thousand words and a presentation. I knew I needed to get a grip, otherwise life would pass me by and I would be too concerned with the fog of the future to enjoy it.
Dear David, love Henry
I’m very sure former Prime Minister, David Cameron, did not foresee his very rapid demise from the top of the political mountain. It all happened with such disorientating speed and many of us would have been forgiven for screaming into a pillow or reaching for the bottle. I admired, however, his cool, calm composure throughout the process. He was completely unfazed.
This was an almost blissful acceptance of events – going with the flow and letting things follow a natural course, as opposed to fighting them or attempting to change events before they happened. It struck me to the core.
When he left Downing Street – unlike his predecessors – Cameron looked like a man at ease with his record, enjoying himself and looking forward to what the future had to offer, as opposed to worrying about what it might hold. We could all learn something from his approach.
While nothing lasts forever and tomorrow is uncertain, we all need to live more in the moment.
Henry Rubinstein is planning manager at Triggerfish Communications. Go to triggerfish.co.uk