As Henry David Thoreau said, “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.”  If Thoreau were experiencing life at work today and over the next decade as we make our way towards 2025, I suspect he’d agree with me, that the mass of men, and women, are not so quiet in their desperation!

How do I know people are desperate?  Because people who are not desperate surely behave better than how a great many men and women are behaving these days.  I have to believe there’s a good reason for what seems to be widespread habitual disregard for others, and for property, and for resources.  Of course, I realize everyone is entitled to forget his/her manners from time to time or to have a bad day every now and then.  It’s forgivable that sometimes we crack under pressure, have an occasional outburst, or use poor judgment.  These are things I can understand.  I can also understand that some people are just plain mean, and that a few others are wholly incapable of kindness.

What I can’t understand is how people just seem to think there is only one way to act to succeed and achieve.  This simply is not true and it has never been true.  Thoreau came up with a solution; namely, to “get off the grid.”  But if all of us got off, we would all be off and would have to find a way to get along anyway.

So why not try now?  One of the problems is that some of us never learned the importance of civility.  For others, it may be that we are a bit lazy, saying something Thoreau would not have said, that if we can’t beat ‘em, may as well join ‘em.


Excerpt from The 30% Solution by Lew Bayer, Motivational Press 2016.