Good Morning America, your King of Simple News is on the air.
I find myself in an embarrassing predicament; I’m at odds with the richest man in the world. Warren Buffet believes that the economy will not only get better, but future Americans will live at much higher living standards than those of us hanging around the planet today.
I like Warren Buffet and I respect him for his modest lifestyle, so I hope he won’t take it personal that I can’t agree with his rosy outlook. After all, I’m sure he reads the King of Simple News every morning. Ha-ha.
David Walker, the former chief comptroller general of the U.S. doesn’t agree with Warren either, so that makes me feel a little better. Mr. Buffet didn’t talk about resources, population, energy, or world commerce. He said that we will continue to experience growth. Mr. Buffet believes that growth is good and perhaps if I earned billions of dollars on the single premise of growth, I would say the same. Actually, no I wouldn’t.
It’s not that I believe that your lives can’t get better, I’m positive that they can. What I don’t believe, is that government is suddenly going to get their act together and create that improvement. And certainly that illusive improvement will not be based on growth, in fact, very much the opposite.
I often talk about paradigms (pronounced “para-dimes”), the meaning of which is, “A set of assumptions, concepts, values, and practices that constitutes a way of viewing reality for the community that shares them, especially in an intellectual discipline.”
I also talk about “paradigm shifts,” which means to shift the very way that we view our current set of paradigms. Let me give you an example of monumental past shifts.
Our world before 1900 (a scant 108 years ago) was based primarily on the horse culture. Everything in life revolved around the horse for power and transport. When the gasoline and steam engines became commercially available, many people scoffed at the idea that these machines could replace the horse. Yet, this “paradigm shift” from the horse to the machine changed the entire world and all the paradigms or assumptions of the past were changed forever.
In 1752, a man returned home from 7-11 one night after picking up some whale oil for his lamp and said to his wife, “You won’t believe what that nut job neighbor Ben is doing. He’s out there in the rain flying a kite.”
Electricity eventually changed all the paradigms. It changed the assumptions, concepts, values and practices of the former beliefs.
Paradigm shifts are also referred to as “thinking outside the box.” In other words, questioning convention. I suggest that doing so at this point and time can change your life in a very positive manner. We can’t change the world, but we can change the way we live in it.
The shift that I suggest is only two fold. “Bigger and more are not always better, and two, growth is not always good.” We live eat and breathe these two basic tenets and they are slowing choking us to death.
We live under the paradigm that those with the most money, the largest homes, and the most personal possessions are the winners. I suggest a paradigm shift to, “Those with the least debt, the most free time, and who are satisfied with the simple things in life are the winners.” Economic recovery for an individual may well require only a shift in thinking.
I also suggest that such a paradigm shift is coming; ready or not. While many will see this as a step down from the consumptive nature of our past borrow and spend economy, I see it as an opportunity to live the real American Dream, not the dream that was created for us by those who benefit from having us work until we drop in our tracks. Or those who suggest that we work until we are 70 or 75 to save Social Security.
America is the greatest place on earth. You are free to shift your paradigms and that may very well shift your entire attitude from one of despair to one of pure wonder. You’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner.