Happy New Year to all of you and I hope you have enjoyed a restful, joyous holiday season. I start 2019 grateful for your support of ASMP and eager to continue to move forward together.
The New Year’s period has always been for me a time for reflection and the setting of new compass points to guide my life journey. As 2018 makes way for this new year, I have been thinking about the impact of technology on our lives and the paradoxical nature of what the digital revolution has wrought in the past two decades.
On one level, we have this amazing capacity for reaching out and being in continual contact with anyone we choose anywhere on the planet. But on another level, this same technology and the platforms which it drives, are producing an ever more frenzied world. In it, there seems ever-greater pressure to do more with less. That, in turn, seems to be suggesting that a zero-sum winner-take-all world is the ultimate reality, and that our only value lies in being an ever more efficient producer and consumer simultaneously.
I would suggest that we put those thoughts and the actions they produce on pause to consider that maybe the world really needs a different reality to emerge. A reality that can come about when our thoughts, actions, and vision are the elements bringing true connection. Maybe we all need to be pausing to consider whether the work opportunities and demands of others are actually enabling us to make the kind of contributions the world needs.
All artists understand the work they produce when carried out in the right spirit can change how others understand and see the world. That is an awesome gift and challenge at the same time. To work effectively, we need to be “in the moment” blocking out distractions and stray thoughts that dilute our focus. We know this, but it can be hard to do when every cultural message and economic imperative is saying something different.
Yet, we need to be consciously present to always understand fully whether our choices are enabling the kind of contributions and careers we want to have.
I think pausing to ask the crucial existential questions on a daily basis while being rooted in a community are keys to a successful 2019. For me, success will rest in being able to take an extra beat in each moment to consider not just “what” that I am doing but also looking at the “why,” and the “how” to assess their alignments. Are they being connected productively to something larger for the world’s benefit?
Finally, I am also going to try to live up to the “three gates” test before speaking and acting this year as a primary new year’s resolution. I want each of my actions and communications to pass through these gates:
1) Is it true?
2) Is it kind?
3) Is it necessary?
I hope this is a test we can all pass this year to strengthen our community.
I hope you all have an excellent 2019 in which you realize your most cherished dreams.
Thomas R. Kennedy
ASMP Executive Director