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The Tensions that Will Define America’s Future

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Agreeing to participate in Robert Tucker’s Pacific Coast Futures Retreat in Santa Barbara has challenged me to explore some of the trends and forces that will influence America’s future. The most impactful forces that define periods in history are often not linear. They are cyclical, a tension of forces that force movement between two extremes. Defining such tensions and where we are on them can open us to opportunity and possibly save us from disasters of our own making. Here are ten tensions in play at this time in history:

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Energy Scarcity or Energy Abundance: Affordable energy is needed for economies to prosper and citizens to reach their own potential. With the current administration’s rejection of fossil fuels and promotion of specific alternative energies, energy scarcity with its inflationary pressure is winning the day. Within the next ten years, increased use of nuclear energy, less restrictions on fossil fuels, and developments in fusion energy will help reestablish energy abundance.

Embracing Technological Innovation or Rejection of Technology: Rapid technological innovation and artificial intelligence (AI) have increased our dependence on devices to perform daily activities. This trend will increase with those rejecting such advances falling behind and limiting their employment opportunities. Today, embracing innovation is winning the future, but there are dangers on the horizon. Will the AI innovations we create eventually create machine cognition that becomes hard to control increasing resistance?.

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Human Relationships or Virtual Reality: You don’t have to look far to see the preoccupation with smart phone interaction in place of actual social conversations. Expect that metaverse advances in the use and quality of virtual reality (VR) interaction and augmented reality (AR) headsets will become more intense and attractive. True relationships take time, can be frustrating, and are seldom as consistently satisfying. Sadly, pornography will likely be leading the way in driving the expansion of virtual reality. This powerful force will strike a blow at our social fabric and cohesion.

Government Dependence or Personal Responsibility: Biden’s administration has argued for guaranteed income and established more government entitlements. With a small Republican majority in the House and Biden’s veto power, more citizens remain dependent on the government, and those producing services and products face increased taxes. The conflicting draw of socialism and capitalism will always be with us, but free-enterprise capitalism will win the future on the basis of economic results.

Soft on Crime or Strong Enforcement: We’ve witnessed increased criticism of law enforcement abuse and growing demands to defund the police. Traditionally, one of the basic functions of a civil society is for authorities to hold people accountable for crimes and protect citizens and their property. Far too many district attorneys and politicians are refusing to prosecute criminals and are calling for gun control. With citizens feeling unsafe, guns and private security systems have proliferated. The growing call for stricter enforcement will continue to grow in response to the riots and increases in crime. Law and order is a winning campaign issue for 2024 and beyond.

Peace or War: The longing for peace and the reality of war have always been with us. With the proliferation of more powerful weapons, waging war is far more destructive. There is hope that diplomacy, global economic interdependence, and the resulting economic opportunity will be enough to maintain world peace and limit destructive conflict. Unfortunately, the existence of biological, nuclear, EMT weapons makes the likelihood of mutual destruction a frightening reality. The current open conflict in Ukraine gives war a scary advantage for the immediate future.

Out of Many One or Out of Many Tribes: The civil rights movement and the dream of Martin Luther King Jr. was to make our motto e pluribus unum, “out of many one,” a reality. Since that time there has been a strong focus and progress in eliminating racial bias. Recent societal forces have worked to divide citizens by skin color to justify ‘special interest” rewards for certain groups. A reaction to this new “tribal racism” is beginning to gain support and fuel a fight against special interest reparations for past racism. Expect a hard-fought resistance to reparations and a renewed call common rights and responsibilities for all citizens, no matter their age, gender, race, or ethnicity.

School Choice or Public Schools: After the poor performance and questionable indoctrination from public schools, there is a strong drive for school choice. Parents want more control over what schools children attend and what they are taught. With strong minority support, this is a trend that will win the day and result in a better education for our children.

Open Borders or Controlled Immigration: There is no question that we need more workers to continue to drive our economy. With the flow of drugs and illegal immigrants adversely impacting cities throughout the country, there is renewed interest in controlling our borders. Expect a resurgence in demands for secure borders, accountability for drug cartels, and increases in legal immigration.

Greed or Compassion: America has always supported individuals pursuing happiness and success, but it has valued others being able to do the same. A commitment to compassion supports benevolent self-interest where compassion for one’s fellow man is realized as the only way for all to thrive. Care for one’s community over selfishness will remain a strong force that should win the day in coming years.

Secular or Sacred: America has been a Judeo-Christian country that anchored its freedoms and future in the assurance of a loving God who cares about every individual and demands ethical behavior. Dostoevsky’s would observe, “If there is no God, everything is permissible.” Without faith, ethical absolutes are not shared. Although there’s been a decrease in church attendance, there seem to be signs of a spiritual revival. In tough times, people search for and depend on God. Expect a renewed focus on faith, ethics, and involvement in religious communities in the challenging times ahead.

At any given time, all of these tensions become forces that define what the future holds for countries and individuals. There are dangers ahead that must be managed, but tough times develop stronger citizens and demand more responsive politicians. Those who thrive in these times will do so by finding ways to tap and capitalize on the ascending forces impacting society. Thankfully for America, President Biden’s radical liberal changes have created strong counter forces that will result in a rejection of many unpopular changes and fuel a call for more conservative policies and priorities.

Purchase Dr. Paulson’s newly released ”Joy Comes with the Morning” course today! Get ready to enjoy the 31 short, recorded messages on your computer or smart phone. Each message is designed to expand and enhance your joy-filled faith experience whenever you need or want it. Visit tomeapp.com/joy to start bringing more Christian joy to your morning today. Contact him at [email protected].

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Dr. Terry Paulson is a PhD psychologist and author of The Optimism Advantage, They Shoot Managers Don't They, Speak Like a Pro, Meditations for the Trail, and The Dinner: The Political Conversation Your Mother Told You Never to Have. Since founding Paulson and Associates, Inc. in Agoura Hills, CA, Dr. Paulson has presented to such companies as IBM, 3M, Kaiser, Nationwide, SONY, Starbucks, Wal-Mart, and hundreds of hospitals, government agencies, and associations. Dr. Paulson is a past president of both the Global Speakers Federation and the National Speakers Association. He’s been inducted into NSA’s CPAE Speakers Hall of Fame, an honor given to less than 230 speakers worldwide. Dr. Paulson is a long-time conservative Republican who has spoken to numerous Republican groups. He currently is a regular op-ed columnist for townhall.com and politicrossing.com. Terry brings knowledge, tasteful humor, and a passion for conservative principles to every presentation. Dr. Paulson graduated with honors from UCLA and received his PhD in psychology and an MA in theology from Fuller Graduate School of Psychology in Pasadena, CA.



 
 
 

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Bite-Sized Motivation

The insights or wisdom we need to get us going often don’t have to be more than a few words

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I’ve spoken to 1075 audiences at conventions, conferences, and meetings, and have had the opportunity to hear probably 800 other speakers as well.

The insights, perspectives, or wisdom we need, to get us going often don’t have to be more than a few words. Here are 52 of my own six word “speeches,” drawn from my keynotes and breakout session on the topic of work-life balance. Some of these likely will resonate with you:

Choose from what you already have.
Everyone needs breathing space, especially you.
Information overload obscures meaning and relevance.
Deep breathes are essential for well-being.

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Make every day an organized day.
Allow your natural rhythms to rule.
Stay confident and in control daily.
Manage your time, manage your life.

Slow down to plot your course.
Look for the best in others.
Make yourself indispensable on the job.
Compete with yourself, not with others.

Learn to take control of today.
Manage your time to make time.
Take control of your desk clutter.
You’re the best when you’re fresh.

Do something to take control now.
Major projects often require a jumpstart.
Methodically pare down your paper piles.
Don’t attempt too much at once.

Evaluate your situation and what’s important.
Narrow your priorities to stay focused.
Avoid making promises you can’t keep.
Learn to embrace your many talents.

Take the time to become organized.
Become aware of how you react.
Arrange your space; help isn’t coming.
Manage the flat surfaces in life.

Periodically challenge yourself to perform better.
Take long, deep breaths as needed.
Reclaim your places, spaces, and graces.
Start big projects well in advance.

Don’t rush the truly important things.
Make the best use of today.
Schedule accordingly: plan for your future.
Be kind, cut yourself some slack.

Opportunity knocks, but are you answering?
Conventional wisdom has diminishing value.
When practical, substitute time for money.
The market for top talent lives.

The self-reliant survive and thrive.
Leadership requires forethought and super-vision.
Learn from and capitalize on mistakes.
Firmly face the future with confidence.

“Now” holds a lot of opportunity.
Control but don’t curb your enthusiasm.
Treading water won’t propel you forward.
Have you ever really tested yourself?

Life goes on; do your best.
Continually seek out the higher ground.
Luck is distributed evenly, but disguised.
You must be doing something right.

 


 

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Work-Life Balance in Your Life

It the ability to experience a sense of control and to stay productive and competitive at work while maintaining a happy, healthy home-life

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Work-life balance (WLB) is the ability to experience a sense of control and to stay productive and competitive at work while maintaining a happy, healthy home-life with sufficient leisure. WLB, also referred to by some as work-life harmony, work-life shift, work-life blend, work-life effectiveness, or work-life integration, requires focus and awareness despite seemingly endless tasks and activities competing for our time and attention.

Work-life balance entails having what I call “breathing space” for yourself each day, feeling a sense of accomplishment while not being consumed by work, and having an enjoyable domestic life without short-changing career obligations. WLB is rooted in whatever fulfillment means to you within the course of a day and a week, and however many years you have left in your life.

Supporting Disciplines

Several disciplines support work-life balance though, individually, none are synonymous with work-life balance:

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1) Self Management

Sufficiently managing one’s self can be challenging, particularly in getting proper sleep, exercise, and nutrition. Self-management is the recognition that effectively using the spaces in our lives is vital, and that life, time, and available resources are finite. It means becoming captain of our own ship; no one is coming to steer for us.

2) Time Management

Effective time management involves making optimal use of your day and the supporting resources that can be summoned – you can only keep pace when your resources match your challenges. Time management is enhanced through appropriate goals and discerning what is both important and urgent, versus important OR urgent. It entails understanding what you do best and when, and assembling the appropriate tools to accomplish specific tasks.

3) Stress Management

By nature, societies tend to become more complex over time. In the face of increasing complexity, stress on the individual is inevitable. More people, noise, and distractions, independent of one’s individual circumstances, require each of us to become more adept at maintaining tranquility and being able to work ourselves out of pressure-filled situations. Most forms of multi-tasking ultimately increase our stress, while focusing on one thing at a time helps decrease stress.

4) Change Management

In our fast-paced world, change is virtually the only constant. Continually adopting new methods, adapting old, and re-adapting all methods is vital to a successful career and a happy home life. Effective change management involves offering periodic and concerted efforts so that the volume and rate of change at work and at home does not overwhelm or defeat you.

5) Technology Management

Effectively managing technology requires ensuring that technology serves you, rather than abuses you. Technology has always been with us, since the first walking stick, spear, flint, and wheel. Today, the rate of technological change is accelerating, brought on by vendors seeking expanding market share. Often you have no choice but to keep up with the technological Joneses, but rule technology, don’t let it rule you.

6) Leisure Management

The most overlooked of the work-life balance supporting disciplines, leisure management acknowledges 1) the importance of rest and relaxation, 2) that “time off” is a vital component of the human experience, and 3) that one can’t indefinitely short-change leisure without repercussions. Curiously, too much of the same leisure activity, however enjoyable, can lead to monotony. Thus, effective leisure management requires varying one’s activities.

Entirely Achievable

Achieving work-life balance does not require radical changes in what you do. It is about developing fresh perspectives and sensible, actionable solutions that are appropriate for you. It is fully engaging in life with what you have, right where you are, smack dab in the ever-changing dynamics of your existence.

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