On Feb 13, 2022, during the Super Bowl telecast, I saw a commercial that has become indelible in its message to me.
It was an advertisement for Expedia, starring Ewan McGregor. The actor who played the young Obi-Wan Kenobi said: “We love stuff, and there is really some great stuff out there. But I doubt if any of us look back at our lives and think, I wish I had gotten a little sportier looking SUV, or even a thinner tv, or found the trendiest scent … Do you think any of us look back at our lives and regret the things we didn’t buy? Or the places we didn’t go!”
I keep pondering McGregor’s words daily. Especially today in March 2022, when the world we thought we knew just a couple of years ago, is a very different place, to say the least.
Yet, we must go on. In the words of Churchill, “Never, never, never give in!” Life is the gift and we must live it to the fullest. Connected, fully engaged, and energized to build, to create, to contribute.
On Sunday March 6, 2022 during the Paris Fashion Week, the Balenciaga runway show took place. Since Francois-Henri Pinault, appointed Demna Gvasalia to take the helm of Balenciaga in October 2015, the label has sky-rocketed in popularity.
It disrupted the classics with its new esthetics. Demna, as he is usually referred to by his first name, in his homage to the old, subscribes to deconstructing something to create something else. The past is always honored. He also mirrors what is going on the world today via his designs.
Thus, this current show in Paris, was the reflection and the dedication to Ukraine. Demna was born in Georgia. In the early 90s, his family fled the civil war to Ukraine and then to Germany. After all his years, he still feels like a refugee. The heartache of the war in Ukraine affected his desire to go on with the show, a production he and his team put hard work into.
Yet, he said, “that canceling the show would mean giving in, surrendering to the evil that has already hurt me so much for almost 30 years. I decided that I can no longer sacrifice parts of me to that senseless, heartless ego.”
For all of us here in the United States and the rest of the world, we must go on while supporting Ukraine, her people and such countries as Poland, which took in most of the people escaping this genocide.
We must never give in, we must work harder than ever, secure our energy independence and create the best products and the best customer service. We must go places and see people.
After two years of pandemic, isolation, and uncertain times, one thing is certain, and that it is human kind’s will and courage to live in freedom. To survive the worst and reach for the stars. Psychologist Abraham Maslow said that to thrive we need to have our basic needs to be fulfilled - food and shelter and human connection.
When we are born, there are others, such as our parents, fully taking care of us. The way they take care of us, connect with us, satisfy our need for safety and engage with us, and fully accept us, shapes the rest of our lives.
And especially how we interact with others.
The lockdowns of the past two years have chipped on our psyches. To the point that many of us do not know what is up or what is down. Yet, we can’t give in and we must climb out of any malaise or darkness, towards Dr. Seuss’ mountain. The only way is moving forward, going places and seeing people in person. Being social.
As the UCLA professor and neuroscientist Matthew Lieberman says in his book titled “Social: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Connect,” “The need to connect socially with others is as basic as our need for food, water and shelter.” “…becoming more socially connected is essential to our survival. In a sense, evolution has made bets at each step that the best way to make us more successful is to make us more social.”
The importance of social connection is so paramount to our survival and thriving, that when we feel social pain, such as loss, rejection or loneliness, that pain is felt by our brains in the same manner, as physical pain.
Yet, if one of us have a broken heart for any reason, we are told to get over it. But we don’t tell each other to get over a broken leg. Furthermore, social pain decreases our creativity and our productivity. We often succumb to malaise, because we are not meant to live, work and function alone. We are meant to live and work with others and for others.
Being on a Zoom call or connected via social media or email is not the same as being engaged and interacting with others in person.
The latter builds intimacy leading to us becoming dynamic. The former, tends to be superficial and further isolating.
In “Up from Slavery,” Booker T. Washington said, “Those who are happiest are those who do the most for others.” Matthew Lieberman, in “Social” states, “Living for others is such a relief from the impossible task of trying to satisfy oneself.”
Because, when we are in isolation, the only way is down. Nothing from outside will ever be enough. Not the infusion of venture capital so you can sell your company to Google. Not the latest model of Tesla nor the Himalayan Birkin bag.
We must serve others, connect with others, learn and grow with others. It has been this way since the beginning of time.
Thus, as I am writing, people in Ukraine are able to stand up to much stronger yet, way disconnected Russian aggressors. Because they are in it together.
We are excited that the next opportunity in the Parking Industry to be together, to interact and engage with each other, to question storm, to listen, to talk and to hug, is at our PIE 2022 in Reno, NV, May 15-19.
We chose Reno for this conference for a reason. It is small-town America with old-fashioned values meeting the modern amenities of the fun, modern Las Vegas. The rooms at the beautiful Grand Sierra Resort and Cassino are only $95 per night so you can bring more people from your team.
We invite you to come to our conference and expo, and partake in the Gold Rush. The nuggets of gold you will find might surprise you. Yes, you will be able to see new products and solutions from our exhibitors.
Yes, you will be able to attend some great seminar sessions. Cindy Campbell from IPMI is our key-note speaker. And if anyone knows human connection, it is Cindy.
She is not only brilliant and kind, sincere and reflective, she is beyond wise. You will be transformed by her session and you will understand yourself better and thus, others around you.
The gold rush you will discover is, that even though we have a lot to overcome, we can overcome everything and anything together.
As Demna Gvasalia shows us, we can learn and reconstruct the old and experienced, while implementing and creating the new. Where working together, learning together, playing together, lead us all to peace, joy, solutions, and increased productivity.
Lieberman says in Social, “In Eastern cultures, it is generally accepted that only by being sensitive to what others are thinking and doing can we successfully harmonize with one another so that we may achieve more together than we can as individuals.”
It takes courage to be vulnerable to talk about things that might be uncomfortable. It takes courage to fully be transparent and human. And the only way to that courage is with others, through others, and for others. Just as people in Ukraine are showing us. God bless them and us all!
See you in Reno! “So … get on your way.”
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