The benefits of Blue-Sky Soup!

From The Soup Kitchen
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During the past month or so, we have experienced ‘dire’ weather conditions and all manner of transport problems but why do we perceive we have been hit so hard?

During recent weeks, we have seen the media sensational reporting of the weather conditions by our media machine, which (realistically) is now common place. CEOs from local authorities have (unsurprisingly) offered up all manner of plausible excuses as to why they were “unable to cope with the unusual conditions”. Once again we have been assured “lessons will be learned”. And, during this extended period of ‘trauma’, the great but often incapable British public have consistently, been winging and whining about their predicament. They have continued to blame all but themselves for their ‘difficulties’.

After a another very cold start to what, after all is said and done, is a ‘winter’ day, I sat down with a coffee to read the local paper. Tonnes of the white stuff (which for now), had all but thawed to nonexistence when I looked out of the window and thought; “bugger, here it comes again” and I prepared myself for the next onslaught of media crap and public moaning!

Note: it is not my intention to belittle the impact that snow has undoubtedly had on some. I have also experienced conditions many others have been vociferously complaining about (see Weather Watch column Darlington & Stockton Times). My intention is simply to inject our society with something of a reality check.

Today we live in a world that is often more ‘virtual’ than ‘reality’; a place where our tendency is to distance and protect ourselves from things we don’t like. Or indeed, simply things we’re just not that interested in personally. We operate under working conditions where managers continually espouse the values of brainstorming and blue-sky thinking methodologies. As an unintended consequence to all this and in many respects, the reality is; we are often totally out of touch with the real issues. Things that actually do have true and tangible impact upon our life.

This factor was brought home when reading a regular column by Cooper Harding, a local Historian, Honorary Secretary of a local Museum Society and author of the book Thirsk and Sowerby Through Time.

Accustomed to central heating and lulled by several mild winters, many of us have been caught unprepared… This used to be a time when we changed into woollen vests, flannel shirts and donned outdoor garments to match (Cooper Harding)

The article talked of community spirit and the provision of soup kitchens during times of hardship however; the crux of Cooper Harding’s piece was about the reality of hardship. It made me think about how in many respects, we have simply become soft. Minor issues are now major catastrophes and our reality has become blurred because of our virtual perception.

This factor is constantly compounded by media sensationalism and society’s desire to continually feed on the malaise of other people’s suffering. Consequently, we are being subconsciously steered in the direction of ‘inventing’ our own bit of ‘suffering’, just so we don’t feel left out. So that we can gain a little bit of the false sympathy that is being heaped upon our neighbours.

This predominant social raison d’être has permeated into all walks of life and all avenues of both our personal and working existence. We need to move forward (or back dependant upon your age) and get some realistic perspective again.

We need to look at things with a far more balanced viewpoint than we presently do. Our life, work, financial expectations and all manner of social issues need to be considered (and acted upon) in a far more realistic manner. In short, many of us need a severe reality check to benefit both our work and private life… 

Put a little soup kitchen mentality into your blue-sky thinking!