While the economic climate in the United States remains uncertain, economists and pundits alike continue to define our recent fiscal crisis with words like recession, downturn and depression.
But labeling America’s current financial woes should not be the focus for Americans as the overall economy struggles to free itself from its malaise. What really matters is how the current circumstances affect you and what they mean to your future.
In his book, The Great Reset, Richard Florida calls periods like the one currently facing the United States “Great Resets.” There have been two such periods before the current one, and both of these earlier downturns changed our culture in profound ways.
We all know the stories of mass unemployment and hardships suffered by American citizens during the Great Depression. But what often becomes lost in these stories is that a reset plays out as a process and not as much as an event. It represents a shift in values, economic tastes and preferences, business structures, and industries. In fact, it is a fundamental change in our culture as a whole. I like to think of it as cleaning out a closet — the world rids itself of old, outdated principles to make way for the new.
Change certainly doesn’t come easy. And these periods are often paved with turmoil. The great resets first refocus people. They bring companies and industries back from years of wandering in the wrong direction. They jar us in ways that open the eyes of the collective nation. Importantly, they also reallocate our resources and time. Much like turning soil, these resets provide fertile ground for new ideas and new ways of doing things. The new systems, values and culture make way for new business leaders and innovations. It is in this cumulative cleansing that we begin to see the one common thread that everyone agrees runs through our country . . . opportunity.
This reset is particularly profound for individuals. And it comes at a time when the tools of commerce are available to everyone. Technological advances now permeate every aspect of our lives, especially in the business world. They empower individuals in ways that directly change the business climate around them. Today, a person’s professional identity is more important than ever. Individual skills, expertise, reputation and authority have become the personal currencies of our economy. And they are the currencies that will lead us into the future.