“Normal is getting dressed in clothes that you buy for work, driving through traffic in a car that you are still paying for, in order to get to a job that you need so you can pay for the clothes, car and the house that you leave empty all day in order to afford to live in it," Ellen Goodman.
Fight Club’ Tyler Durden says “Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy cr@p we don’t need.”
The Great Australian – and American, Canadian and British – Dream really has become our greatest nightmare… household debt, financial stress, credit card dependency, mass-consumerism, suburban sprawl, car orientated developments, mortgage stress, car dependency, traffic congestion, obesity, job insecurity, unaffordable housing, anxiety, mental illness and loneliness to name a few. Real issues that face real people in real places.
So can we make what’s normal now – sitting in the car stuck in traffic congestion and drowning and in debt – not the norm?”
Here are the 4 steps that every Mayor, City Leader, Council and Government can take.
(1) Be positive – Creating change is about talking and writing in positives; it’s about what you can do, not what you can’t do. That’s how we create positive change and empower people.
(2) Create an appetite for change – Invite people to question and discuss the impact traffic congestion has on their daily life, their time, their money and their health. Does this provoke a desire for change? Does this trigger a need for something different? Is there a difference between what’s undesirable now – for example, two hours a day stuck in the car – and what is desirable in the future – for example, working at home one day a week, more time, better health, less stress?
(3) Overcome people’s anxiety – To create change you must anticipate and negate people’s fears. Avoiding loss – for example, driving to work – is more important to most people than seeking gain – for example, time to read a book on the train. People want their fears alleviated. How can you do this? They want to see someone they know successfully working at home, resulting in them having more time to spend with their kids. They want to see the lifestyle improvements and real financial savings that come from working from home one day a week.
(4) Help people build new habits – Driving 500 meters to the shops is a habit. It takes 21 days to break a habit. Help people to create new habits; start with small habits, such as walking instead of driving to the local newsagent on a Sunday morning.
What ‘new normal’ do you want for your city, your Council and your community?
What will you do?