Thursday, April 23, 2009

Smarty Pants: Avoiding Pitfalls

On my quest to stay well-informed (because smart, modern ladies should be well-informed), I’m afraid that I’ve committed a current-event blunder. I should have known better--really, I should. After all, I’ve been writing about current events for over a year now. Writing about how to stay informed, and how to avoid pitfalls. But I’m afraid that in my excitement over Recessionistas, I forgot one of the classic rules. Which is:

Don’t fixate on one topic just because everyone else is.

The topic of interest (or shall I say obsession?) is of course the economy. Naturally I would be interested in this topic given that I’m currently writing a series on the subject of thriving during the recession. And certainly it has been easy to fixate given that every major publication, from newspapers to ladies’ magazines to my own favorite glossies have been covering it almost exclusively.

No, I Do Not Want to be Exclusive
Exclusivity, however, is not necessarily a good thing when it comes to the news. Fixating on one topic--a habit that I’m afraid the modern news media nurses far too much--can lead to several unfortunate consequences. They are:

* elevating one subject inappropriately over other equally important subjects.
The economy is of course important, but so are political events happening in the Middle East, for instance, or development across Northern Africa. These subjects deserve my attention, too, even if they don’t directly impact my day-to-day.

* loss of sight on the bigger picture. World events don’t happen in a vacuum. When I fixate on one topic, I tend to lose my larger perspective. The economy is important, yes, but it is still one component of a much bigger puzzle. I don’t want to miss the forest for the trees.

* fixation leads to fluff. Ironically, when a subject becomes popular, it tends to get watered down. Rather than have in-depth conversations covering a variety of points, the topic tends to become highly repetitive and shallow.

Unfortunately I am seeing these consequences in my own life. In a fairly short amount of time I’ve lost touch with the events in the rest of the world, and the bigger picture. Fortunately I can change that by spreading my focus around a bit more in the weeks to come.

Why Do I Care?
Perhaps you are wondering why I care so much? Well, it’s simple. I believe that as women we have a unique opportunity to lead right now. But leadership requires wisdom and knowledge. And knowledge includes being well-informed.

And being well-informed leaders means avoiding pitfalls. Or climbing out them when you’ve slipped.

Previous Smarty Pants Posts:
Is Staying Home Foolish in a Recession?
Visualizing a Trillion Dollars
Jobs vs. Livelihoods

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