Each year, around this time of the year I send out a personalized email to people I care about, friends I keep in my mind; whose voices, concerns, ideas and conversations spark thoughts deep inside me. It goes out individually rather than a mass email and parts of it are obviously highly personalized. My indication that “care” and “attention” involves a real investment in effort on my part and real care. Parts of it are, obviously, the same. We all, more or less. Move and interact in similar waters. We all, more or less, care about the same things. We’ve all, often, taken part in online group conversations that become the backdrop of our shared cultural and social experience.
This year it’s a little different. My message is open. It is addressed to “you” and it encompasses not just my friends who, whether they know it or not, shape my mind and, by direct association, my life but also the tens of thousands of readers who buy my books and then share their thoughts with me on social media, or email or direct messages on Twitter and LinkedIn.
It’s not that I decided that one group of people matters more than another; or even that I found this way to communicate with everyone in order to save time. The fact that I am still writing this as the last day of the year draws to a close speaks volumes about the latter and my ambivalence of whether it will work should at least assure you about the former.
What’s different this year is that I feel the world has changed; it’s changing still in tangible and intangible ways we can all feel. This creates a cultural, shared experience that is now a uniting thread for us all. Were it not for the lack of time and the circumstances of space that keep some of my readers apart from my friends, I feel, we could all, equally, get together around a campfire and while away the final hours of 2019 in style.
This is not to say we’re all the same. I have more than enough emails that totally assure me of that. But we are all fundamentally the same and fundamentally equal and this gives us more things we have in common than things that divide us. Some of us have probably felt that the divisions have grown deeper and broader the past year. It’s just a perception driven by what we choose to focus on. Differences of opinion arise out of differences of perspective and different perspectives make us stronger. Only, of course, if we are willing to share them and think about them.
The problems we face are a mix of old and new. But the mix is new. In writing this open message I thought long and hard on what I need to focus. What I need to share. So I give you this: I don’t really know what 2020 has in store for us beyond the fact that it is going to be challenging. What I can promise you however is that whether you’re a friend whose opinion I value and thoughts and cares I think about; or a reader who decided to open your wallet and give me some of your money in exchange for one of my books, I will work hard to deliver the truths I see, the insights I hunt and the value these two have for you.
My job is to make yours easier. I will work to strip away the distractions that create confusion, provide evidence for the insights I share and aspire, every single day, to help you see the pieces of the puzzle you’re looking at so that they make more sense.
Your attention, your friendship, your purchases, keep me focused and keep me honest. I can do no less than to offer some ease from anxiety, stress, uncertainty and worry in return.
So, thank you for being there. Those of you who are my readers, I feel I know you, just not as much as those I number as friends. You all matter to me regardless. More than that I truly believe that we all matter all the time. Or, none of us does.
Have a truly happy and successful 2020 and thank you from the deepest parts of my being.