Business Eye: A good time for reflection

Alex Pratt

Alex Pratt

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At this time of year with Christmas hurtling down the road towards us once more, as the fog and ice threaten to bring us to the usual standstill, and as yet another year draws to a close, this is perhaps a good moment to reflect.

An opportunity to reboot the year we’ve just enjoyed, and to consider the year ahead.

Such reflection has become more poignant by the recent death of Nelson Mandela who in recent times stood as a guiding light in the darkness of human frailties of revenge and ego-centric behaviour, and of Maggie Thatcher who inspired and challenged different people in equal measure.

As she once said: “Disciplining yourself to do what you know is right and important, although difficult, is the highroad to pride, self-esteem, and personal satisfaction.”

These are words that I’ve found myself falling back on many times this year when reaching the point of asking ‘why do I bother?’.

This emotion often rises in us when we try to bring support to others only to find it ignored, taken for granted or wilfully wasted.

When this happens with family and friends you grit your teeth, absorb the knock to your ego and hope for better next time. But when it’s a contribution to the wider community, you do sometimes need to positively resolve to keep going, and to not let the dark side extinguish your light of hope.

When we do find ourselves in the presence of the darker side of human nature the temptation is to let your light fade away and allow the darkness to dominate.

But shining a light in the darkness is what provides a beacon of hope that can be seen by so many from such a long distance, even though you can’t see them. In the end, the light always shines through.

I have watched for example the criticisms hurled at those in our community who have fought so hard to prevent the mistake of betting our future national prosperity on an investment in 200 year old technology when it is clear that HS2 monies would be far better spent on digital technologies and other growth generating investments.

Each one will at one point have faced a stiff drink and asked themselves ‘why do I bother?’

As we each face up to our challenges in 2014, it is fitting to leave the last words to

Madiba: ‘It always seems impossible until it is done’.