My team and I have been taking time out for reflection over the last few months. We’ve been giving a lot of thought to the changes, challenges and confusion we face as a species, about the ways in which we’re rising (or failing to rise) to those challenges, and about what all of it means in terms of where we go next as a company and a community. I’m excited to be at the point where we’re ready to start sharing all of this and finding out what resonates with you.
A lot has changed in the world since 2009, when I first came across the principles behind clarity and realised that this understanding quite simply represents the future of psychology and hope for humanity. As many of you already know, I knew at that moment it was time to move out of the NLP business and completely change direction.
Back then, it looked to me like there were two big hurdles to the widespread uptake of this understanding:
Hurdle one: firstly, hardly anyone had even heard of it; these principles were psychology’s best-kept secret.
Hurdle two: even fewer people knew how to share it effectively.
So I spent the next 10 years going hell-for-leather to find ways to get new people interested. I made videos, did interviews and appeared on TV news. I wrote articles, flew in principles trainers from around the world and even wrote the first draft of a book, sending out a chapter a week to the people in my community for feedback and comments. That book ended up forming the basis for my first bestseller, CLARITY and its follow-up, The Little Book of Clarity. My purpose in writing those books was to share the transformative power of this understanding with a mainstream audience. Then I set up the Certified Clarity Coach Training Programme to start growing a cadre of change workers capable of continuing the work.
There were a few of us on a similar mission, and between us we accomplished something amazing. A few years ago I was in a WHSmith’s book shop and I saw my book CLARITY, Michael Neill’s book The Inside-Out Revolution and Chantal Burns’ book Instant Motivation were all in the bestsellers chart. To see three books on these principles in a mainstream bestseller chart was an amazing first, and a clear sign that this was reaching a much wider audience!
So ten years have passed and, thanks to the insights and actions of many, I think it’s safe to say, the understanding of every human being’s innate capacity for clarity, resilience and wellbeing is ‘on the map.’ Many more people have woken up to their own innate resilience and wellbeing, new books are coming out every year (E.g. Clarity Coach Nick Bottini’s book for musicians Just Play recently became a bestseller). The number of people sharing this understanding has increased significantly, and through them many people’s lives have been transformed.
So where are we now?
Well, the world we’re in is a very different place than it was ten years ago. We’ve seen an unprecedented rise in mental health issues. Young people are struggling with mental health as never before (a recent survey of British teenagers found that 1/3 of them suffer with mental health troubles) and the suicide rate in young men in Scotland has increased for several years in a row. The UK’s mental health foundation’s survey in 2018 found that 74% of UK adults felt so stressed at some point over the last year they felt overwhelmed or unable to cope (32% of them said they’d had suicidal feelings and 16% had self-harmed as a way of dealing with stress).
Communication, technology and information are accelerating, getting more pervasive and more compelling, with no sign they will ever slow down.
Our mental clarity is under attack! Hyperlinks, smartphones and social media voraciously consume our precious attention. And, as that attention gets gobbled up, our minds become congested, and our societies are getting divided (E.g. Brexit, Trump etc).
Children are developing problems with anxiety, body image and eating disorders at younger and younger ages. The term “Cyberbullying” has been coined to describe the way advances in technology have allowed problems once confined to the playground to make its way into our children’s homes. Parents are worried about the effect of too much screen time on their children’s wellbeing but not comfortable letting them spend time unsupervised, just being and playing, in the way we used to as children.
We’ve also got the rise of artificial intelligence and robotics that’s profoundly changing the landscape. ‘Jobs for life’ and ‘job security’ seem like a thing of the past and we’re only at the tip of the iceberg.
There’s a surge in political extremes, as people become more polarised. And populism is increasing as people look (in vain) to find feelings of security and safety in the traditions of the past.
With all of these macro-level changes in the world currently, and more to come, we’re seeing a more confused, fragmented and fearful population and world!
Hand-in-hand with these changes, we have a world where people seem more fearful, more anxious, with less and less faith in their ability to prevail, in their innate resilience. It seems that the intersection of helicopter parenting combined with well-meaning attempts to protect people from harm are resulting in a generation of young people who don’t realise what they’ve got going for them. Contrary to prevailing opinion, our innate resilience is 100% impervious to offence / speech / ideas / trigger words/ ‘microagressions’ etc. In fact, it looks to me like these concepts *themselves* and the ‘victimhood culture’ they create are the things most likely to psychologically cripple a generation of young people.
I look at everything that’s going on in the world and I’m still hopeful. Like many of you reading this, my team and I know there’s something about people that means we can thrive even in the face of huge challenges and massive disruption. When you realise – not just as an idea but as a fact – the intelligence, the wisdom, the well-being, the mental health, the creativity that every human being has within them… when you see it’s not a personal thing, it’s a universal… when you know it’s not even something you need to learn how to do or apply; it’s how it already works… you can’t help but be hopeful.
We believe the most valuable thing a person can discover is how their mind works and who they really are. It’s clear to me that if enough people see this, it will change the world. It will have huge implications for society and humanity. It will mean a massive increase in happiness, in wellbeing, and in the creativity and co-operation we need to tackle the challenges we face.
What this means, for us as a company and as part of a wider community that recognises the mental health and well-being in people, is that all each one of us can offer is what we’ve seen for ourselves.
We’ve recognised that we’re at the start of a new phase as an organisation. Our vision is to inspire and educate a generation to experience lives of clarity, resilience & wellbeing. Our new focus is to reach beyond the personal development and coaching space to anybody who wants to experience more joy, more resilience and less suffering in their lives and to help those around them do the same. We want to wake up as many people as we can to the truth of who they really are and to support anyone that wants to in awakening others. We want to be part of a chain reaction that reaches around the world.
I used this metaphor at the end of my first book CLARITY: Clear Mind, Better Performance, Bigger Results (©2013 Jamie Smart, published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd):
London’s Wembley stadium holds a staggering 90,000 people. Imagine it, filled to capacity, with each person holding an unlit candle in their hand. Suddenly the lights go out, and the stadium is plunged into darkness. In the midst of the blackout, a single candle is lit. Everyone can see the tiny pinprick of light, and they watch as the light touches the candles of the people standing near it. Those candles flare into life. Now there are 10 candles burning, then 50, then 100! The amount of light from the candles increases, and now you can make out people’s faces. Within minutes, 10,000 candles are burning, and light fills the stadium. Then 20,000, then 30,000, and so on…
The moment your candle starts burning, you increase the amount of light available for everyone, and the darkness is further diminished.
Many people have told me how touched they were when they read that metaphor, and here’s why I think that is: Those candles are already lit. Their light shines brightly within every single one of us; it’s just that most people haven’t realised this yet.
But they can. We all can.
In part 2 of this article I’ll explore the challenge – and the huge opportunity – represented by the current state of the field of psychology, but for now I just have one question:
Do you want to be part of this chain-reaction? To let your light shine, and awaken others to the light that shines within them?
Whether that’s something you aspire to, or something you’re already doing and being, let me know in the comments if you’re up for this!
To your increasing clarity
Sunday Times Bestselling Author, Speaker and Executive Coach
PLUS: Whenever you’re ready… here are some ways I can help you get the clarity and results that matter to you:
1. Listen to the ‘Get Clarity’ Podcast.
If you’re a coach or interested in becoming one…
3. Join The Thriving Coaches Facebook group.
4. Listen to The Thriving Coaches Podcast.
5. Take part in the Thriving Coaches Blueprint our 90 day, rapid-implementation programme to help you get more clients and grow your coaching or therapy practice (next intake Feb 2020).
If you’re looking to change job, career or move from FTE to something more fulfilling…
6. Learn more about Escape Velocity: The Career Transition Blueprint our 90-day programme to help you transition into doing fulfilling work.