Friends, I bet you want to know how to make a difference right now:
- for Gaza and the people of Palestine,
- against endless war,
- in defense of Jewish safety,
- and personally as you encounter the end of year transition from increasing darkness back into light.
You may be noticing that emotions are high and the stakes are even higher right now. I am seeing a lot of warped Choose Your own Adventure.
- Analyze the causal relationship of every action you take – WHO BENEFITS FROM THE GUM YOU ARE CHEWING?????
- Completely give up trying to do the right thing because analysis overwhelmed you and you got mean girled by not doing it “right” anyway so what’s the point
- Point a finger and yell “You Hate ____[me/Jewish people/Palestinian people]__!!”
the right-wing Israeli genocide in Gaza continues and the appropriation of US federal funds for it expands. Consumerism is barreling down the icy toboggan run of end of year pressure to shop [deals! gifts!!]. Layoffs are still happening in the face of record stock market gains.
Let’s cut to the chase: it’s hard to do a damn thing when you’re not sure what’s best. That is why, I am going to give you a guide help you to do less, but do more of the stuff that matters to you.
But first, I want to tell you what you do NOT need to do – things that stray from your objectives and desired outcomes
If what you want is to influence the current government to reduce the amount of tax dollars available right now for funding war, not paying your taxes is NOT the way. That’s not how funding for war works, even though it might feel right to do this. (If you want to resist on a moral ground, agnostic to if it impacts the government, that’s a different outcome)
If what you want is to influence world governments, including the US, to demand a ceasefire and create political solutions on the world stage, then creating a whole new government or refusing to work with the imperfect / angering / messed up government we currently have is NOT the way, even though that may be what your heart calls for. (If you want to create direct democracies or anarchist enclaves, that’s a different outcome)
If what you want is to demonstrate you see the uniqueness and value of another person, a random gift card from the grocery store line isn’t going to do that. (If what you want is to say – hey! Thanks – here’s something to make life nice, that’s a different outcome.)
If what you want is to create a life where your work is stable and you’re recognized for your contributions, looking for a role in a C-corp organization, which is legally mandated to put profits above all else including employee stability, may not get you that. (If you want to be free not to have to create your own work and are ok to trade annoyance for a decent paycheck and insurance, that’s a different outcome.)
Guide to make choosing meaningful actions easier.
- Move towards specific outcomes
- Take small bites
- Keep momentum/stay curious with guesses or experiments.
OUTCOMES // Being loose about the outcomes you want is a recipe for pain, disappointment, and missed targets.
Sometimes we get mad about the thing we’re not getting, when we are not doing things that would help us get it in the first place. This is intensely frustrating!
Please – for your own sanity – identify the actual outcome you want. Guess if you need to, to learn more about you, or about life. Then do things that move you towards the outcome.
Focused things. When possible, SIMPLE and focused things. You do not need to add to your overwhelm.
SMALL BITES // Work on what you can work on – if needed, small bits at a time.
The beauty of keeping it focused and simple means you’re more likely to find a thing you can do, then actually doing it – NOT over-researching and feeding the urge to be more perfect but then not doing the thing.
Fear of making the wrong choice makes people freeze and stay stuck. You don’t have to be a dummy consumer [I know you are not], and it is wise to expect that things will need to change over time.
You don’t need to research every investment company out there. You need to look at one of the brokerage houses [Schwab, Vanguard, Fidelity, et al] and one of the roboadvisors [Betterment, Wealthfront, Ellevest, M1, et al] – companies in these categories are very similar, pick one and move on.
You don’t need to research every bank, find one that pays interest on savings and aligns close enough with your values and move on.
EXPERIMENT // Keep momentum/stay curious
As your life, earnings, and needs change – and as the world turns, and as the companies you’re with make choices, you may want to change. That’s fine – you can change, then.
So, approach your choices as an experiment, where the data will keep coming in:
- How does contributing to one fundraiser and then getting some sleep help me stay balanced and stay connected [my outcomes]
- how does spending/saving like this help me get closer to the outcome of not getting into more credit card debt and putting money to retirement – for now? Over the next six months?
- How might
- How might changing fields help me shift my earnings? Let me talk to 2 people and then apply for 2 roles. And hm, can I freelance as a junior to someone doing this work, to learn more?
A few action ideas, related to ceasefire-related outcomes:
- Pressure influential people to act – not just internet strangers, target people who have global political influence
- Reduce financial inputs – use better banks [ones not funding war or oil drilling] for your loans and savings,
- and/or Boycott specific companies profiting from illegitimate occupation of Palestinian land: Marvel, Puma, HP, Siemens, AXA, Sodastream, Ahava, Sabra hummus, any Israeli produce
A few action ideas related to personal financial outcomes:
- Give your money jobs, with deadlines. This month? Within a year? In my lifetime?
- Simplify your financial approach however you earn or get money, make sure you have some for each category: Must spend / short term savings for the within-a-year jobs / long term savings for the within-my-lifetime jobs / fun
- Buy less! This time of year is SO FOCUSED on spending – for gifts, for yourself due to a sale or in order to get ahead in the new year. But what if you did … less of it? I do not mean “force yourself into no-spend perfectionism pretzels” – I just mean, spend less. Get inspired by the Church of Stop Shopping.