Our culture places a high value on people's expertise and abilities. We treasure having the right person with the right skill set and personality for a given responsibility. In fact, a whole industry is devoted to researching and finding the perfect candidate for a job. High-performance companies and institutions typically hire trusted firms to run job searches.
In our culture, it's fairly common to move from one job or career to the next. The average person is accustomed to reinventing himself or herself to accommodate the demands of an ever-changing world. We know the importance of updating and upgrading our work skills and status. We network and share gifts and talents, especially with those who might ease our transition from one work environment to the next.
For many, cultural celebrations of a new year involve the familiar ritual of reviewing the past in order to prepare and plan for a better future. We identify concrete goals and resolutions that, hopefully, will become real in the coming year. Encouraged by friends, family and colleagues, we move forward with enthusiastic resolve and purpose.
In our busy and frantic culture, it's easy to be distracted and lose focus. We live surrounded by external and internal distractions competing for our limited attention. Whether due to the constant noise of people talking, phone ringing, TV chatter or the inner disruptions caused by stress, worries and mental obsessions, it's hard to stay centered and single-minded. And for many, access to social media has only made things worse — we now jump from one thing to the next with ease and speed.
It isn't difficult to look at the world today and be left with profound feelings of uncertainty, uneasiness and concern. Our global perspective provides many instances of real human tragedy and suffering. For example, we might point to the migration crisis or the persecution of Christians taking place in many parts the world and quickly realize the challenges we face.
In our contemporary culture, human interactions are often transactional and impersonal. More and more, we fill out online forms to record who we are and use anonymous surveys to find out who we are becoming. For just one example, we Google others, and without ever meeting them, find all kinds of information about their demographics and social behaviors. Our personal and group identities have become so measurable and accessible that others make all kinds of accurate predictions about our lives.