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On loss and taking for granted



It’s an easy trap to fall into.


To prioritise what we lack over what we “have”. To neglect what’s readily available to us and underestimate what we find in abundance in our lives. To fail to appreciate it while it lasts.


Us humans value rarity, scarcity and (relative) difference.


We say: “Money doesn't grow on trees”. “Great opportunities don’t come everyday”. Meaning, we won’t find value just lying around, waiting to be collected from right under our noses. Opportunities are rare; we must seize them as they come or run the risk of losing them forever.


The paradox is that even though we strive for abundance in our lives, we find no value in it once obtained. We may even take it for granted.


In an age of overwhelming plentitude, sometimes we only realise worth when something’s taken away. Like a fish in water, we hardly think twice about the things that are plentiful around us.


Yet a thirsty wanderer lost in the desert would go to any length for a glass of water.


As privileged citizens of the 21st century, we navigate a world with too much information, too much entertainment, too much to indulge in. It can be hard to prioritise where to put our time, attention and sometimes even affection.


There’s too much to do, try and see. Our health and wellbeing pay the price for endless possibilities.


As we run blindly after the little we lack, we forget to take care of what’s already there, to be reached at any time. It becomes so easy to take for granted what someday will be lost forever.


The helping hand, the shoulder to cry on, the empathetic ear, the voice of reason, the embrace of reassurance. Those people we assume will always be there for us, as they have been before.


We prioritise other things, put them to the side, plan to come back to them when the time is right. There’s no rush. And so we (make them) wait for the wrong reasons.


It's said that our time and attention are the scarcest things we own. And that we don't truly appreciate what we have until it's gone.


So, make the most of it while it lasts.


Our highlights this month

💡 Business & entrepreneurship

A futurist’s guide to preparing your company for constant change

Harvard Business Review

Reflecting on the pandemic and how quickly things around us can change, futurist April Rinne gives advice on how to embed ‘fluxiness’ in your business culture and prepare for many different possible futures.



📣 Branding & marketing

Whatsin Store: designing for everyone

Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB)

Showing what inaccessibility feels like, the RNIB opened ‘Whatsin Store’, a corner shop stocked with deliberately vague branding and inaccessible packaging. Hidden cameras captured people’s reactions when the things they took for granted were no longer accessible.

✍ Language & writing

Why greeting card clichés are utterly hollow yet full of meaning

Aeon

Even when we feel there are no words, greetings cards cannot be left blank. This essay brings into focus the clichés we use to express the inexpressible, and argues that they’re a place where life and language collide.



💻 Creative & tech

The Jessica simulation

San Francisco Chronicle

Like something from a Black Mirror episode, this longread is a touching story of loss, grief and what happens when an AI simulates someone who is no longer with us.



🔮 Social trends

Remind me to cop a feel

Coppafeel!

October is poignant for many of us: it’s breast cancer awareness month in the UK, a place where 1 woman is diagnosed with the disease every 10 minutes. Charity Coppafeel! has a free text service to remind you to check your boobs and pecks.