Greetings from Washington, D.C.

Two days ago, I had my annual eye exam. Good news: my eye health is excellent. Bad news: I need new corrective lenses. And, the bill for lenses alone ran north of $800.

Talk about a cash cow business!

All kidding aside, I am pleased that my vision is corrected to 20/20. Still, I am left wondering:

What Will 2020 Do to Our Collective Vision?

In a matter of days, our nation will witness a contentious Senate impeachment trial. And, I fear that the process and eventual verdict will divide us even further.

Beyond Impeachment, We Don’t Agree on Much


  • Workforce Health: our rate of unemployment, reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, remains historically low at 3.5 percent. Wall Street rejoices. And yet earning power for hired talent recedes; many workers’ new jobs hardly cover basic expenses, if at all. In reality, the average American worker is financially and emotionally stressed, finding the work that they do less meaningful, if not at all meaningful.
  • Economic Conditions: the Dow Jones Industrial index finished Friday, December 27 trading at just under 29,000 points. People who own stocks had a very good year, indeed; they party like it’s 1999 and pay no mind to the high probability that a recession—like the one in 2001 or 2008—will happen. Watching holiday shoppers in a local mall during mid-December, I was struck by how impulsively they bought merchandise at the Bath & Body Works store, clearing half the shelves of merchandise. We are dazzled by the good times, but not at all prepared for inevitable difficult economic conditions, and

This month, Hollywood legend Dick Van Dyke turned 94 years old.

  • People: all types of people—Left, Right, and Center—are in a social media induced mind-fog. I cite as an example the recent Facebook post of a venerable D.C. based media critic who linked a news story about the actor Dick Van Dyke. Spritely as ever, Van Dyke just celebrated his 94th birthday, yet I watched in horror as one Facebook follower after another expressed shock and sadness: “Oh my goodness, I am so sad that [Van Dyke] died. I loved him in Mary Poppins!” For the record, Mr. Van Dyke is alive and well. But the mere appearance of his photo and name in a Facebook post caused scores of people to conclude that he died. (That’s insane.)

Going into 2020, I fear that our collective vision impairment will bring us to despair. That is, unless we stop, look and question carefully, honor facts, discard nonsense, and offer one another much needed respect and kindness.

Let us purpose ourselves in 2020 to honor facts and reason, and, take more time and greater care with our considerations and each other. When we do that, our best days lie ahead.

Happy New Year!

Please catch an inspirational episode of The Tightrope Podcast with guest Adelle Settle, the founder of school-lunch-debt settling nonprofit Settle the Debt.

Find The Tightrope with Dan Smolen Podcast. on Apple PodcastStitcher, on our website, or wherever you get your podcasts. Listen HERE.

DAN SMOLEN is founder of The Dan Smolen Experience, LLC. He is also the executive producer and host of The Tightrope Meaningful Work Podcast.  Please comment here to let us know how we are doing, and, to offer suggestions for future guests and topics.

Photo credits: Broken glasses, iStock Photo; Dick Van Dyke, Vintage News.