Out of the Rabbit Hole: Opportunity in Alberta

Alice stumbled into Wonderland experiencing fear and disorientation as she fell down the long tunnel based on her decision to follow the White Rabbit. Realizing the fall was slow, she started looking around and discovered the walls are covered in cupboards, bookshelves, maps and paintings. Exploring her surroundings provided opportunity to meet some ridiculous, silly creatures and behaviours. Her literal minded reactions to the impossible were laughable but they provided coping mechanisms.  Throughout her various adventures, she grew and developed fresh perspective.

Following media reports, I’m of the opinion that many Albertans feel like Alice. They are frightened, disoriented and unsure of what lies ahead. It is a strange reality that transports us to worlds where we consume and interact with everything in new ways and feel the opportunity to advance is denied. Processing it all has minds going in many directions. Brian Tracy, an entrepreneur/author/speaker said “The key to success is to focus our conscious minds on things we desire not things we fear.

A lot of attention is being paid to the impact of oil and gas prices on the economy. One gets the impression that Premier Notley and the NDP caucus created the current fiscal chaos, problems are restricted to Alberta, and only by removing this democratically elected government will new opportunities appear. It is time to recognize the current status is due to a long, slow fall down a tunnel started decades ago.


Universally people are so focused on local occurrences they fail to notice things taking place elsewhere. Alberta has the third largest oil reserves after Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. A look at what is taking place in those countries broadens one’s understanding of the current global crisis.

Saudi Arabian oil minister Ali Al-Naimi told a packed crowd at the IHS CERA Week Energy conference in Houston in February that anyone depending on the production of high-priced gas and oil is in for a tough time. Oil represents only 4% of government finances in Dubai, yet they like other Arab sheikdoms are shuffling their government and seeking new ways to innovate for the future.

In February, Venezuela’s president, Nicolás Maduro, announced the first rise in petrol prices in 20 years and a sharp devaluation of the currency in efforts to shore up the flailing economy, hard hit by falling oil prices. This makes up 95% of government income. Prices at the pump rose over 6000%. Things look pretty good here at home in comparison.

Alberta has strength in several industry sectors. Although other sectors exist, decisions made by the previous governing party to rely on high oil and gas royalties did not create a diverse economic base. Now confirmation bias prevents many from acknowledging this.

Governments, despite illusions and efforts, cannot direct or control the future nor create jobs. A misguided belief that they possess this power prevents the majority from moving forward and developing their own economy. Author Tyler Cowen provides a provoking take on harnessing technology, embracing multitasking, and opening our minds to “neurodiversity” in order to create happier, richer personal economies in his book Create Your Own Economy: The Path to Prosperity in a Disordered World. It is time to assume individual responsibility for determining our future. The outcomes experienced are dependent on attitudes formed from feelings that evolve from thoughts. Those we hang around with and chose to listen to influence those thoughts. If different outcomes are desired, changes are required to the way things are done.

Discovering Opportunity

Alice triumphed when she quit listening to the nonsense that was occurring. She responded to the Queen’s cry at the Knave’s trial: “sentence first — verdict afterward,” with “Stuff and nonsense! Who cares for you? You’re nothing but a pack of cards!” She took control of her life by shattering and scattering the absurdity of her situation.

It is time to quit blaming others for the current situations and to assume responsibility for our lives and decisions, look for solutions and take advantage of opportunities. If you’re looking, you’re sure to find a way out of the tunnel.


Original article published as “Alice Didn’t Stay Down the Rabbit Hole” in The Newsy Neighbour: March 2016

photo credit: Lost via photopin (license)