Standing out, disrupting the norm; maybe it's time...
As old paradigms crumble, a new age of reckoning has come. We are confronted with our id and with our own humanity, challenged to reconcile the two in the wake of this phase shift. While some stay plugged into the matrix, in a simulation constructed by the greedy and the powerful, a large number of people are choosing to live on the fringe. Where do we go from here? What are we looking for? What does this shift mean, and where do we fit in this changing world? What are we hoping to find? What is driving some of us towards the unknown, and the rest of us to stay plugged in?
With Americans working more hours than ever before and the new working class struggling to find financial security and life-balance, we are no longer conforming to the old system of hierarchical power structures and instead moving into a more collaborative, integrated, cooperative space where you're encouraged to tap into your creative side as much as your intellectual side. Up until this point, everything stayed in its lane with little to no overlap: intelligence was purely functional and creativity was silly, and that’s where they belonged.
When Google opened its headquarters in California in 1998, it forever changed the “corporate” landscape and set the stage for the new working class. They challenged the system and changed the way people thought about their ideal workplace and set off a firestorm of innovation through the rise of what we look at as “startup culture.”
People are no longer conforming to labels and to the inflexible “brick and mortar” infrastructure to never leave their desks; instead, people are seeking meaning beyond the walls of their 5-by-5-foot cubicle space. Or, choosing to not ever step foot into a cubicle space altogether and living a digital work life.
Being stuck behind a desk 8-9 hours a day (and if you live in NYC or even San Francisco, that’s probably more like 10-11 hours a day), 5 days per week, is not only unnatural to the human body, but it also physically cuts us off from our own bodies, stifling creativity. The creation of the ipod wouldn't have been possible had Jobs not broken from convention and merged intelligence with creativity. Being in tune with the rhythms of your body keeps you grounded and connected with yourself, and helps you tap into your higher power, away from all the distractions. Someone like Steve Jobs understood that. Practicing yoga and meditation are known to increase your level of awareness and decrease your stress, among helping cure other ailments, which is why more and more people are engaging in these ancient practices. People are looking to get back in touch with their body, mind, and spirit by creating an environment at their place of work that reflects their unique, inner world. Not this matrix the greedy and powerful have constructed that enables them to exploit the unprivileged and the most vulnerable, rendering us powerless and too tired to think of a life outside of the 9-5 structure.
Disrupting the Status Quo
Leadership that is learning to tap into the true human spirit and instilling a culture that evokes the playful nature by creating an environment that inspires, are the ones that are winning. People that work with those leaders are finding that connection leads to a much more warm, inviting, and inspiring environment. Our constitution literally states that every citizen of this land has the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. But that narrative doesn't seem to fit the real world, does it? With Americans working more hours than anyone in the industrialized world, and with the freelance population larger than ever before; the new generation is breaking from convention, seeing the misalignment of work-life balanced, and have pushed for a sense of having a “home away from home” workplace, or working remotely. This isn’t just about a certain age group (aka: millennials), but rather those that are “unplugging” from the norm and that can be done by anyone at any age.
What’s the cost of staying plugged in? Most are merely covering up the fact that we are working longer hours with a smaller salary by creating a false sense of care and security through these amenities. By not moving towards the things that move you, this slips a person farther from their authentic self and even farther from a better quality of life.
Disruption and getting closer to one’s own “higher power” builds strength, and strength itself is built by breaking old, frail structures down and building stronger ones. Kind of like lifting weights: in order to grow stronger muscles, you must break and tear the old ones first, and build stronger muscle tissue on top. It’s in that tipping point where our strength and courage gets tested, when we are tired and vulnerable, that one is confronted with limits, and one becomes stronger.
So, now’s the time to think on this. What’s holding you back? Are you ready to disrupt your status quo? If so, what’s your BEST first step?