All intentional change must begin with what we know. The line between what we know and what we do not know is a broad one. In that former is information, experience, and knowledge. On the other side of that dividing line is conjecture, opinion and the spectacle of the real*. Social media straddles those two ways of understanding. It presents the perspectives that suggests that because we have read a blog post or watched a video that we now have some definitive knowledge about something. Coming to know what you know is not a passive experience of absorbing other people’s knowledge or opinion. Instead, it is an active search for understanding on many levels. I want to show you the practice that I use to understand the world that surrounds me. In doing this, I hope to show you the difference between genuine knowledge and mere opinion. Why does this matter? When you know what you need to know, you are less susceptible to being manipulated by people who use ideologies as a wedge to divide people and communities.
Four Responses to Change
There is a continuum of response to change. There are four responses along a spectrum with the extremes being destructive responses to change, and the middle two being more constructive. Let us call the destructive responses Change-Phobic and Change-Junkie and the constructive responses Change-receptive and Change-initiator.
“It is vitally important that we understand what change is. It is the living, dynamic context of our lives. Every thought, every emotion, every action, every response in a particular moment operates within a change context. Every movement, shift in perspective, or initiative taken happens within the context of change.
Change is so prevalent that we don’t even see it. It is invisible until it becomes toxic or threatening. Then, we see it or feel it so much that we want to get out of it. Change is always present. It is our best friend and our worst enemy.
The skill needed is a recognition that we are always in transition. It is not just a mental note that change is always present. It is seeing precisely what kind of change is happening in the moment. Did I anticipate my clients stepping back from the projects we had planned? I was not surprised. All around me were people I knew whose businesses were in crisis.”
Change is the context of our lives. The question is how do we embrace it.
One of the realities that the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed is the degree to which our culture has shifted in the type of consumerism which it promotes.
I remember back in the early 1980s listening to a NPR interview with a guy who had written a book about modern marketing philosophies. I remember it to this day because of the shift that he had noted began to take place during the 1960s. He described how for much of the 20th century marketing had been focused on shaming people into buying products.
Then a shift occurred where consumer product marketers began to promote products by telling people that they deserved to have it. Every time I think of this interview I remember the old McDonald’s jingle, “You deserve a break today…”.
In 1899, sociologist Thorsten Veblen published The Theory of the Leisure Class: An economic study of institutions. His research marked a growing phenomenon of people separating their personal life from their work life. Veben was the one who coined the often used term, “conspicuous consumption.” His research marked a growing tension between personal life and work life. This tension is at the heart of the quest for balance.
The balance between life and work, I’ve come to conclude, is an impossible standard. It is a measure of time and activity level rather than a measure of the value of either our life or work.
Ask yourself the following questions.
1. How do you know when there is balance between your life and work? Is it a 50/50 split?
2. If you were to achieve balance, what would be different? Is it simply that you would have more time to pursue your leisure time interests?
3. Presently, which side, life or work, is more out of balance? What is it specifically that tells me this?