There’s a hormone in your body that tells you whether you’re in a good nurturing environment or not. The hormone is called serotonin. Humans are controlled by different kinds of hormones, serotonin being a really important one that tells us if we’re in the right environment or not. This is something that I recently learned after listening to Simon Sinek speak at Executive day arranged in Stockholm this week (You can listen to his talk here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ReRcHdeUG9Y). I was sent there to listen to great speakers like Simon, Steve Wozniak, Lena Apler and Petter Stordalen — the hotel mogul on the topic of “How to build your empire”. The only conclusion I came to is the fact that we’re all human. And humans have feelings, personalities, regrets, problems, and everyone one of those people you meet on the street have an equally complex life as you have. There’s a name for that feeling, and it’s called Sonder.
n. the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own — populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness — an epic story that continues invisibly around you like an anthill sprawling deep underground, with elaborate passageways to thousands of other lives that you’ll never know existed, in which you might appear only once, as an extra sipping coffee in the background, as a blur of traffic passing on the highway, as a lighted window at dusk.
Realising this also means realising that humans need to interact in order to understand each other. There’s a feeling when we’re close to other humans, because we’re social animals. We need the human touch, we need to be able to see other peoples emotions, because of our biology. We’re wired the way we are because it’s beneficial for our survival. When we see someone smiling we get a feeling inside of us, because hormones are released in our bodies. Hormones that are there to protect us and help us exceed. Hormones that tell us whether we’re doing the right thing or not. Simon Sinek brings a pretty good example to the table. To be able to graduate from a university is not that hard, you have to meet the minimum requirements and read the courses until you’re finished. It’s a formula. So technically, you could just receive an email, saying “You graduated, please see enclosed your diploma”. But that wouldn’t release those hormones in our body that tells us we did the right thing. The serotonin. So instead, we have big celebrations and ceremonies, because it makes us feel good. We need human touch, and we need to celebrate the people who are doing good things.
There are no companies, or organisations, or governments or institutions. There’s only people, working together in different constellations. And that’s something we so easily forget. I couldn’t help myself but to cry when Sinek talked, the fact that he has to travel around the world to speak about the importance of talking to each other like humans is a scary thought. The world I want to live in doesn’t need Simons services. The world I want to live in doesn’t revolve around money, fame or power. The world I want to live in is a world where it’s easier to start projects that helps refugees rather than setting up a company that takes advantage of the human brain and the way we’re wired. Let me give you an example: Gambling. Everything around gambling is a rigged game, it’s all planned out. It’s a system created so that you will spend more and more money. Dopamine is a hormone that is released in your body when you hit your goal. When you cross an item of your to-do list, your body hits you with a dopamine rush, to encourage repeated behaviour that leads to progress. When you gamble, there’s a similar principle, the only problem is that the house teaches you to repeat a behaviour that’s not in your favour. The goal? To take your money and make more profit.
Why should I give a shit? Well, maybe you shouldn’t give a shit. But if we keep promoting the people who are ready to step on other people to reach a higher status, we’re also promoting a society and an environment that is unsafe. I’ts unsafe because I constantly have to watch my back to make sure that I’m not getting stepped upon. In an unsafe environment, we’re more likely to think about ourselves, and our own needs instead of working together towards a bigger vision. A vision is nothing, if the people working towards the vision doesn’t feel safe. People who feel safe and trusted are also the people who produce the best things and the people are most innovative. There are no bad people, but there are bad environments that foster people to do bad things. If you put a good person in a bad environment, they’re capable of doing bad things. But if you put a person painted by society as a bad person, in a good system, they’re capable of doing good things.
If we create a society that fosters the good people, and the good projects that are working for the greater good, instead of lifting up the people working for their own causes and their own power and fame — we can create the kind of society many of us dream about. If we create a system, a structure, an environment that give that empowers the kind of leaders that we want and need, we will also get the kind of society so many of us dream about. A society working together towards good, working together to use the collective resources we have. I’m not going to sit around and wait for someone else to create the kind of environment I want to live in. I’ve decided that I want to work actively to create an environment that supports the leaders and the innovators that I want to lead my future. But I can’t do it alone. That’s why I’m supporting projects like Refugee tech, building communities like Startup Grind and hosting seminars like Nordic Heroes.
So what the f*ck are you doing? It’s time to start taking action. It’s time to lead the future.