The Boat is Leaving, and No, You Can’t Bring Your Baggage With You.

Illustration by Kyle Pierce (source: http://kylepierceillustration.com/New-Slow-City)

Our generation is on the cusp of a major paradigm shift.

We have the opportunity right now to shift out of the current reigning about-to-be-dethroned paradigm of being which is marked by lack, disenchantment, and throwaway culture — into a paradigm on the horizon which our thought leaders of today and plugged-in innovators have already left to forge their mark on (and build a nurturing ecosystem for), but whose primetime has not yet hit.

The current reigning about-to-be-dethroned paradigm resigns you to mantras such as: “It doesn’t matter anyway”; or has you focus on one-upmanship like, “I’m going to overpower your noise with my noise”; and has you view your peers as competition encapsulated by the sentiment: “There is not enough pie to go around for all of us… so I will survive at the cost of you.”

It is by the old paradigm’s design that you are resigned and disconnected from the very things that truly fulfill you and leave you full of gratitude.

It’s pretty much a sinking ship and what land there’s left to stand on is used up, polluted, scarce in resources, and full of ways of being that no longer work or serve anyone.

Despite how we got here, let’s focus on how to GTFO.

The Paradigm Shift is Happening Now.

The paradigm on the horizon — in contrast — is a new untapped land where opportunity is in surplus and our thought leaders of today will be its future champions. You’re invited to join if you value adaptation, a quest for expanding self-knowledge, and a need for contribution. And you should join to reap in its vast set of career and life opportunities.

However, as these two paradigms exist in separate and distinct worlds and their founding principles are literally binary opposites that cannot exist beside each other, you must leave behind behaviors and mindsets of the old to enter into the new.

It is no longer acceptable to be half-asleep at the wheel of your own life. The new paradigm is marked by: purpose-driven functionality, niche specialization as defined by oneself, open communication, community collaboration, ecosystem formation, surplus opportunity and hence we see everyone there forging out on their own to iterate on previously unimagined ideas of what we can build in this vast new landscape. In order to participate, you’ve got to be fully present and connected to your most innovative possibilities. Does this start to explain why we’ve seen so much of the zeitgeist over the past 10 years rallying around learning to be present again? It all connects, I guarantee you.

The arrival of the era of technological ideation has given our thought leaders of today new hope well within reach of our lifetimes, and they are now fully focused on growing a culture of innovation and possibility with no room to compromise and no space for bad seeds to poison a burgeoning culture of sensitivity, nuance, and tapping into oneself and any / all sources that enable us to push the needle forward for what we know is possible today.

Illustration by Kyle PIerce (source: http://kylepierceillustration.com/New-Slow-City)

Your peers and your community will call on you for what niche or vertical you are going to offer, so start thinking on it. Ignore the bullshit out there that tries to tell you following your passion will lead you nowhere practical, as well as the absurd media-perpetuated FOMO that your chance to make a big impact is reserved for overnight instafamous celebutantes, so you might as well settle back into your life of ad-plastered noise where they tell you, pop that feed back open and scroll and flick your way down a tunnel you’ll never reach the end of; you’re going to run on the hamster wheel until you get exhausted, then you’re going to get back on and run again. This… is the good life! Fuck them. Neither of those camps can or ever will hit the nail on its head.

What you need to do is connect with your core seed; what drives your own sense of personal fulfillment. Then, take that seed and work your ass off to experiment, create, and iterate on a value offering until you’ve found the balance between what you want to provide to others and something the marketplace wants. An encouraging note: marketplace want will continually shift and change as the marketplace grows so you also need to be adaptable. If the thing you want to provide isn’t currently in demand, iterate a second or third best option, but don’t be discouraged and trash your 1st prize idea. In the constructs of our new paradigm where we are connected to and learn to trust our intuition again, I can assure you there will be a time when you can introduce #1 again when the currents change. Hold onto your hand of cards, and keep building it up.

Thirdly, you also need to connect enough dots within yourself mentally and with all the resources you have access to, to develop a resulting mini ecosystem (call it a feedback loop, or call it a marketing sales funnel) around your core seed that you can survive and thrive off of your own seeds which you have planted.

Well If It’s on Its Way, Can’t I Just Wait for It to Come to Me?

What’s unique about the current reigning about-to-be-dethroned paradigm and the one on the horizon is again, that they are separate and distinct iterations of culture. They do not touch or overlap; they are not friends or get along; and there is culturally and metaphorically an ocean in between them.

Picture your very real situation like this:

You’re crammed into an overpriced 2 bdr tenement in Manhattan with 5 other mentally and emotionally sucked-dry people who’ve been doing it for so long they barely remember ever growing up in spacious suburbia, and their default M.O. is that job prospects are low, rent is high, and there isn’t really a clear roadmap of a fulfilling future, but we are all told that doing this New York thing is the pinnacle of it… is the top supposed to feel this bleak? Then one day you run into somebody especially cool and charismatic who tells you this:

Illustration by Kyle PIerce (source: http://kylepierceillustration.com/New-Slow-City)
“Hey, there’s actually a secret invisible second level of Manhattan hovering just above us in the sky AND there’s plenty of space there with opportunities that don’t exist on this level. The people are really driven, no-bullshit, talented souls who have the breathing room to survive and provide. So yea! You don’t have to be homesick anymore because that feeling of safety and home is a strong part of our community.”

This is actually happening right now. There are escalators and staircases bridging the old paradigm to this new level, and most of the ones I know of can be found in the New York’s thriving underground nightlife scene due to a strong alignment of values and principles with those of the new paradigm.

However, they are unapologetically guarded by gatekeepers as unforgiving as MTA turnstiles.

Illustration by Kyle PIerce (source: http://kylepierceillustration.com/New-Slow-City)

Many people will get the message #bleep: “Insufficient Fare”, even if they technically have ‘value’ on their card. So why is it no good?

What the Bouncer to the New Paradigm Is Filtering For

A few things:

  1. The currency the old paradigm deals in reeks of really bad, foul-play mojo. Our current culture sizes up one’s value and worth by the metric of money. However, our money system in the U.S. is founded on the principles that you never had it, you never owned it, it belongs to someone else, and the money you have worked hard for is loaned to you by someone much greedier who got there first, who wants it back plus interest. These are the basics of our money economics. It is founded on indentured servitude and a reminder that you lack, that you owe, and that you are living on borrowed time. Lest you get too comfortable, the rulers of this paradigm want you to always feel that at any moment the other shoe may drop.. whenever those in power choose to on you.
  2. In our new paradigm, we do not want you bringing in these nauseating constructs on what makes something valuable. We know deep down you know this is flawed and don’t want to bring this with you either. Hence, your old paradigm’s currency is non-transferrable.
  3. You can generate currency by another means in the new paradigm, and all that’s required is yourself! This sought after currency is your passion to live, to provide for those you care about (friends, family, community), and to come up with valuable beginning-to-end offerings that leave them fulfilled and better off. Likewise, others will be actively working to bring the same rewards to you. You do make a loan in this paradigm, but the great thing is that these loans are not designed to put you in a lacking mindset, quite the contrary. We ask you to rise to your potential and complete on all goals you set.
  4. This is not hubu-habu jibber talk — we’ll expand on this shortly, but if you want to see examples of this mindset open the App stores. Frankly, everything you see there is a direct testament to the new era where you get to dictate what can serve society next, and where you choose what you dedicate your life’s work to.

Take heed especially if you are one who wants to connect again with their reservoir of unbridled youthful opportunity, yet are finding only a shriveled wad of black tar lodged with lint in the corner of your pocket as you pull out empty handed. We’ve given you permission since like 20 minutes ago to plug back into your fresh running stream of ideas, life, passion and value.

The group worst off will be those who have become perfectly content with their no-remorse routine of showing up to any function with nothing to give and ready to take: “Sorry man, I don’t have anything on me. But listen, could you hook a guy up with a favor? Let me into this party (cuz I hear there’s plenty to take)!”

The people, groups, and communities who are innovating now (aka. dictating the direction of culture) believe in gratitude, communication, confidence, self-knowledge / self-understanding / self-worth. That’s the only way to create something distinct and new: if you full-heartedly believe in the opportunity to do so. Much like dating, if you only put in 50% effort… well, you’re not gonna walk out with a 100% all-in relationship experience I guarantee you that. Similarly, if you only believe with 30% that a new paradigm ripe with opportunities is possible, you’ve only moved 30% of the distance away from the old paradigm to the new paradigm.

Ask a 12–18 year old right now if you don’t believe me. Unless they’ve had shitty parents or mentorship who have shut them down with their own insecurities, they probably haven’t taken on the baggage that our previous generations have and have no problem jumping into and fully being a part of the new cultural paradigm. And cause they aren’t jaded and embittered yet, they’ll probably choose to camp at wherever people are having more fun at.

The new paradigm stays fun, bright, and full of opportunity so long as the old paradigm of thinking with its toxic, shrinking pie mentality is forced to be left at the gateway.

Let’s put this into perspective with history.

The industrial age gave us behaviors where we shut ourselves down to ignore our inner voices. It was an era of mental slavery and physical servitude marked by giving up your power to perform a function en masse for someone sitting atop in a clock tower that was usually a compromise from your own will and calling. People who came of age and survived this era did so by adapting necessary but unhealthy coping behaviors. Clocked: they disconnected from their bodies’/minds’/and spirits’ voice that they were dedicating their living hours to something they didn’t believe in doing.

We’ve spent so long indoctrinated into shutting ourselves down that we’ve forgotten these behaviors were originally adopted as the “lesser of two evils” — the greater evil being to feel your own suffering from betraying your own will. We can fully discard the mindset of this era now. We don’t need to pass our survival practices down to the next generation.

Let’s also call out why we’re currently so socially marked by a rampant sense of lack, scarcity, and learned helplessness. The past 15+ years in America have been marked by fearmongering, and an internalization that never being safe (aka. complete) is somehow our norm; from the trauma of 9/11, into the middle east, into the housing market scandal, to the financial collapse, to Wall Street getting off scot-free, to prolonged economic recession, and accelerated media noise chipping away at our self identity in order to sell our self-worths back to us in the form of likes, views, and shares… and FOMO—so no wonder we’ve given up trying to man the steering wheel of our own lives.

The technological revolution is a return to standing in one’s own power and ability to meaningfully contribute in a way where the level of impact has the potential to be immeasurable. Sounds intimidating? Maybe yes, but it an open pasture of opportunity defined only by the limits of one’s own mind and it comes with the opportunity to really feel fulfilled in what you’re doing, and to be fully present in your own life. As a society, we really haven’t been afforded this in forever and a day.

For current evidence of this, look at apps in the app store, in audiobooks, all other forms of self-publishing, etc. What we see is individuals, or small collectives iterating their idea of what the next step forward for society can look like.

The new paradigm is built on values which lets us: tap into our ability to innovate, maintain the sensitivity to connect nuanced unexplored dots together, and have the freedom to express our vision for what’s possible for humanity to an international audience no matter how vague / fleeting / unformed the idea currently is.

By necessity and demand, these qualities include: openness, freedom from judgment, flexible thinking, excitement, gratitude, compassion, connection to self, connection to possibility, and confidence in oneself and in all those you support.

Illustration by Kyle PIerce (source: http://kylepierceillustration.com/New-Slow-City)

People in the dying paradigm tend to scoff and say about the gratitude paradigm: “You want me to what? Ha! What kinda lame hippie bull is that shit.” They are resigned to the broken rules of the reigning paradigm: harden yourself, sensitivity and vulnerability is for the weak.

This is incompatible with the foundation of the new paradigm.

Oh, and about where the staircases and escalators are? Look to underground nightlife where creativity, self-expression, and sense of community are going strong. It’s a strong cultural alignment to the mores of our thought leaders, so no wonder some of our best minds are passing through there.

Want to acquire the mindset of possibility and opportunity? Nightlife is a great training ground to gain the mental conditioning to embody and really take on learning how to let go and truly connect again with yourself, and with your community. It’s an open public space welcome for all to come, but there are fierce guardians in place who are alertly moderating the shifts in vibe and openness of the space. Because the entire point of truly great nightlife culture is to see you let your hair down, let go, express yourself in your unique flare, and learn to stand in your own light and power — you’ll find that the guardians of the space are also some of your strongest supporters. They want you to carry your own. Simultaneously, that’s exactly the demands of the new paradigm landscape as well.

So to say it one last time — Honey, the boat is leaving. And no, you can’t bring all that baggage with you.