Navigating Your Life (and Work): It’s Time to Dive Deeper into What Makes Us Human
I was reminded this morning about the top five regrets of people dying in a Youtube video I started to watch and recognized #3 as yesterday’s day #34 of #365DaysofSanity about getting in touch with our feelings, even in the business world.
“When you draw or paint a tree, you do not imitate the tree; you do not copy it exactly as it is, which would be mere photography. To be free to paint a tree or a flower or a sunset, you have to feel what it conveys to you: the significance, the meaning of it.” Jiddu Krishnamurti
Many people today apologize for expressing sadness or grief. And maybe there are people who also feel a bit guilty when they are joyful. While many of us have learned to masterfully suppress our emotions, some of our feelings can show up in a matter of milliseconds. According to research, our brain reacts emotionally in about 100 milliseconds and our thinking brain, our cortex, takes 600 milliseconds to register this reaction. By the time you make a decision that you are better offer not showing that you are sad or angry, your face already expressed it for 500 milliseconds.
To be human is to feel. Just like with the spectrum of colors, we are gifted with an array of emotions to experience in our lifetime. Emotions are sparks of passion and desire of what we want to create in the world — whether it is painting a tree or diving into a conversation during a walk in the woods.
Crying, which we have been taught not to partake in public, and especially at work, has many benefits that are not discussed. Tears that are produced by stress. It not only cleanses our body, it helps us get rid of chemicals that raise cortisol, the stress hormone. A good cry can also be a good way to kill bacteria. A University of South Florida study found crying can be self-soothing and elevate mood better than any antidepressant.
To Innovate and disrupt, we need to feel every range of human emotion
There are many people trying to teach us how to innovate with cookie cutter solutions that make them wealthy. And many people today are so caught up with our business influencers, gurus, and celebrity culture that we do not question how successful they have been in disrupting and innovating a marketplace. It is a sign of our time when so many talk more than they really do.
Our intuition may tell us they are full of hot air but our own courage and ability to take risks versus staying in our comfort zone gets tested and we don’t always like that. Too many people today enjoy feeling comfortable and safe within a system that is cracking every day. And if we opened our eyes, we would see vast opportunities instead of more problems to be tackled. We would trust ourselves to dream, innovate and co-create a healthier and saner system, which is what is possible in today’s emerging human-to-human purpose and experience driven era.
It is a bit insane to think that we can bring innovation and creativity into our work and life without experiencing some level of disappointment or failure. How else can we innovate if we don’t test different paths and experiment?
Isn’t it time to dive deeper into our feelings and find ways to connect with ourselves and each other. What else is there, really?
We can address issues like loss of productivity by creating a new path forward
Unhappy workers cost the U.S. between $450 and $550 billion in lost productivity each year, according to a 2013 report on the state of the U.S. workplace. Another study found that poor job performance stemming from insomnia drains more than $63 billion from the US economy each year. And these studies are only reflective of the US workforce.
While it’s noble to have happy employees, what more and more people are seeking is meaning and purpose in their lives. People want their work to matter — whether they are pouring a cup of coffee that provides an amazing experience for another person or whether they are selling a product they believe in that makes someone else’s life better. It’s that simple. People want to show up as their whole selves and do work that matters.
Part of the current challenge is that someone sold us leaders the belief that what we need most is to create happy and optimistic workplaces, which realistically do not tap into the whole range of human emotion. We have to arrive on the job and be engaged and happy. And somehow in 2017, furniture is still an asset on your financial balance sheet and people are a liability. How have we architected organizations based on structure that only superficially call out the people element and then require us to be happy and optimistic at work? We have a HUGE opportunity today to address this gap by creating new business models, where PURPOSE + PROFIT includes the people elements in new and ancient ways. More and more people of all ages are seeking meaning in how they live their lives. Our organizations would be far more innovative if we stopped doing re-organizations and focused our attention on our true business strategy that ignites the human imagination and capacity to co-create (aka work).
Imagine, for one moment, that at work we could communicate openly, work out loud and work with a deep shared purpose. What would you be creating? Would your company be concerned about attraction or retention programs or would you and your peers be on fire living your dream (aka, shared purpose of the business that even your grandmother would understand)?
What else is there? Let’s live life with as few regrets as possible. Let’s see the vast opportunities for experimenting, innovating and living to our full potential. Can you remember the times you were a kid, when you fell down and scraped your knee? Did your knee heal? Did you get up and try again?
Now, there are many people who will tell you the purpose of life; they will tell you what the sacred books say. Clever people will go on inventing various purposes of life. The political group will have one purpose, the religious group will have another, and so on and on. And how are you to find out what is the purpose of life when you yourself are confused? Surely, as long as you are confused, you can only receive an answer which is also confused. If your mind is disturbed, if it is not really quiet, whatever answer you receive will be through this screen of confusion, anxiety, fear; therefore the answer will be perverted. So the important thing is not to ask what is the purpose of life, but to clear away the confusion that is within you. It is like a blind man asking, “What is light?” If I try to tell him what light is, he will listen according to his blindness, according to his darkness; but from the moment he is able to see, he will never ask what is light. It is there..”
— Jiddu Krishnamurti
Ask yourself, how can I connect with the people on the path with me who see business as the most powerful force organizing humanity and want to truly practice innovation? How can we thrive in the 21st century by tapping into our full potential?
You know what to do next … reach out … start the conversation …