Our modern culture continually preaches the mantra of “more.” More profit, more employees, more sales, more material possessions, more Facebook friends, more food, work more hours, get more out of people or vendors, more everything.
How about different not more?
How does more, and then more still, work for us as a society? Has it worked for us organizationally? Mathematicians know that exponential growth eventually grows to a size in which the element of growth takes over everything else in its path. Exponential population growth, for example, cannot be sustained, and indeed many environmental scientists have theorized that we have already exceeded the carrying capacity of the planet.
Economist on the other hand have not yet reached the very basic mathematical truth that continuous exponential growth¬—the more, more, and then more still of corporate culture—is not sustainable and is leading us to an inevitable crash course with fate. The fate of constant business growth is that it requires constant exponential population growth to feed the continuous need for growth in consumption. And, the continuous growth in consumption leads us to what Prince sang about in his famous song, 1999, “Party over oops, out of time.”
Why is it that we’ve patently accepted the mantra of “more growth is always good” when we haven’t seen much evidence of it leading to a kind of society in which the greater good is served, or that we even talk much about striving for balance and harmony.
How about different not more?
Different is cool. Different is fresh. Different is vital. Different is taking a walk in the morning when it’s 15 degrees out—just for the heck of it. Different is embracing nature in all her extremes and instead of resisting her, accepting her. Different is leaving the corporate job with the golden parachute for the great unknown of creative pursuits. Different is endeavoring to love employees, vendors, suppliers, customers, and investors alike. Different is the small business providing full medical benefits or the large business having a childcare program, or caring about the stress level of employees or empowering people to lead or inspiring people to innovate. Different is investing in sustainability regardless of how it pencils out in Q1 or Q2, or even Y1 or Y2.
There is also an overwhelming amount of research that tells us that different also results in better financial performance. Here’s a prior blog on this paradox. Yet knowing this hasn’t moved the needled much. I think perhaps that different is too opposite to the accepted mantra of more, such that many people, perhaps most, cannot grasp.
Different is also hard for many people. Different is risky. Different means walking the less beaten path, transcending the norms, and risking failure. Different also means opening ourselves to criticisms from peers.
However, different is our salvation. It’s the one and only thing that will lead us to balance and harmony, to mutual coexistence with nature and with each other. It is also so much more fun and fulfilling. Why not be different? Just go for it.