“Embrace your individuality” – I love that phrase and for me, it means having the confidence to be honest with yourself and others and often standing away from the crowd. I recall my granddad frequently telling us as children..
“When you see people walking together toward something, stop for a moment and consider whether you are better to walk in a different direction alone…”
We don’t have to walk in the opposite direction to others, as sometimes it’s only a small shift that is required, to enable us to walk the path that aligns with our personal values and beliefs.
Making that shift, will feel more comfortable than if you tread the path of others when it isn’t fully aligned with your core values…
Let me give you a personal example…
I have been a great believer in the importance of ‘family’… it’s definitely one of my ‘core values’. However, working longer and longer hours over recent years, contributed to an unhealthy work life balance and when I was eventually diagnosed with Diabetes, I was forced to recognise that I was living ‘outside’ of my core values..
I was spending too much time at work and although I made sure I spent time with my family as well, I wasn’t being ‘honest’ as I was often exhausted and therefore not fully ‘present in the moment’…
For a period, I had lost sight of my core values and beliefs and I was therefore living ‘at odds’ with them…
I look around and see that more and more people are ‘living at odd’s’ with their values and suffering illness, stress and even death as a result. That feeling of being ‘stuck on the hamsters wheel’, having to run faster and faster to keep up.
There have been so many changes in the last 30 years in how we work. It was interesting to see that in 1946, workers were fighting for the 40 hour week and yet here we are 70 years later, with many of us working far more than this.
Access to the internet has been wonderful and opened up a whole new world and yet on it’s downside, it’s changed the expectations of how we work, with companies expecting us to check our emails at night or we simply feel that we have to ‘log on’ as soon as we ‘get home’..
The lines between work and home have for many people blurred and often results in a negative impact on our our relationships and our mental health.
The Asian work ethic was hailed as ‘the best’ way back in the 1970’s with the rise of Japanese car manufacturers like Toyota and here in the UK.
I recall attending management training where we were taught some of those management principles and yet even by the 1980’s, the impact of those stringent methodologies was impacting on the mental health their workers.
We are probably all aware of the ‘Suicide Nets’ that are being used in China and Japan to prevent workers ‘jumping to their death’…
We currently live in a world where more and more politicians, business leaders and bosses are shouting loud about the need to ‘BE MORE PRODUCTIVE’.
Here in the UK we’ve adopted many of those ‘Best Methods’ that were hailed in the 1980’s… We’ve closed many of the British car manufacturing factories and Japanese manufacturers have opened car plants here in the UK instead.
Many of our ‘core’ manufacturing businesses have been taken over by foreign investors and the philosophy of working harder and harder has crept into many of our workplaces.
As individuals, we feel the need to ‘keep up’ with the pressure for fear of losing our jobs…. and yet, do we really want to work in this way?
Are we now seeing the negative impact of some of those principles that were hailed as ‘The Best’ in the 1980’s including:
- Breakdown of Family life
….. to name but a few.
Yet we continue to hear that ‘being more productive’ is the way forward.
We want to purchase things ourselves ‘on the cheap’ but at what cost is this to our lives and to the society we live in?
In my view, it’s often at a cost to our health and the health of others and increasingly, we are competing with ‘robots’, which results in increasing unemployment…
Here in the UK, we no longer have the British manufacturing industry we were once so proud of. Even where we do continue to ‘manufacture’, we find that many of those companies aren’t British and rely on hefty foreign investment, which is often from China.
Are we building a ‘noose’ around the businesses of this country, where we hand the rope to those large Corporations who then choose when they’ll pull the cord tight and will ultimately ‘hang us out to dry’?
We turn a blind eye to the ‘slave labour’ principles that are often adopted across Asia, because it has meant we are able to buy ‘cheaper’ goods and indeed those same principles of working harder, longer and for less money are now part of our society too.
We increasingly see the new ‘phenomenon’ creeping in by stealth… ROBOTS …
Having adopted ‘robotic’ principles in many organisations for ‘real workers’, we now see artificial intelligence and robots being used more and more to take over ‘real people’s’ jobs.
This would be all well and good if we moved toward a life where we could be ‘paid a great wage’ to stay at home, live great and exciting lives and do the things we enjoy…
Somehow though, I suspect that it is more likely that profits will increase for the shareholders, Chief Executives and Business Owners, leaving an even larger gap between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’ ….
Increasingly, we have become aware of the ‘non tax’ culture of the large Corporations… they simply don’t want to take any responsibility for being part of Society and yet continually put the pressure on workers to improve productivity and we run faster and faster on our hamster’s wheel to keep up, in order to ‘maximise profits’ for the Shareholders or the ‘Bonuses’ for the ‘Fat Cats’….
Have a read of Matthew Loomis’s take on this, it makes an interesting read…
Maybe instead, more countries should take a leaf out of Bhutan’s book, where the priority and focus is to provide a ‘Happier’ Country to live in and thus assessing their laws, policies, business decisions against the measure of Gross National Happiness….
“If the government cannot create happiness for its people, then there is no purpose for government to exist.” – Legal code of Bhutan (1729)
“Gross National Happiness is more important than Gross Domestic Product.” – His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck, the Fourth King of Bhutan
“Gross National Happiness measures the quality of a country in more holistic way and believes that the beneficial development of human society takes place when material and spiritual development occurs side by side to complement and reinforce each other.” – His Majesty Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, the Fifth King of Bhutan
Yes – surely that’s an example we can learn from.. a Nation focussed on making lives of their citizens happier and where the measures are of Gross National Happiness (GNH) and not of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which is a key measure of ‘success’ for the rest of the world!
I think in the World we now live in, we often get sucked into believing what we see and hear on the News and Social Media or by Politicians, Religious Leaders, Fanatics and ‘Role Models’ in Film, TV and Sport. We get drawn into societal ‘norms’ … thinking it’s ok to do something just because we see others doing it or we’re told it’s ‘The Right Thing’….
We can continue to be ‘sucked in’ to popular beliefs or we can think those things through for ourselves and become clear on our personal values and beliefs. 4 Ways to Develop your Personal Values List and help you to Lead A Life Worth Living!
We sometimes ‘go along’ with the popular view because we don’t have the confidence to say what we truly believe deep within our hearts. 8 Ways to Help Improve Your Confidence.
If you are clear on your core values and you work on your confidence, you may find that you can start to ENJOY standing out from the crowd and standing up for what you believe is right.
Maybe we will even surprise ourselves and others may actually listen and start to follow our lead and embrace making small changes that could lead to a massive shift in the world we live in….
Maybe then all Countries could place Gross National Happiness as their measure of success!
What do you think?