A Progress Paradox
Updated: Jun 24, 2019
My Dad sent me the image with the four apes this morning which I initially found funny. After a couple of hours, I looked at it again and pondered for a while. This is certainly where we are today, which is the result of decades of innovation. I moved to the UK about 10 years ago and back then I never thought that I would be using phones as I do nowadays, amazing indeed, a clear evidence of what human beings can create when they set their minds to it.
I love looking at progress and the mindset behind it, because it’s no secret that to make progress, failure is needed, and how we approach failure will be key in how we evolve in life. So, how do you face failure? Do you even call it that? Do you use it to learn or to hold you back?
The picture also worried me a bit, because it shows that we are somehow compromising our humanity by relying too much on internet and similar technologies to interact with the rest of the world. There are wonderful benefits, for instance, I can speak to my family and friends anytime despite their location and at the same time, I’m missing great moments when I’m surrounded by the people I love for being on the phone, where is the balance? I wouldn’t like my children to be brought up in a world where we don’t talk to each other anymore, would you?
When I take this to the business world, there is no wonder why it’s becoming increasingly difficult for companies and organisations to develop cohesive and effective teams, capable of proactively dealing with conflict and providing feedback. Shyness seems to be taking over and assertive confrontations are less and less common. Leaders don’t know how to be candid and at the same time motivate their teams, speaking in a room full of people apparently is only for the experts, and the list goes on and on.
I like the above paradox, because the great progress has also had a negative impact on all of us, so how can we deal with it and turn it around? I guess a quick way for me to start would be by using the progress mindset that created the problem in first place to find a solution and learn from it.
For example, if I wished to improve my relationships with the people I surround myself with most of the time, first I would make myself aware of the situation and what I think is causing it, then I would set my desired outcome and finally, I would look for the tools required to achieve it, i.e. if I wanted to become more outgoing (Strategy to move away from shyness) where could I learn it? Do I know anybody who is outgoing, and could I model him or her? The same applies if I wanted to be more assertive or if I were a leader, to be more radical candid. To become a professional public speaker, I would look for training, etc.
In the end, we can continue enjoying the benefits of technology, and if simultaneously we decided to embrace the challenges derived from it, we could carry on making progress and improving our lives.
The finding excellence journey never ends, you can always do better 😊
PS. Interesting to see what an image with 4 apes can trigger hehehe.
All the best,
Jose Luis Ucar
Excellence Coach at Finding Excellence