Sometimes, these tribal affiliations push us to become better versions of ourselves. We take a long-term view, check our selfish impulses and work hard to meet the high standards of those around us.
– Seth Godin
Sometimes you read something that hits you hard. Yesterday was one of those moments while reading Seth Godin’s daily blog post (http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2017/03/the-best-of-us-the-worst-of-us.html). I’ve enjoyed Seth’s books and ideas finding them easy to grasp and connect to. Like a lot of things. The point of the post was simple. Our associations impact us. They can bring out the best or worst in us. When I reflected on this point, the quote above came into sharp focus. Looking at my current work the quote seemed almost cruel. It was completely opposite of everything driving me today. Such a circumstance is ultimately untenable.
Writers like Godin often speak of aspirations for better World, a better workplace that makes all of us better. My managers read these books all the time (Daniel Pink’s book “Drive” comes to mind). I’ve opined that the distance between the workplace espoused in these books and where I work is vast. The management seems to be actively working to make things worse and worse. On the other hand they are always reading these books or going to the Harvard Business Review for advise. Do they really think that they are applying anything to their actual work? It would seem to me that they are completely delusional if they think their actions follow from any of this advise.
I once worked somewhere that pushed me to be better. It was a wonderful place where I grew professionally every day. The people there were generous with their knowledge. Collaboration was encouraged. It was also a rough and tough place to work. The culture was aggressive and combative. There was plenty of bad behavior and conflict. Nonetheless it was an incubator for me. It changed me for the better and filled me with desire to improve. It was also a place that had run out of time so we systematically destroyed it. Perhaps it was a place that can’t exist in today’s world, but it would be good to create places like it that can. We should all aspire to create places that make us better, that help us grow into the best versions of ourselves.
I rewrote Godin’s quote to reflect how work is changing me (at the bottom of the post). It really says something needs to give. I worry about how many of us feel the same thing. Right now the workplace is making me a shittier version of myself. I feel that self-improvement is a constant struggle against my baser instincts. I’m thankful for a writer like Seth Godin who can push me to into a vital and much needed self-reflective “what the fuck” !
Sometimes, these tribal affiliations push us to become worse versions of ourselves. We take a short-term view, give into our selfish impulses and become lazy to meet the low standards of those around us.