And, frankly, it is.
As we stumble towards Singularity, much evolves and with evolution comes rapid technology transitions, societal upheavals, climate change, political unrest, economic uncertainty, career anxiety and a tremendous amount of apathy.
All this contributes to friction. In physics, it is the force resisting relative motion. In our lives, it is the force that resists our motion, or advancement, in career, relationships, wealth, health and satisfaction.
Friction. Between man and woman. Between you and your boss. With your clients. Everywhere, all the time.
There is more resistance. To ideas. To evolution. We face a constant desire to hit the reset button.
Here are six reasons why we face more friction:
– CURSE OF THE JUGGLER*. Every juggler knows that the people he is trying to please will eventually request “One more! Juggle one more ball!” And it never stops until the juggler reaches his capacity to juggle. Then, typically, nearly every ball falls to the floor. In life, there will always be one more ball to juggle.
– EMPOWERMENT OF THE MASSES. I am old enough to remember hierarchy, chain of command, linear responsibilities and org chart control. Now we have empowered everyone to contribute to everything, all the time. While liberty of idea and expression is generally a good thing, nothing gets done well or rarely gets done right/on time/in budget. Instead of the highest quality cuisine — typically assembled under the experienced chef, you get a weak stew co-created by everybody in the room. Collaboration is wonderful, but at some point life demands leadership. To be politically incorrect: too many chiefs, not enough Indians.
– FAILURE TO COMMUNICATE. What? How so? We have the finest communication devices imagined. Smart phones that have access to all knowledge, texting, immediate access video, PDFs and more. Speed kills, as we all know, and in the world of expediency we are failing to communicate intelligently because there is less time to cogitate. We are not taking the time to think, because it is all keeps coming at us faster, through more channels, with greater volume.
– CULTURAL DIVIDES. I’m all for diversity — gender, race, nationality. However, in this warp-speed world we do not take the time or effort to effectively learn about, share and appreciate our differences. Diversity sounds great when it is a tagline on a motivational poster, but the reality is, like empowerment, society has thrown together a very diverse world into little cubicles and asked us all to collectively be productive. Reality check: cultures have conflict. Cultures have viewpoints. Cultures think differently. Cultures are educated differently. They communicate and interact differently — in some cases with significant gender and race bias or greater respect for older generations. It is all good, for the most part. But we don’t integrate it well. We still have grave ignorance of international cultural traits. We need more cultural socialization outside the workplace and workforce. This includes gender, sexual orientation, religious, ethnicity and beyond. What we don’t understand, we fear.
– TRANSHUMANISM. This will make your head explode, but it is a serious subject to contemplate. We are, in reality, evolving as a species and I don’t mean growing more webbed fingers, adding antenna, taking on a blue complexion or adding gills. We are transforming our human intrinsic qualities — with technology. Deep thinkers are conversing about this and believe we are going through that difficult time when our very physical and mental capacity is undergoing evolutionary change. From Wikipedia: Transhumanist thinkers study the potential benefits and dangers of emerging technologies that could overcome fundamental human limitations, as well as study the ethical matters involved in developing and using such technologies. They predict that human beings may eventually be able to transform themselves into beings with such greatly expanded abilities as to merit the label “posthuman”. One has to conclude this would cause friction.
– FEARING FEAR ITSELF. Things just aren’t stable in our world. Economic chaos. Confrontational cultural upheaval. Traditional business model failure. Odd weather. Rampant voices. Governments threatened. Tumultuous rebels. Receding glaciers. Poisoned seas. GMOs. We are surrounded by more boogeymen than any time in history. And 24-hour cyclic news broadcasters force feed heinous headlines to us like a tsunami. Fear of losing our jobs. Fear of clandestine bombers. Fear of Fear. Fear breeds friction.
I have found that one solution to all this friction is to “lubricate my life” by unplugging for a minimum of an hour a day. Solitary time, with no phone or computer. Solitary time, with no conversation or debate. Relaxation/recharging time, perhaps with some restful music, with a mind disengaged from business thoughts, relationship struggles, worldly news broadcasts.
Things are damned hard. The first solution is to find time for yourself. Like the mythology of Superman, build a Fortress of Solitude. Relax your body and mind every day. I even recommend taking a full day for yourself once a week. Sunday could be Unday — unplugged. We add to the complication of life by our own actions. We make things so damn hard by concentrating on the six factors above. Yes, they are in our lives, but you can turn the volumn down or turn it off altogether.
Disengage from the tumultuous ramparts. Engage yourself in some peaceful contemplation.
I am afraid if you won’t, if you don’t, no one else will resolve how hard your life truly has become.
*Curse of the Juggler is my book on 21st Century productivity presently in production. Request an advance complimentary copy by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll be glad to send you a free eBook version or PDF when published.