So it’s been a quite few months now since I’ve moved out into the burbs (and arguably longer since my last blog post). The first observation I’d like to make is that there seem to be no bounds to the capacity for a human being to adapt to their environment. At an extreme, let’s draw attention momentarily to the eskimos, or the Sherpa’s of Nepal, or the boat people to the north of Australia who live entirely out in the ocean… but more modestly again now, myself having moved from the warm bussom of inner city living out to the coldest out-reaches of suburbia. Ok fine, perhaps that’s not quite apples for apples, but I’m trying to make a point here.
Initially, I will admit, there was much wailing and nashing of teeth at this sudden and violent change in lifestyle, but since the initial shock to the system had gradually subsided through the passage of time and continued support of my friends, family and my co-workers, I have slowly adapted to make this new lifestyle work for me. The commute in and out of the city still blows (I mean, seriously, we’re in 2012… why are we still forcing people to endure peak hour traffic when so much technology exists to allow us to quite capably telecommute and collaborate on-line??), but a carefully negotiated flexible working arrangement has allowed me to sooth the burn a little by breaking up the monotony of my 5 day working week into two mini “at-work” weeks, with the option of either working from home or a TOIL day to mix things up a little in between. For those who haven’t tried this themselves, you wouldn’t believe the absolute breath of fresh air and renewed enthusiasm this brings to ones work ethic.
But as with most new things, the novelty eventually wears off and dissatisfaction starts to creep its way back into perspective. And it’s this dissatisfaction which I’d like to discuss in a bit more depth now, as looking back on my own motivators in life (and arguably the motivators of many others), I think dissatisfaction is one of those fundamental emotional states that really drives innovation, pushes the entrepreneurial spirit and ultimately forms the basis for people to seek out a better life for themselves.
So what do I mean with; core dissatisfaction with the current state of play? In short, I’m talking about the refusal to accept the status quo – just because that’s the way it’s always been done doesn’t mean that’s the way it always has to be done. Have you ever paused to reflect on your life as it currently is and thought, surely there has to be more to this than suffering the same daily grind for 50+ years, in hope of one day retiring young enough to still make it to the toilet on time. If not, well I guess it’s also fair to say that everybody is different and we all have our own thresholds of pain before we decide to do something about it.
So just to be clear, I’m not suggesting we all down tools and reject the notion of work because we feel life is too short and we deserve better than this. Aside from the whole running out of money for food thing, I do actually believe that everybody has (or should have) a duty to contribute back to their community. I only suggesting that instead of mindlessly bending over and accepting the societally imposed conventions, that we seek to challenge these through innovation and new approaches to doing the things we’ve always done.
It’s only through innovation that new and exciting opportunities emerge, offering fresh approaches to often old and out-of-dated ways of doing things. This doesn’t have to be something which you have to come up with from scratch – you can also leverage off the innovations of others. For example, iPhones and iPads were the brain child of innovations legend, Steve Jobs – however through these devices, a world of opportunities was created through mobile applications development and the creation of truly interactive user experiences through these direct touch interface devices.
Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook gave the internet community an unprecedented capability for online sharing and collaboration through his social media platform. And through his innovation was born a new generation of opportunities in tightly social media engaged and connected websites, communities and mobile phone apps, as well as group-buy sites such as groupon.com – not to mention an entirely new era of demographic and interests based targeting for online advertisers.
Google’s own adoption of social media with Google Plus, coupled with their Android mobile operating systems are already shaping the next frontier of augmented reality, complete with full social-media immersion!
… where would we be now if not for all these creative minds constantly challenging the norms to seek out better ways of doing things?
We’ve all heard the saying, “necessity is the mother of all invention”. By not accepting to continue along with something just because that’s the way it’s always been done… by being dissatisfied with the current state of play… only then can we start to identify the gaps between how things currently are and how things can or should be. With each evolution of technology, a new wave of opportunities presents itself. So for those who’ve already closed the door on this by saying “all the good ideas have already been taken”, stop staring at the half empty glass in front of you and start thinking about how you can build upon what’s now available to you in the space above the water line.