The Millennial Ethos

Photo by Krystle Mikaere on Unsplash

85 percent of jobs that will exist in 2030 haven’t been invented yet” says a report from the Institute for the Future and over 20 business and tech leaders from around the world.  2030 is almost a decade from now. 12 years to be exact. Just a blip in comparison to the 13.8 billion years physicists estimate the age of this universe to be. Technology and  Moore’s Law is exponentially changing how we live our lives in this world. It’s digitizing our industries, our professions and our values. Yet, no one truly sees what exactly is happening around us. We look but don’t see, we listen but don’t hear. In the end the Millennial generation seemingly gets blamed in every conceivable manner. Millennials are deeply misunderstood and if I had a dollar for every time I’ve read blogs and articles or segments on the 24 hr news cycle blaming millennials for the collapse of large corporations and the killing of industries or proclaiming this generation is lazy, self-absorbed, materialistic and live in their parents basement, then I would have acquired a good amount of money by now. 

Millennials want more out of life.  They value new and meaningful experiences more than anything else. They want to travel the world, experience new cultures, meet new people and are genuinely intrigued by those who are different.  As digital natives, Millennials are more connected. They consume more information that any of the generations that have come before them. Millennials are highly driven. They want to feel inspired and follow their passions. They seek what makes them feel fulfilled. They seek an electric enthusiasm to their day to day lives. What else is the point of living if you dread 90 % of your time (which is work). Millennials care about making an impact and the social good. Most importantly they value self-expression. If all this is true, one can start to see why working 30 years at the same corporate job no longer appeals to this generation. Millennials are naturally more collaborative, entrepreneurial and creative. 

With the infrastructure of the world changing constantly most millennials feel it’s outdated and running on an operating system akin to Windows 95. It’s the remnants of  top down,  prescriptive and hierarchical programming that has benefited for far too long the chosen few and places the majority of the rest into rigid boxes. This old infrastructure through which our social fabric functions is not sustainable anymore. We’re overdue for an upgrade; just like a computer fixing its glitches and adding more features for greater usability. It’s that simple. When Oxfam says the ‘World’s richest 1% get 82% of the wealth’, it’s by design and I am not surprised. We’ve tried to output this process around the world, yet the paradox remains that if every single country lived lavishly as we did in America with all her innovations, inequities and complexities, our global environments would just implode. We need another way.

Robert Kiyosaki speaks of the 4 quadrants: Employee and Self-employed, Business Owner and Investor. Kiyosaki argues that 95 percent of the world lives in the first pair ‘Employee and Self-employed‘ and receive just 5 percent of the global wealth.  Most are living, consuming  and working for “the man” while hoping to increase their standards of living through a 40 hr work week that often brings them less choices, more stress and more struggles. The other pair ‘Business Owner and Investor‘ make up only 5 percent of the world’s population but receive 95 percent of the global wealth. Kiyosaki says these people are producers and creators and by that fact this often affords them more freedom and prosperity in their lives. We start to see that the DNA of our societies conspires always to integrate us within needed boxes, economic and professional cones rooted in the first pair.  Access to the other pair is hard. And to make matters worse, its gets increasingly hard to reach depending on the color of your skin, your gender and even the location you are born. To iterate this again, we need a new way and believe it or not I’m willing to bet on this Millennial generation to find that way. They just might hold the needed confidence and incredible creative power to pave the way for something new and break down those boundaries. Millennials have outgrown the clothes society has given them and now more than ever they are ready and hungry to move into the wealth creation mindset over the passive consumer one. 

I am often reminded of the TED Talk ‘Do Schools Kills Creativity?’, specifically the example Sir Ken Robinson gives of the 8 year old girl who could not sit down or focus in her classroom. She was always fidgety. She would often disturb the class and not turn in her homework. This little girl was eventually diagnosed with a learning disorder they claimed was ADHD. Her worried mother went to see a specialist. Halfway into their meeting, the specialist says to the little girl that he needs a moment outside with her mother. As he left the room the specialist turned on the radio to let the music flow loudly and told her mother outside to watch happens next. As soon as the music played the 8 year old girl got on her feet and moved to the beat of the song with her gifted rhythms. The specialist told the mother the reason her daughter could not sit still is because she’s a dancer. This same 8-year old girl who naturally spoke with her feet and movements is Gillian Lynn Sir Ken Robinson mentions. Gillian went on to influence the dance world in profound ways and became a multi-millionaire by following her gifts and passion. Similarly, many others across industries have become Pioneers by staying true to their obsessions and vocational callings.   

What if somebody had medicated her? Told her to be quiet? To stay calm and conform? To stay in her lane and her box? This is what the world has done. It has tamed all of us at great consequence. Millennials are not having any of it. Albert Einstein said it best, “If you judge a fish by its ability to fly, its going to think every day that it is stupid.”  I could not agree more. This is happening to so many people.  Corporations and industries are collapsing and morphing not because of Millennials but because their top-down approach no longer meet the needs of their employees in a fair and equitable way. They aren’t  adapting properly to how people have changed since the advance of technology and this new digital economy. 

How can one capture the Ethos of Millennials and help drive innovation in this changing world forward? It’s simple, follow what excites you the most and create unabashedly on your own terms. Take the risk, collaborate, experiment, fail forward and try again. The time is now to follow that fire which you can’t stop thinking about. That gut feeling that pulls your spirit up. For those who have not figured out yet, take more risks. Try many new things. Put yourself in uncomfortable work. Fully journey to discover what you like and what you don’t enjoy, do it fast, so that you can discover your gifts early on and can further develop them.  Mooji says “Step into the fires of self discovery, this fire will not burn you, it will only burn what you are not.” 

If you want to help define a better future and play a role in inventing these jobs that don’t exist yet, these new companies, industries, collaborative and digital processes, whomever you are, see and hear deeply this millennial generation’s calling, for they are well on their way.  

Originally Published on Millennial Complex

*If this speaks to you! Please share and follow my blog.

Advertisements

Syllble: a Startup in search of creating Magic and finding true Creativity

At Syllble (A creative community and collaborative Marketplace for writers), we are focused on building and finding the best culture and iterating the best possible process where writers, storytellers and people from all walks of life can collaborate through our collabRoom (MVP) production teams while harnessing their imagination and creativity in an unfettered way. The power in collabwriting lies in using the brain power of many people to look at a specific issue or idea than one person, it’s faster, more fun and yields better and faster results. In today’s sharing economy connecting people is easy but finding a structure that removes all barriers to creativity away from fear, time, lack of trust, judgment, experience, and hierarchy is hard. I believe as we refine this process towards this goal we will help people build the best stories (product) that we can connect to different markets: readers, filmmakers, and businesses.

Secondly we believe that our users deserve all the wealth and abundance they can receive from their creativity. We want to test this out in three ways — first connect their original content (products) to readers and a broad audience. Secondly, connect their original content with interested filmmakers, producers and animators. Thirdly, connect our more experienced writers and storytellers to businesses whereby they utilize the same process (CollabRoom) to design signature stories among other things that will fuel, motivate and inspire the employees of these business and build a culture that will lead to higher forms of productivity in the workplace, we believe this (businesses) in a Marketplace for writers is yet another form of wealth that can support writers in their endeavors and really give them the freedom to create and write more often.

Though this is a very big picture vision we believe that carefully iterating step-by-step, version by version while closely listening to our users and writers will be key in forming an early platform with a solid foundation that is really useful to their lives and their needs. So far in the span of three weeks we have formed four collabwriting teams (three teams in person and one online). We have 53 people in our growing Mailchimp email list. In our search for simplicity, they each have created together a short story while leveraging slack, google docs, Zoom conference call and Skype. Through observation and feedback so far we have learned a great deal in building a uniquely curated collabRoom for writers since the initial first batch of our initial market research (survey monkeys and personal interviews). Again, our immediate goal right now is finding a process where writers, freelancers and collaborators can freely create. Our promised is a book published in their names in three months.

Technology serves the mission, as a result if we can build this process while leveraging free and accessible tools to engage people to meaningfully collaborate and co-create, then building an online platform will be a simple endeavor. First building something people love and one that works is key and our priority.

Storytelling of Syllble

Why stories? We chose to first experiment with stories because stories are everywhere. We will never run out of stories. Stories can change the world for the better or destroy it. Stories can shape our behaviors and our way of thinking. Stories can indeed improve so much of our society and this is what we are doing with Syllble.

Research as even shown that people who readily read fiction are much more empathetic than their counterparts who don’t, because they are able to place themselves in the shoes of these characters in intimate ways.

I especially wanted to anchor the creation of Syllble fiction stories within specific principles that writers should keep in mind while building their fiction stories during the collaborative sessions:

1) Social commentary: how is this story whether science fiction, horror, romance, etc.. allows us to see something deeper of the human condition and the social ailments of our society today? This is what fiction was originally intended for back in the days.

2) Capturing the zeitgeist of the day: what different themes and events are happening around the world or in your own community currently? How do we capture these themes within fiction?

3) Hero’s journey: How so we explore these archetypes and myths? As they remains an essential process of storytelling that hits at the core of every existing culture around human history that has ever lived on the planet, one Joseph Campbell had clearly elaborated.

4) Create raw characters — show not tell: Create characters that pull and move people to feel in ways that had not before.

Inspiration for Creating Syllble Platform is Everywhere

Many things has inspired this shift in ‘writing’ we seek in the way we had originally conceived of Syllble here, in our hopes to try to bring some of these elements below within a platform that could sing all together for writers. Yet a major challenge remains not being able to filter all the feedback coming back out of the project, our strategic direction/vision, then deciding who to listen to, what to listen to get good business, product and professional direction:

1) Disruptive forces within the writing and publishing industry: Amazon “Print-on-Demand”, Audiobooks, Blogs, Ebooks.

2) The Martian by Andy Weir: He experimented in crowdsourcing and crowd-storytelling the science of his self-published novel “The Martian” which then became a successful movie. The Martian was not only successful because of the accuracy of the space science and his interesting storytelling methods but because those who had played an active role in the creation of the book where more willing to buy it after its completion. The very act of crowdsourcing and crowdstorytelling through Reddit was key in building an engage audience that had created buzz and social traction all around (an organic form of marketing) something many writers today lack.

The possibility remains endless in engaging different industries, fields, interest groups with fiction story writers that can fuse so much of the empirical or specific information that has been siloed within a specific jargon filled language. Fiction collaborative processes can spread that information to the to the mass in a creative way. Lets say fields of Biology, Economics, Art History, Urban Planning, Physics connecting with Story writers. What role can Syllble play in that connection? Could innovation and new discoveries in these fields follow suit?

3) Axe Cop: Axe Cop organically grew from the collaboration of two bothers into a now popular comic book and Television show. How can the collabRoom teams serve in creating decentralized production methods of building the next generation of superhero comics, graphic novels, animation shows, short films that can be entertaining and much more inclusive to different underrepresented voices.

4) Companies such as Disney, Pixar and Apple: The way they have engaged creativity, leading product design, company culture and vision.

5) Anime production: As an avid watcher of Anime (One Punch Man, One Piece, Naruto, Attack on Titans, Fullmetal Alchemist..) It’s always fascinated me to see how these manga have turned into television series.

6) Reddit WriteWithMe: Something very interesting has been happening in Reddit around Collaborative writing. There is a need.

7) Soho Artist in Residence NYC/WeWork: Could Syllble have creative office spaces inspired in different cities that enables and centers people to meet, create, focus and collaborate even more?

Everyone is a Storyteller

The next time you find yourself describing something that happened to you, to your friend, or something you saw with your own eyes, then you are a storyteller, yes you. All of these stories are stored deeply within us, in our memories and subconscious mind all brought together merging through our imagination. Flannery O’connor famously said, “Anyone who has lived to the age of eighteen has enough stories to last a lifetime”, I think this goes far beyond to express the deep well of creativity that’s lies hidden and unexpressed in all of us. Challenge yourself to create something that matters in the world. Visit our website Syllble.com and sign up to get more information on how you can explore your creativity and do some collabwriting. Do you have writers block? then sign up for Syllble and our initial beta testing. We promise you that your creativity will be unleashed. Through Syllble you can become a better writer, experiment and find the time to create with others.

In the next article, I hope to explore more in depth the self-prototyping process (Version 0.1 MVP) that I did with others before the first collabwriting group was even formed. I want to shared the story that was created, what were my initial learnings of the process, some of my struggles, thoughts and reflections. Also, expect an article on Syllble finances and the pricing strategies we will be implementing to test in our search to make this marketplace viable and a sustainable one.

Originally Published on Medium

On Happiness

Chester Higgins, Jr./The New York Times

Two prolific Poets and Writers – Amiri Bakara and Maya Angelou dancing at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem, New York in 1991.

 

What is Happiness? Is it finding fulfillment through a passionate career or a creative endeavor? Is it sharing laughers with good friends or holding your child for the first time in your hands? Or is happiness the awe we feel staring deep at a large sleepy sunset on a sandy beach or staring at the infinite ends of a night sky filled with vast clusters of distant suns and galaxies. Happiness might be all this but what exactly is it and how does one reach it in their lives?

For myself, the problem lies in posing that very question which presupposes that we can reach a state of perfectibility when we as humans are very imperfect. These imperfections I believe defines our existence today and are at the roots of understanding the complicated nature of happiness.

I’ve read too many positive psychology books and heard too many motivational Gurus who have created this false sense of knowing around happiness painted as reaching this sustained mental state and attitude at all times. Happiness as being in the ‘moment’ every day of the year or happiness as something that is far out in the future as this intangible creature dependent on that next job, vacation or promotion. At best, this false and dependent sense can render you lifeless, numb, empty and always wanting more, unfulfilled, or worst following a never ending rat race, always feeling the pressures of comparing oneself to others successes of these imagined moments of happiness or always measuring yourself up to how happy you’re ‘suppose’ to feel right now.

On my journey I’ve come to realize that it’s very important that we continually remind ourselves that we are imperfect species condemned to always reach for perfectibility in an imperfect world. The very art and soul of happiness is at the root of all this and you need to begin to reflect deeply this statement and how it connects to your own individual lives.

We are all filled with vices, polarities, extremities and rhythms, we are not static beings and the moment we see those things playing within ourselves and accept that we are bounded forever to these imperfections and in a rather meaningful way see those as part of the human experience and accept our inability to escape them; we set a foundation of truth. A very fertile and rich foundation of possibilities. With it, we begin to see others, the world and ourselves differently, much more real, one outside of the visceral grips of the ego. We begin to realize that our entire experience in striving for this Happiness is much more nuanced as you engage others and this world. It gives us alot of freedom actually. A bit of liberation to feel more, to fail more and get back up, to learn and express more in ways you never thought possible. This starts to deconstruct the ego and in the process makes room for the possibilities of experiencing peace as you appreciate life much more vibrantly and give gratitude to the things and people around you. Happiness is not the removal of our imperfections or our pains and sufferings, it is the incredible ability to be with these elements and emotions, all of it and it’s entirety.

Though, I have to admit there does exist many ingredients that can expand that foundation and ignite more freedom to experience more ‘happiness’ in ones life. For me, one of these ingredients is the notion of ‘Neuroplasticity’. The malleability and plasticity of the brain’s ability to shift and form new neural patterns and connections all throughout our lives from the day we our born to the very day we leave this world. As I said before we are not monolithic structures, we are always emerging into being and with a bit of focus, diligence and perseverance one can tap in to the power of this ’emergence’ and our interconnecting brain. We can adapt and learn a new language or a new musical instrument, tap into different modes of thinking and intelligences; we can form new healthy habits, and even unlearn old behaviors and patterns and we can do so much more.

The human species though endowed with it’s imperfectabilities, we are boundless beings, always emerging, and if we apply ourselves, much can change around us for the better, and if we unite through solidarity and work together, even on a large scale we can positively transform this small planet. We have seen this through powerful cultural movements as well as many political and social movements where a multitude of people and organizations have and continue to fight and push the societal envelope for more justice, more rights to disenfranchised and marginalized groups, thus making this world a little less imperfect and less static.

Living in A Hyphenated World

‘I am a citizen of the world!’ is a statement often espoused by many of this new millennial generation. These small growing streams of cosmopolitans continue to rise above the biases of their own cultures and traditions. They have adopted a Universalist lens rooted in an authentic understanding of their own complex cultural identities, how we relate as humans and interconnect with those who are different than us. Kwame Anthony Appiah, a philosopher and cultural theorist who has written on Cosmopolitanism defines it as ‘universality plus difference’ and says ‘the boundary of your state is not the boundary of your moral concern’.

Continue reading “Living in A Hyphenated World”

Why we should not colonize Mars?

I recently came across many articles, documentaries and talks throughout the internet that spoke with the popular terms of “Colonizing Planet Mars”. I had to pause each time, because I felt really uncomfortable with the way the narrative of having step foot in this new planet in our solar system was being presented. Seeing mars, in a new way and all it’s spectacular grandeur, marked the start of a new age of human exploration in space and I believe can bring a revolution of values in human consciousness if we allow it to, and for that to happen we have to be extremely cognizant on how we frame the narrative of this next dimension of our human story on our planet.

Continue reading “Why we should not colonize Mars?”

Redefine Culture Shock

This small project hoped to redefine culture shock as an opportunity to grow and challenge our assumptions we have of other people in this world. I wanted to utilize the power of photography and the power of stories by interviewing individuals to understand our human capacity to be resilient in times of challenges. We all hold a responsibility to fully understand this world by breaking down walls of stereotypes and recognizing the common humanity we all share.

We have forgotten how to live free and question our own narratives and assumptions. The spaces between us are filled by complex societal and cultural contexts that often breed ignorance and assumptions that eat away our humanity. Out of fear and misunderstanding we construct ‘the other’ in people living in our own communities to people living across the world. Conflict and violence are often propagated because of these misunderstandings. This projects raises awareness and fight against ignorance.

Continue reading “Redefine Culture Shock”