Scientists have been studying human nature for as long as we can find records, as far back as ancient Egypt, 3-4,000 years ago and Hindu culture’s even older. But in spite of this lengthy research period, nobody got it right. I mean, generically, you can’t say that Buddhists, Hindu’s, Christians, Moslems or Jews got the answer. However, they do all think their watch tells the right time. So let’s not mix spirituality with religion here in this conversation.
Academia doesn’t have the answer either. They can’t even tell you why mental health problems happen without prescribing medication or labelling people “insane.” They too compete, and operate within a limited frame of reference.
And, culture’s don’t have it either. As fast as one community believe they’ve got it sorted, the world evolves and people change. Human nature keeps revealing itself with astonishing surprise. Bhutan, which markets itself to naive tourists sells “happiest country on earth” – but if you go there with eyes open, you learn, they haven’t got it together any better than Burma. Genius and mind powers are still being explored. It’s a frontier as exciting as the exploration of Mars but it’s still a work in progress.
I would like to present you with a fourth alternative. A potentially giant leap forward, not academic, not religious, not manipulative, not through a more predictive model of human nature, but through a predictive model of human demand.
- Individually we need to recognise and plan for demand on our productivity to grow exponentially over the latter half of our lifetime. Hence, instead of considering the idea that we can slow down at 40 or 50, we must at that time, stop and turn our process around and accelerate into the future. Simply this means, to stop using time or emotion (life energy) to generate results from mid life – 30 years of age – onward.
- Recognise that any person who fails to adapt and evolve to this mid life demand for an acceleration in their process will struggle, they will age rapidly, they will not find new ways of doing what they used to do. They will become uncompetitive and irrelevant and possibly gravitate to safe jobs, old school leadership, cultural trauma in order to maintain their sense of control of life. They will bring upon themselves stress and an unnecessarily difficult trip forward.
- Everything in nature evolves, from the tiny blade of grass to the tallest building in the world, to DNA and antibiotics. All evolves, including individuals, business’, nations, and the planet. The simplest definition of human evolution is to get more done in less time. Witness this acceleration in the speed of flight, technology transfer, communication, thought and food. Hence, rather than a static definition of human nature, consider an adaptive one, one that has four unchanging questions hard wired into their heart but an ever changing environment that will never let those four questions have answers that stick. This is the fun of life.
- Drama and discomfort come when the answers to those four questions no longer serves as a ground zero for life. This drama, stress or discomfort can be beneficial as long as it stimulates a change of mind and a consequential change of process. Therefore, instead of talking about stress prevention, and wasting the opportunity for new frontiers of personal adventure, seek new answers. Forget engagement and resilience and those other life quenching models that presume discomfort to be negative or bad. Instead, search for process that enable rather than disable people. When your stress responses are triggered you’ve got proof that you’ve evolved. You’ve hit a frustra, like a growth ring in a tree. Those do not tell trees to shrink smaller or get therapy. Those frustra growth rings tell trees, well done, another mountain to climb and more space to grow, expand and do your thing.
If we can see stress, drama and challenge in a positive light it means we have taken the foot off the brake and will be able to move, rather than to avoid stress, but to grow from it. All you have to do is throw away your current answers to those hard wired internal heart driven questions and create four bigger answers. It’s that simple.