“Without you, the rest of us are without a source of many wonderful things.”—Leo Buscaglia
I heard an interview yesterday with Muhammad Yunus, the Bangladeshi Nobel prize winner who founded Grameen Bank.
Like me, he’s on a mission to overturn the dominant paradigm. The current economic model suggests that ambitious, talented people should go to college and then look for a job. With degree in hand, they should find a slot to fill within the existing structure.
But as Yunus whose bank gives out microloans points out, squeezing yourself into a slot is a limited ambition. By virtue of being human, you are innately creative. It’s in your DNA to be a go-getter, a problem solver. Fitting into a big machine will never be as interesting and satisfying as creating your own job.
Our culture, in case you haven’t noticed, is in the process of being rearranged. Thanks to the democratization of digital technology, anyone who wants to can create their own job. The tools are now available for all of us to be innovators, artists, inventors, entrepreneurs.
We live in a time when one person writing at the coffee shop can reach millions. We live in an era when anyone who wants can gain leverage and create a platform.
As Yusuf says, “All people are smart people. Being from a special business school doesn’t make you any smarter than anyone else.”
Right now, without securing another degree or taking another workshop, you have all the tools, all the resources you could ever need to create an insanely meaningful, productive and prosperous life.
Because here’s the thing. The world as we know it is toast. Nearly everything we counted on, invested in, believed in is, for all practical purposes, grinding to a halt. That’s why we’re seeing such dysfunction in the political realm. People who benefited from the old model are trying desperately to hang on in our rapidly changing world.
The old life plan (go to college, get a job) worked for a long time. It created jobs and wealth and lifted people out of poverty. But turns out, the American Dream, a term coined by Fannie Mae to convince two-income, post-World War II families to take out mortgages, has a Dr. Jekyll lurking in the back closet.
The only way to keep the old system chugging along is rampant consumerism. And besides, working really hard at someone else’s agenda will never satisfy our deepest needs.
But giving of our gifts will.
Any donkey can tear down a barn. But how many of us are willing to build a new barn, create a new world, an entrepreneurial world that works for all of us?
To echo the quote from Leo Buscaglia with which I began this post, your visions, your gifts, your creativity is sorely needed. I beg of you, please don’t deprive the rest of us of your unique vision.
Pam Grout is the author of 19 books including E-Squared: 9 Do-it-Yourself Energy Experiments that Prove Your Thoughts Create Your Reality and the just-released, Art & Soul,Reloaded: A Year-Long Apprenticeship to Summon the Muses and Ignite Your Daring, Audacious, Creative Side.