Updated: Aug 22, 2020
Einstein said the intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is the faithful servant and that we have created a society that has forgotten the gift. Yet there is an irony in this, because for many years there has been a raging antithesis between philosophy and science with the latter ruling the world and marginalising with its 'prove-it' protocols that enforce rules regardless. The phrase that "rules should serve man, not man to serve the rules" comes to mind.
Added to this, after the end of the war the narrative was "grow the economy", yet once the economy grew the narrative remained the same, resulting in a world where GDP and financial metrics have been put before the happiness of people. Our Western education system is a perfect case in point - a one-size-fits-all - schooling children towards this very same metric, which hugely fails those children who are not rational, scientific thinkers. After all, how do we measure compassion and empathy or the intuition of a Futurist, for instance?
We have financial metrics for sales, manufacturing and products as these things fit into the worldly construct of what is valuable, metrics that can be proven to add profit into the bank accounts of organisations. But for those of us with emotional ways of being, who are intuitive and have ways of 'sensing' - how do you measure us?
Yet it is not about measurement, however, the better question to ask is "are we satisfied with the world the way it is today?" Do we believe the world was created only for scientific, 'prove-it' types of people? Is there a 'crying out' for empathy & compassion within work places and people? If you have any unanswered questions around the ways of the world, perhaps you are part of a growing number of people who are realising the world can only function optimally if we are Interdependent and allow every person to contribute their unique gifts.
Adam Smith when he created Capitalism understood this - "liberate his gifts and the nation will be strong ...". That capitalism was misconstrued from Smith's knowing that "everyone had gifts to contribute and could therefore all add to a growing economy for the benefit of all people", has resulted in the inequity and inequality we have today.
In my work we measure what I term people's Intrinsic-Identity© through the use of an online assessment measuring how a person naturally thinks, feels and behaves, their intrinsic talent patterns and Strengths, their 'gifts'. These inform the true gifts and value that each person can contribute, provided the environment and roles are conducive and one can add skills, knowledge and passion to these natural ways of being. Our gifts leave us feeling energised from contributions that come naturally to us.
There are people in the world who are natural innovators, empaths, communicators, rule enforcers, thinkers, influencers, doers, people's people, etc. In fact Gallup have identified and measured 34 different types of natural ways of thinking, feeling and behaving. But it doesn't stop there. The dynamics between our Strengths are also pretty impressive. There is a 476 trillion chance of anyone having the same top 10 strengths in the same order as yours. Which makes the combinations between each person's 12-15 talent patterns, utterly unique. This begs the questions "what have we each been made for?"
For the world to function optimally we have to become interdependent
"Strengths and Interdependence must become mutually Inclusive"
What does this mean? In simple terms, this means allowing and creating environments where people can bring what they naturally contribute: with positive intent, without judgement and with a mindset that everyone is unique, in turn creating roles and environments for these attributes to flourish for all people.
The negative alternatives to Interdependence
The Three Negative Dependencies
When a person is 'pushed' to a dependency mindset they are not able to contribute. People with this frame of mind, tend to doubt themselves, and wait around for someone to tell them how and who they should be. Often they are paid for a full day's work but will only contribute half of their intrinsic value because the role and environment is not conducive to bringing their gifts. This is the same within a school environment where a child is 'forced' to learn something that goes against their natural inclinations.
There are people who operate from a Silo Mentality from what we term an Independent Mindset. What happens is people who think this way can over-contribute and often have attitudes of 'know-it-all' or "no one else understands, so let me do it". The narrative here is "work at all costs". But what is the impact of this behaviour? The stress that results does not stay with the individual. This can push others to feelings of dependency, waiting to be told what to do. At other times there will be a 'war of wills' where silo mentalities clash and egos 'go to war'. Either way, this creates enormous toxicity and ruins relationships. Work-a-holics often play to this Independent mindset. Is it any wonder divorce rates are the highest they have ever been when when partners spend so much time at work?
The final of the three negative dependencies is Co-dependence Mindset. When we see groups of people gossiping and keeping each other in negativity, this is often a result of people not being able or not feeling like they are in a position to contribute. What is this telling us and what is at the very root?
Away from Capitalist Measurements
When we recognise a person's intrinsic value, place importance on this, bring an open mind, one without a confirmation bias, one without a focus on financial metrics first, we are able to think from an interdependent point of view and find the 'best person for the job' not based on gender, colour or creed, and not always based on qualifications. This can have a massive positive impact on equity and equality and thus our future.
An open mind is what allowed Jack Andraka to come up with a test for Pancreatic Cancer at the tender age of 15yrs with no prior experience. It is what allowed William Kamkwamba the freedom to explore his natural innovation talents and come up with an electricity-generating windmill from spare parts that saved his village from famine. When we recognise and place importance on the fact that we are all born with innate gifts, regardless of our station in life, our mindsets become more opening and accepting. We won't be surprised at the success of people like Srinivasa Ramanujan, the Indian Mathematician born into poverty, from the movie 'The Man who Knew Infinity', that talent and Intrinsic-Identity© is found every where and in all people.
"Sometimes it is the people who no one imagines anything of -that do the things no one can imagine" The Imitation Game
We may come out of school with an 'eduction' but will never leave knowing who we are
We are a globe who has no real language of understanding of a person's natural 'Strengths Language'. This has to be one of the fundamental flaws of our current society, yet one that we have the power to change. We have to acknowledge our brains are different and use Strengths to gain an understanding of how people think, feel and behave. It has the power to change the world.
A statistic that has been loosely thrown around for many years is that at least 80% of people are unhappy in their work and this is largely down to people being placed in the wrong positions, roles and environments that do not suit the way we are intrinsically motivated.
This begins in schools. We are boxed into a one-size-fits-all and are not taught at school who we are. We become a version of someone else's construct of how we should contribute to the world, all based on metrics that feed into GDP. We then take this construct into university degrees that do not fit our intrinsic nature, but rather the narrative of "growing the economy".
Is it any wonder then that we have a growing mental health statistics? Growing suicide rates? Growing divorce? Growing delinquency? etc. What comes to mind is the young woman put onto antidepressants to get through a law degree that her Father expected of her. Or the young man who attended a top all Boy's Boarding School, was accepted into Edinburgh University and then hung himself. These devastating stories are not as rare as we think. Incidentally, suicide is much higher amongst men. It is any wonder when we consider the financial pressures put onto men in a world that expects them to behave in a particular way. The pressure to perform away from their family, not be emotional, and to compete against others in order to bring home a salary - many things that go against our human inclinations.
The good news is, there ere is a growing Strengths Revolution that is penetrating into environments where individuals, families, organisations, communities are recognising the value of living through our Intrinsic-Identity© - our Strengths - and this can positively impact our futures.
These are some of the successful indicators statistics that come from people getting to do what they do best every day through their intrinsic value and motivators and where teams are fundamentally aware of each other’s natural strengths:
#5 PERFORMANCE +36% HIGHER
#4 INCREASED TRUST
#3 PRODUCTIVITY +43% HIGHER
#2 +83% TEAM PERFORMANCE
#1 ENGAGEMENT 6 X MORE
We have to change our value metrics
As Daniel Markovits, Professor of Law at Yale Law School (below) infers, if we continue to place GDP at the center of society the meritocracy will continue to create the massive divide between the haves and the have nots. Those people who can afford a great education will continue to have the advantage against those who cannot. This is one of the fundamental reasons we live in a world with such disparity and why living through our Intrinsic-Identity© and bringing our natural gifts as the' new global metric', can help create more equitable and equal measures to positively impact our Future.
Sam McDonald has been married for twenty-seven years and has four children. Their home is in Hampton, UK and Camps-Bay in South Africa. She is a Futurist and Chief Visionary Officer for WITH - Global Change Institute (www.with.org.za) with a dream to "Unlock the IntrinsicIdentity© of all Individuals in service of a greater humanity".
She is a Normative Visionary, Systems Thinker, Disruptor, Change Agent, Activist - With a PG-Dip in Futures Studies from the University of Stellenbosch, influencing thinking in order to create futures led enquiry & change towards a future we all want to be part of - linking strategic leadership and management with futures thinking and using Interdependent Rules of Engagement© and the StrengthsFinder© Assessment as tools of choice to help people understand each other's unique world views which are coloured by their Strengths Language.
She moved to South Africa in 1983 from Nottingham in the UK and has lived in both dysfunction and functional environments which has become her "cross to bear is your gift to share".
She works with motivated clients using the Strengthsfinder® assessment as a power tool for:
Strength Based Interviewing & Recruitment
Assisting motivated individuals to fall in love with their careers and find the work they were born to do.
Working with high achievers to discover their value and purpose
Working with Start-ups to gain momentum, motivation & self-awareness of the Entrepreneur
Assisting Students to gain a greater self-awareness, expediting their career path, building confidence and self-esteem.
Working with individuals to re-engage in their work environments & leveraging their strengths
Working with marriage relationships to help you love again and understand the toxicity, reduce negative experiences, create understanding and, in turn, assist with long-term strategies for lasting transformation
Finding your true Purpose, Passion and Value in Life
Falling in love with your life and work again
She teaches the 'Interdependent Rules of Engagement© & Vulnerability' to focus on living 'Interdependence' as the key to healthier environments - choosing this as 'rules of engagement' over 'Dependence', 'Co-Dependence' & 'Independence'.
Follow the link if you would like to take the Strengths Assessment and engage in Strengths Coaching.