Break It If You Have To (Or Why Value Creation Is the New, Better Craze)

Ask anyone who knows me and they’ll tell you I’m a huge believer in learning rules to break them to proper and good ends.

This year has been a humdinger full of rule-breaking, an expansion year brimming with risk-based decisions and actions, for myself, my family, my community, and my nation; for the rest of us as a human race while we watch or participate in a massive shift of values and discernment over what we think, feel, what we care about, and why. This year is all about massive shift and transformation. 

Lots of risks have been taken. Lots of rules are being broken, and unfortunately with that massive shift they’re being broken by lots of people who we never expected to get into the game with so much power and so little good sense. Much of this rule-breaking is not panning out so well, or is it?

Maybe it’s opening the eyes, minds, and hearts of those who once were shaded from the truth of awful human behavior, obscured by their bubble worlds either by experience or circumstance. It’s painful, this reconciling of the potential nature of our fellow men and women. We have to look at ourselves, too, and that can suck the hardest.

In my opinion, all this painful shifting it’s the single best thing that could have happened to humanity.

We see now how ugly it can be, and finally the western nations, especially the U.S., have caught up with the rest of the world in knowing precisely how bad it can get.

What’s different now?

I think we have an opportunity to accelerate the shift underfoot – a shift away from blowing stuff up and fighting against tsunami tides that we ourselves created. I believe we can move toward a re-focus of what we’re learning so we can go about our rule and system-breaking work fueled by new “these are for everyone” basic values, which also are a bag of traits and capacities historically reserved for the most educated. But I think this year has shown us hateful, awful human behavior is not relegated to so-called “undereducated” people. Quite the opposite.

Bad behavior, closed mindedness, “my ism above everything” mindsets, hateful actions, and the list goes on–these are traits every one of us can possess. A white, middle-aged man revered by many recently said to me (and meant it) that women were truly screwing up the world for them and he didn’t understand why we were suddenly fighting against “men will be men” behavior? Couldn’t we get over it, he asked? What’s the big deal, he lamented.

I chalked that one up to a new theory I have about a new human bias at play: a bias being developed against bad human behavior, behavior many are no longer willing to tolerate.

I think we have to start valuing a new set of 22nd Century traits, traits that we haven’t been very good at valuing en mass before. Used by everyone, we’d surely “normalize’ the breaking and blowing up behaviors for the right reasons. These traits would change our laser focus. They are: 1) advanced mindfulness, 2) conscious leadership, 3) high-degrees of emotional intelligence and compassion, and 4) a #1 priority focus on what it means to be a value creator instead of a profiteer that eats everything in it’s wake.

These are not political traits, though politics tries to own them. These are not attributes that only educated, wealthy, or “privileged” people are capable of developing or expressing. And these are not capabilities that have to wait to be inside a mature adult before being cultivated.

22nd Century human traits such as these should be the average we seek to imbue in every person from birth. We should start here, and see where it takes us. 

For those of us who like to take good risks and break the right rules that also benefits others in equal measure and that don’t foul the planet, alienate others, or generally create chaos in pursuit of control over (insert anything here)? Well, we can commiserate around the “I told you so” water cooler, OR we can double down on our disruptions and innovation thinking and doing and make sure that we don’t point our lasers or swords in ways that perpetuates bad modeling for others or becomes ingrained in the new systems we’re engineering to replace the one’s we broke.

To Break Or Not Break

We can get smarter about what we risk, what rules we break or fight to keep from breaking by others, and that starts with a different mindset about breaking stuff to begin with.

That there are “Trumpesque” boulders in the road should not concern us rule breakers or warriors. We’re fighters and we’re resilient: we can take the punch. But there’s something going on behind the scenes of all this volatility, uncertainty, lack of control, fear, and shifting afoot that I worry the mass of humanity may be missing. And that something has to do with how we’re valuing making sure human beings are value creators from the gate.

How are we imbuing values in every layer of human existence that favor building over breaking, place collaboration over control, and equity over competition without throwing out capitalistic pursuits or any other kind of economic system that is of value to you, me, us? And are we allowing these values to be defined by special interests when they are really shared by us all whether or not we express them yet ourselves?

I think we’re in the age of “WTF were we thinking” and “something’s gotta give” retrospective, and that means the whole of us on the planet are figuring out who we really are. Are we warriors, builders, rule breakers, imagineers, engineers, discoverers, make-stuff-work and go people, teachers, artisans: really who are we now that we know what we know?

Not everything has to be blown up and not everyone has to be fought against on the road to where we’re headed.

Break it if it won’t yield, but we all better be prepared to engineer the better replacement, and that my friends is all about who we are to each other and HOW we are with each other. Are we value creators or are we fighting for the sake of the fight, breaking stuff because we’re addicted to it, and trying to own everything because that’s they way our fathers did it?

So I say…

Break it if you have to, if it’s the last resort. Fight against it if you know it’s wrong. But take your humanity with you when you do, and try to become the most consciously awake human while you’re doing it so you can hurt fewer, help more, be of greater meaning to yourself and others. Leave a wake that you know will flow with other wakes in a way the planet will appreciate, in a manner kids today will look back on in the future and smile with pride and admiration.

This year for me has underscored why it’s necessary to develop and hone 22nd Century skills that include disruptive, strategic thinking and highly evolved behavioral and communication traits. You can’t fight well or break stuff to good to ends without them in this day and age. But what this year has really shown me is that we as human beings are capable of a kind of change that some still seem not to be ready to make.

Maybe we should spend more time on helping those folks make that fast corner turn and extend a soft landing when they do?

Be a value creator with a high value for equity at your back, and take excellence, innovation, and possibility with you as your new weapons. That way, when you re-build it or create it, and you will, somebody else won’t have to break it in the future. They’ll just keep making it better for all of us.