Go out of your mind!
“When a system is in turbulence, the turbulence is not just out there in the environment, but is a part of the organization or organism that you are looking at. ~ Kevin Kelly
A couple of studies on depression caused me to think about organizations. One found that young adults diagnosed with major depressive disorder have hyper-connected brain networks, especially in the areas associated with rumination. In essence, their minds are turbulent. They run problems over and over and over again, never arriving at a solution. The other found that depression is alleviated by feeling like part of a group. Not just socializing with people, but strongly identifying with them.
Over the years, I’ve discovered those same insights within organizations. Depressed, dysfunctional ones ruminate, with the classic symptom being reports and meetings. Meetings to discuss problems. Meetings to discuss reports. Meetings to discuss meetings. All of those meetings and reports are really nothing more than collective rumination. And as rumination goes up, cognitive control goes down, strategy and execution become muddied and disconnected, and people’s energy levels inevitably drop off.
Thriving, healthy organizations are also hyper-connected, but not in their minds.
They’re connected deeply to the outside world and to each other, with a collective vision and individual purpose. They strongly identify and connect their work with their audience, and focus relentlessly on improving their lives through sustainable innovation in both product and service development. They’re curious, caring people continually searching for better ways to make a real difference in the world.
The trendiest organizational narrative right now is that everybody’s “quiet quitting,” or, according to Gallup, “not going above and beyond at work and just meeting their job description.” And that’s wonderful! Work shouldn’t take over people’s lives. It should simply be a healthy part of an exciting and fulfilling whole, which, by the way, is where I think today’s worker problem really lies.
For most people, work isn’t exciting or fulfilling. It’s depressing. People have lost interest and pleasure in their jobs because they don’t feel a sense of empowerment and connectedness—to each other and to meaningful results through their work. So if you find yourself and your organization ruminating, slow way down and engage each other deeply and meaningfully, and with the outside world. You’ll go out of your mind and, eventually, you’ll come to your senses.
Happy October (my favorite month)!
🍁 Random information for the month of October
* Pumpkin spice made it into the Merriam-Webster dictionary. Other additions include shrinkflation, subvariant, and ICYMI.
* A ticket to visit the submerged remains of the Titanic cost $250,000.
* The iconic smiley face image, now also an online emoji, was invented by Harvey Ball in 1963 “when he was commissioned to create a graphic to raise morale among the employees of an insurance company after a series of difficult mergers and acquisitions,” Smithsonian Magazine reported.
* Mexican beers make up 80% of all volume imported to the U.S.
* Ernest Hemingway once stole a urinal from his favorite bar, arguing he had "pissed away" so much money into the urinal that he owned it. He kept it in his house
* Lindt’s gold-wrapped Easter bunnies won legal protection. A judge ruled copycat products must be destroyed (or, rather, melted and repurposed).
* Growing up on a farm seems to offer protection from allergies. Scientists are looking to distill barnyard dust into a pill that could treat allergies in children.
* U.S. Soccer players signed an equal pay agreement. The athletes’ contracts now include identical pay structures, no matter their gender.
* A prototype battery using chitin, which helps keep crab and lobster shells hard, is 99.7% efficient after 400 hours.
* An all-electric airplane, powered by 21,500 small Tesla-style battery cells, took its first flight in central Washington state.
* Applications to mortuary school are booming in the US. As the $16 billion funeral services industry faces a critical shortage of workers, students have a 90% job placement rate upon graduation.
* Dogs can smell stress on your breath and sweat.
* Humpback whale songs can go viral. The mammals pass their songs from one population to the other, spreading the tunes across thousands of miles.
* It may not have been a meteor that caused dinosaurs’ demise. A new study revives the hypothesis of a volcanic eruption.
* Clinical trials of a new malaria vaccine showed promising results. It could cut deaths related to the disease by 70% by 2030.
* A newly discovered protein plays a key role in human reproduction. The protein contributes to the fusion of the sperm and the eggs and could help improve IVF’s chances of success.
* The production of nanodiamonds from PET plastic paves the way toward a new form of recycling.
* A skin-swab test aims to sniff out Parkinson’s. A nurse who first linked her husband’s change in bodily smell with the development of the disease helped create the potentially transformative exam.
* Researchers say they have cracked how air pollution leads to cancer, in a discovery that completely transforms our understanding of how tumours arise.
* There’s one molecule in the brain that categorizes memories as positive or negative. Understanding neurotensin could help us decode anxiety and addiction.
* Scientists have calculated how many ants are on Earth. The number is so big it’s “unimaginable.”
👁 Take a look
That wild looking image was created by an artificial intelligence program called Midjourney. I wonder how this technology will eventually affect the future of fine and commercial art, e.g. painting, illustration, animation, special effects, et al.
For example, an AI-generated picture won the Colorado State Fair. The victory caused controversy, but may prompt the inclusion of an AI-specific category in next year’s contest. And some art communities, flooded with AI-generated images, are banning them completely.
🤔 Think about this
“The spiritual life does not remove us from the world but leads us deeper into it.” ~ Henri J. M. Nouwen
“By replacing fear of the unknown with curiosity we open ourselves up to an infinite stream of possibility. We can let fear rule our lives or we can become childlike with curiosity, pushing our boundaries, leaping out of our comfort zones, and accepting what life puts before us.” ~ Alan Watts
“When we hear music or poetry or stories, the world opens up again. We’re drawn in — or out — and the windows of our perception are cleansed, as William Blake said. The same thing can happen when we’re around young children or adults who have unlearned those habits of shutting the world out.” ~ Ursula K. Le Guin
☝️ And don’t forget
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Until next time, try to stay mindful. 🤣
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