A few weeks ago, I wrote about how most people don't want change, even though they say they do. I've observed it over and over in the professional world as well as in the personal one.
I've been reading Seth Godin's brilliant Linchpin, and he has this to say about it:
How was it possible to brainwash billions of people to bury their genius, to give up their dreams, and to buy into the idea of being merely an employee in a factory, following instructions?
Part of it was economic, no doubt about it. Factory work offered average people with small dreams a chance to make a significant change in their standard of living. As a bonus, this new wealth came with a pension, job security, and even health insurance.
But I don't believe that this was enough to explain the massive embrace of a different way of life. The key piece of leverage was this promise: follow these instructions and you don't have to think. Do your job and you don't have to be responsible for decisions. Most of all, you don't have to bring your genius to work.
In every corporation in every country in the world, people are waiting to be told what to do. Sure, many of us pretend that we'd love to have control and authority and to bring our humanity to work. But given half a chance, we give it up, in a heartbeat.
Like scared civilians eager to do whatever a despot tells them, we give up our freedoms and responsibilities in exchange for the certainty that comes from being told what to do.
These are pretty harsh words, but I belive them wholeheartedly. A lot of times, I'm shocked when I come face to face with them in action. Partly, that's because I don't live that way. I want to use my genius. I don't think this way works any more. I believe potential is HUGE, and we're not living up to it. It's also partly because I've surrounded myself deliberately with people who believe that as well. They don't just want to be automatons, told what to do. They want to make a difference.
We all want to make a difference. It's just when it comes down to it, we'd have to think in order to do so.