Maybe We’re Not Apathetic, Maybe We’re Just Busy

“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results.” 

Albert Einstein

We are at a point in history where we must change quickly. Systems, governments, institutions, industries and individuals are being called to make the necessary changes that are required to curb the impacts of climate change, and these changes can’t be delayed any longer. 

Yet we still see all around us people who are apathetic to the idea of sustainability. 

Often when I walk down the halls of corporate offices in tall skyscrapers, I get a sense of deep apathy seeping through the walls. I see people dressed to impress but lacking the joy or excitement that comes from doing something cool or meaningful. 

In my experience, if the leaders of the group aren’t stoked to be doing the thing, then anyone with them on the team won’t be getting very stoked either. 

Yet business has to progress, move forward, pivot quickly sometimes when plans go sideways and answer the calls to climate change, energy reduction, implementing sustainable practices, and equalizing diversity and inclusion. 

This won’t happen or will be a lot more difficult when people are resistant or apathetic. 

Apathetic: showing or feeling no interest, enthusiasm or concern. 

To curb apathy we need to remove the fluff and fill the space with meaning, substance and dare I say a bit more fun. 

We need to stop being so busy, so we can focus on what truly matters. The current consumerist system demands that we constantly be consuming something: food, media, entertainment, products, stamps on the passport, letters behind your name and loads of other attributes of a modern busy lifestyle to show that you matter. And to pay for all of the over indulgences, we have to work that much more and make more money. We become a slave to the system. 

But this idea or way of being busy leaves us wiped out at the end of the day. It makes us apathetic to real world problems and hopeless that we could ever make a difference anyway. 

When we study for an exam, we remove all the distractions so we can focus on the important material in front of us. Nothing else matters when you’re cramming in those last hours before the big exam. You need to preserve all your energy for the task at hand and disregard the dishes in the sink, the laundry on the chair and the text from your friend. These things aren’t important in the last hours of study before an important test. 

Globally, we are being tested right now and scientists are saying we only have a few years left before our time is up. We only have a small amount of time to focus on what’s really important and leave the rest to the side for now. 

To get into alignment for this ultimate test facing humanity, we must rise up. We must gain the skills and tools to not only survive but thrive this mega exam. To be the change on the outside we first must bring about change on the inside. As individuals we need to feel empowered, energized, creative, solutions focussed, and capable of taking on the changes and challenges that are upon us. 

Imagine walking into your office each morning with a group of people who are excited to be there, sharing their ideas with enthusiasm, being efficient with their time and effective at their jobs because they’re in an environment that supports change and growth and removes the idea of busy. 

If the company you worked for embraced doing the inner work of self development and personal empowerment to be a more creative and efficient problem solver and manager of your tasks, would it make your day a little more meaningful? How much extra energy would you have for corporate programs that asked you to reduce your energy consumption in the office, strategically plan meetings for emissions reductions, manage your supply chain with sustainability, ethical and fair trade in mind, if you weren’t feeling drained from the busy model?

Dr. Steve Aldana of WellSteps, an employee wellness solutions firm said, “I challenge you to find any other program outside of wellness that has as much research backing it up. Whether it’s savings in health care cost, absenteeism, productivity, there’s ample studies that show that comprehensive programs work.”

The ROI on wellness programs has decades of proof that investing in the people, brings greater rewards to the company.

This time, I’m asking us to invest in our mental health in a new way, to understand that well being equates to a more sustainable society and a group of people who can handle the challenges of energy and emissions reductions, sustainable solutions and a new way of doing business that serves everyone including the planet.

If you’re working for a company (or heck, you’re the owner!) and you think they would appreciate a dose of self care, a re-alignment with people and purpose and a mission that adds value and makes money, then send me an email with your name and your company’s name along with your email. I’d love to learn more.