You are not a cog. Because cogs are cookie cutter, replaceable parts, used primarily to operate heavy machinery. They have no hopes, no dreams, and no chance at changing a broken system.
The problem is that we’ve been conditioned to conform by the systems around us, because their existence depends on our conformity. (This isn’t necessarily bad, unless those systems perpetuate an unhappy equilibrium that creates some of today’s most terrifying problems. And they are.)
So we were given a formula for success: Follow instructions, do as you’re told, don’t ask questions, play it safe.
We were told to ‘succeed’ without ever questioning the metrics of success.
As a result, we worked monotonous, mind-numbing, soul sucking jobs, or remained tethered to our desks in gilded cages with golden handcuffs.
Whether we were salaried or paid hourly, we became slaves to a paycheck, leading lives of monotony, mediocrity, and midlife crises. And to add insult to injury, we played an active role in perpetuating broken systems.
Cogs maintain status quo.
This pattern was set a long time ago. Because the industrial economy demands it. We trusted the system and the people we worked for to give us what we needed, as long as we’d continue down the path they'd set for us. It prods us towards consumption and obedience. We are all brainwashed from an early age, to accept the script and play our part in it. We chose to embrace a story about compliance and convenience, the search for status in a world constrained by scarcity.
But as technology advanced, and markets crashed, jobs were being outsourced, automated, and eliminated to preserve corporate bottom lines. Because yes, robots could do most things better and faster than us. And corporate kingpins hold all the cards, and can get away with murder.
But this shift has created an entirely new space for a new kind of entrepreneur. Because the biggest advantage we have over faceless corporations and robots are the things that make us distinctly human: connection, conscience, creativity, communication, collaboration, problem solving, big picture thinking, empathy… The “softs” skills that society had often overlooked and undervalued are the ones that mark the line between who thrives in this new economy, and who doesn’t.
Because there’s a different path available to us.
You have creative capacity. You have the ability to make change. To break old things that aren’t working, and create new things that do. It’s a path defined by resilience and generosity, and contribution. This is a path followed by those who seek to make change, and who want to make things better.
Because the future belongs to a different kind of person with a different kind of mind: the designers, inventors, teachers, healers, leaders, artists, altruists, storytellers, communicators, creatives. The future belongs to people like you.