Living in an Age of Change
“And indeed, that IS the question: whether to float with the time, or to swim for a goal. It is a choice we must all make consciously or unconsciously at one time in our lives. So few people understand this! Think of any decision you’ve ever made which had a bearing on your future: I may be wrong, but I don’t see how it could have been anything but a choice however indirect—between the two things I’ve mentioned: the floating or the swimming.”
–Hunter S. Thompson
There are two types of change we experience in our lives: the internally guided and the externally forced.
The internal are the ones that we’ve been able to control and make an active decision over—often that brave and courageous step into the unknown, out of comfort zones and towards ambiguity and opportunity, or sometimes the necessary accepted resolution to move on away from a past. The choice to move to a new city or transfer to a new job, to get out of an unfulfilling relationship or change one’s lifestyle, etc.
And the other is a change that is forced on us by external circumstances. Being forced to lose a home or adjust one’s lifestyle, to be fired from work or broken up with. Or maybe simply the world changes around you and now you are pressured to change the same life you’ve lived for the past twenty years.
We have had little to no control over the circumstances that have caused the change, and it is often fought with strong resistance and fear.
Fear of moving beyond the known and stable has always been a driving force in human behavior.
It’s even more terrifying when the change is being forced on us from the outside and we must venture into a new unknown with little control over the circumstances and oftentimes little understanding of why.
I do happen to be in the camp that believes certain levels of change, whether it’s internally enacted or forced on us, are necessary for true growth. It is so easy, especially today, to build comfort zones and safety blankets around security, stability, and the easing of life’s struggles. But breaking through those comforts and into the unknown, are where the deep periods of beautiful transformation occur.
We are human beings—we have evolved to confront change, conflict, and challenges, build community around them, and from those successes, cultivate self-worth, confidence, and connection.
The challenge with the change today, is that it is happening constantly around us with little to no control resting in our individual hands. Just think of the chaos and evolution within one month of the current news cycle. Its fucking exhausting.
When I was originally building out Foundation’s community model, I thought a lot about a concept that becomes clear and evident when looking deeply at today’s current social and technological age – the rate of change of the human experience.
Think about your life in relation to your parents. Think about how different their lives were in how they got around, how they communicated, how they worked, etc. In the span of decades, there were social and technological changes that fundamentally altered how individuals lived.
Looking back further, think about the difference between the lives of your parents and their parents at relative ages—their human experiences across those generations were markedly more similar.
Going back even further, centuries and millennia ago, the human experience was practically identical generation to generation.
Now, coming back to today, think about the changes that are occurring within a decade alone. How we get our news, how we connect with others, how we date, how we buy and receive our food, goods, and services, and so on and so on.
Look at that phone in your pocket. In the span of 10 years, the empowerment of being able to project your voice to everyone in the world at the push of a button has fundamentally evolved how we connect with others, how we draw meaning and identity in relation to others, and even how we think and feel.
Shit, look at the lives of a teenager in high school before and after Snapchat. Within a span of just a few years, a social technology came out that fundamentally altered an adolescent’s experience of how they interacted with their peers.
This rate of change is exponential. Maybe the only constant we should expect moving forward is change.
But some things can’t change.
We are human beings—one of the few essentials we strive for, in a similar context to food, water, and shelter, is belonging. Belonging coming from community and connection.
Community is so essential and can mean so much to an individual; I’ve learned that truth the hard way myself, from the void of it.
With all of the change occurring around us, all of the new technologies and new understandings of both the smallest and biggest things, I’m far from being alone in experiencing that lost connection to community.
So now, with that lost connection on a grand scale, it makes it as important as ever to build new community systems that match the time we live in.
In the past, social structures could easily be translated and passed down from generation to generation and still fulfill the same basic human needs in a similar environment.
But now, we are in a different age, with the changing of the human experience as a constant.
Because of these changes and the continuation of rapid changes in the future, any social systems that we build, will need to adopt this element of change and empowerment. Have strong guiding values and principles, but incorporate adaptation and continuous evolution as a tenet of its core.
This is a part of what Foundation strives to embody.
The uniting values and culture, the why, is essential, but the collective feedback nature of what we are building is just as vital. Bringing together everyone’s opinions and perspectives to define who we are, what we do, and how we come together.
Our guiding why is one belief revolving around three tenants. A community truly facilitating belonging and helping people lead more fulfilling lives can change the world. And that essential to a deeply fulfilling life are these three things: learning and growth, purpose and impact, and connection and love.
Foundation will always work to create the fun and meaningful experiences that cultivate those, but the how, what, when, and where, are up to us all to decide.
From that integrating of each individual’s inputs, Foundation will look to be a self-creating, self-defining, and self-evolving social model, an organism of community that can adapt to environmental changes easily. It is why I believe in it so much.
It is a hope, a hope for Foundation, that through purposeful, guided acts of sourcing and evaluating ideas, input, and direction collectively, we can create true empowerment, ownership, and engagement.
That by using tools and experiences to include and leverage every diverse perspective from our community, we won’t only just become something truly meaningful, but we will be able to endure and persevere through whatever the environment throws at us.
Starting in January, we will be implementing monthly town halls, improving our strategies to source and evaluate experience ideas, incorporate stronger, more guiding feedback loops, further empower our community to get more involved, and much more.
What are you curious to learn? What passions would you like to explore? What skills would you to further? How do you want to grow? What do you want to support and impact? What’s an adventure you’d like to experience? How would you like to spend a fun Friday night with friends? How could a community support you? How could a community help you lead a more fulfilling life?
That is what I pose to you all – what can we dream up and build together?