Blinkered Vision #45 #cong20

Synopsis:

 Conscious personal fulfilment should be prioritized over social achievement

Total Words

582

Reading Time in Minutes

2

Key Takeaways:

  1. The more we deny ourselves distraction, the more we deny ourselves the opportunity to be curious and discover.
  2. How often do we ask ourselves if we’re happy and fulfilled?
  3. The longer we stay in a state of disconnection – caught up in a culture that encourages striving towards milestone after milestone – the less time we give ourselves the chance to wake up.
  4. Can we find the courage to get off the treadmill and follow our hearts into the unknown

About Zanya Dahl:

 Founder and creative director of Artizan, a branding consultancy based in Dublin, for 16 years. I stepped aside at the end of 2019 to focus on painting. Doing what I love to do has give me an inner freedom that I have longed for – this experience prompted my post.

Contacting Zanya Dahl:

You can connect with Zanya by email, LinkedIn or visit her website.

By Zanya Dahl

Struggling to find the words to convey my opinion Society 3.0, I took up Eoin’s suggestion to express my opinion on canvas instead.

I chose to do a self-portrait wearing horse blinders as an example of how many of us live their lives within a social framework without ever questioning its design or our behavior within it. The idea of wearing blinders is to express a narrow field of vision. Interestingly I discovered while I was researching imagery for blinders, that Panasonic have developed human blinders for people to wear in an office to help minimize distraction. The more we deny ourselves distraction, the more we deny ourselves the opportunity to be curious and discover.

If you put your hand over the painting and cover each side of the face, you will see a different attitude. The left eye stares straight ahead, dull, lifeless and zoned out. The right eye is wide open, curious to see what’s beyond the blinder that’s been pulled back.

Society encourages us to follow a certain path – school, college, job, family – without ever taking a pause to check in and see if we feel fulfilled and happy. The longer we stay in a state of disconnection – caught up in a culture that encourages striving towards milestone after milestone – the less time we give ourselves the chance to wake up. Many people live their whole lives completely disconnected from who they truly are and what they truly want. We get stuck on the treadmill of life, moving towards goals and achievements with our blinders firmly focused  on what’s directly ahead.

It often seems to require a tragedy or a crisis before we are shocked out of the trance of daily life – waking up to the reality that we have one life. We start taking stock of where we are and breaking free from whatever holds us captive.

Can we simply choose right now, today, to take off our blinders and check if we’re on the right path, ask ourselves if we’re happy and fulfilled? If not, can we find the courage to get off the treadmill and follow our hearts into the unknown?

By connecting to our own value, we start to radiate happy, benevolent vibes. Imagine whole communities radiating energy, creativity and love. The collective benefits for Society 3.0 would be huge, not to mention the future of our planet.

Communities are Born out of Thin Air #13 #cong19

Synopsis:

The concept of communities lives in our imagination so they can be anything we want them to be. We can choose to connect to communities, create them, leave them. In this article I consider the role community plays in our lives and what we get out of it.

4 Key Takeaways:

  1. Community is a fictional construct
  2. By introducing more diversity into our local and urban communities, Ireland is a more open-minded, tolerant and accepting society.
  3. We’re getting so exposed to newsfeeds supporting our worldview that we have very little tolerance for those who oppose it.
  4. The more connected we feel to a community, the greater its power and influence.

About Zanya Dahl:

Zanya is founder of Artizan, an award-winning branding and design consultancy, based in Dublin. She’s also invested in her role as a mother which keeps her heart very much on its toes. A former hockey player with a dodgy right knee, she has recently reinvested her passion in painting and comedy improvisation which nurtures her creative spirit.

Contacting Zanya Dahl:

You can connect with Zanya by email, LinkedIn or visit her website.

By Zanya Dahl

I’m kickstarting this article with an interesting observation made by Yuval Noah Harari in his bestselling book “Sapiens”:
“An imagined community is a community that contains millions of strangers […] a community of people who don’t really know each other but imagine they do. Kingdoms, empires and churches functioned for millennia as imagined communities.”
It’s strange to think that long-standing religious institutions, nations and brands can wield such incredible power over us and yet their entire existence is dependent on our imaginative capabilities. Millions of people can successfully unite through a shared belief system. The concept of community fulfils a primal need to belong which in turn encourages us to find commonalities that we can collectively relate to.
Whether we like it or not, we are frequently claimed by multiple communities as one of their own.
Geographical communities, be they urban, suburban or rural, will always embody an eclectic consortium of individuals with varying interests and attitudes. These individuals are not necessarily united by a common belief system. Nor might their engagement with the community be particularly strong. However, when a community member or group is recognised for an achievement by the world outside, it elevates the community and instils a sense of pride. It’s nice to bask in the glow of success regardless of how tenuous the connection is. Look at sport for example. Bray residents took great pride in the Olympic success of Katie Taylor as did the people of Kenmare for the O’Donovan brothers from a small rural community in the southwest corner of Ireland. Ireland came alive when our soccer team (largely made up of UK players) got to the quarter finals in 1994 and more recently when our Women’s hockey team became the first national team in the history of Ireland to get to the finals of a world cup. Note I’ve said “our” – already I am claiming my connection to the team through our country of birth. Sport is a great uniter of community – it bypasses attitudes, personality, age – it sweeps us all up in a collective desire to achieve something bigger than ourselves. Teams and individuals representing a community, county, province and country arouse a deep sense of camaraderie as we will them to victory.
Outside of sport and living in an urban town within a capital city, I don’t experience a strong sense of “local community”. The people I know who come to live in Dublin are happy to get away from it. To temporarily visit a local community is charming but to live there can be claustrophobic. Everyone is known and their comings and goings rarely escape notice. Listening to the news, it is often reported how “the local community” has stayed tight-lipped about a tragedy, were devastated by the unexpected loss of a member or has come together to fight a cause.
Previously in Ireland, communities were tightly controlled by the church – it dominated outlooks and behaviour with a single-minded worldview. Cracked open by scandals, the church lost its grip and communities were no longer under its control. With the rise of freedom and choice, individuals have more access to new experiences and perspectives than ever before. By opening our doors to more diversity, our local and urban communities have greatly benefitted, and we are now a more open-minded, tolerant and accepting society than ever before. Our country has proven to be capable of significant positive change in a very short space of time. Recent amendments to our constitution reflect the power of Ireland’s community voice.
Speaking of community voice, it can be even stronger online. With a click or a tap, we can follow, subscribe and join groups that share our attitudes and interests. It’s nice to feel connected to like-minded people and have our personal views supported, validated and celebrated. This is a problem. We’re getting so exposed to newsfeeds reinforcing our worldview that we have very little tolerance for those who oppose it. It’s leading to polarised thinking and the middle ground is becoming harder to find.
Developing an emotional connection with another person is difficult to replicate through technology. On screen, we read words, not faces or emotions. We post comments with less empathy or consideration than we might if we we’re talking to someone face to face. Anonymity is much easier to achieve online. To choose anonymity in real life requires keeping a low and silent profile. Being anonymous online allows us to be as vocal, nasty and opinionated as we wish.
In conclusion, community is a fictional construct that can represent us however we choose it to. The more connected we feel to a community, the greater its power and influence. If we can harness the feelings of belonging and connectivity that community offers while ensuring it remains as eclectic as possible, we are far more likely to live more enriched and fulfilling lives.

No idea is a bad idea #45 #cong18

Synopsis:

A single idea holds an enormity of potential for change and progress. Even a seemingly insignificant one. Great ideas are often built on the back of other people’s ideas. Some ideas don’t ever see the light of day. They can be withheld or they can be shared and judged. This feedback may be helpful or unhelpful, guided or misguided, well-intended or ill-considered, encouraging or discouraging. A multitude of factors that can shape an idea after it’s birthed. It should be given a chance to breed before it’s dismissed. The act of ideating is fundamental for our evolution as a society.

4 Key Takeaways:

  1. A single idea, no matter how small, holds an enormity of potential for change and progress.
  2. The greater the mind’s exposure to experiences and different sources of knowledge, the more opportunity for interesting connections to form and the greater the propensity of ideas.
  3. The life cycle of an idea is very much dependant on how it’s perceived by the originator and by others.
  4. An idea will only gain traction when it’s recognised as valuable by others.

About Zanya Dahl:

Zanya is founder/ director of @artizancreative, a creative digital agency that helps companies with similar values discover new ways to see and be seen. She signs up for pretty much any experience that will expose her to something she hasn’t seen or heard or done before. She loses track of time when she’s painting, eating good food, comedy improvising or cuddling her children.

Contacting Zanya Dahl:

You can follow Zanya on Twitter or contact her by email

By Zanya Dahl

Imagine if we lived in a world without ideas? There would be no imagination. No revelations. No transformation. Just a vacuum of dormant sameness.

A single idea, no matter how small, holds an enormity of potential for change and progress.

Ideas occur when a connection is made between two different thoughts. A little spark of creative energy that ignites a new possibility. Having an “aha moment” reaffirms the active nature of our brains, our ability to make connections and form something new and interesting out of the random collection of thoughts swirling through our minds. Regardless of how short or long lived, the explicit moment of having an idea feels energising and empowering. If the originator really believes in the uniqueness and value of the idea, the birth of that brainchild can feel exhilarating.

The life cycle of an idea is very much dependant on how it’s perceived by the originator and by others. We’re all guilty of judging ideas as “good” or “bad”. But is an idea ever bad? Sure it may seem far-fetched, it may have been done before, it may be selfish or unrealistic or misguided but is it ever really unworthy or regrettable? In its raw state, the value and potential of an idea is difficult to measure. How it will manifest itself is hard to predict – obstacles and setbacks can occur that change the journey of an idea.

I see each idea as a trigger. A stepping stone. A little spark of creative thinking that can grow, merge, adapt or be rejected for something better. A collection of ideas, no matter how small or apparently meaningless can contribute to a new and bigger idea or even spawn a multitude of other ideas. Even if they’re never acted upon, they still fire our imagination and raise our capacity for connected thinking. Having ideas of our own enables us to assimilate and build on others’ ideas more easily.
Many of the great ideas in this world have piggybacked on the shoulders of others whose ideas may not have been executed properly or successfully at the time.
We often mistakenly judge the value of an idea based on whether it’s easy or hard to implement, whether it’s relatable, understandable, beneficial or impactful enough.

An idea might manifest itself as an outfit you choose to wear to a fancy dress party or it might be a solution to a national issue that requires systemic behavioural change. In terms of impact, we might value the latter as a “better idea”. However, the idea for the fancy dress party could be considered “clever, brilliant and inspiring” by the party guests. The “nobler” idea for national change may not actually bring the desired results. Regardless of the ambition or scale of an idea, they reinforce our ability as humans to connect with ourselves and with the world around us. It’s an innate ability we all share but need to nurture more.

The cross-pollination of knowledge has been encouraged and facilitated by the worldwide growth of co-working spaces designed to nurture collaborative ideation. The greater the mind’s exposure to experiences and different sources of knowledge, the more opportunity for interesting connections to form and the greater the propensity of ideas.

Imagine if humankind collectively applied its creative energy to collaboratively ideate for the greater good rather than personal gain. Imagine the possibilities. What can we do as a race to reverse the damage that’s been done to our planet and our way of living over the last 100 years?

Any ideas?