Reflection for Today ▶️ ⏹️

"Reclining on the bed" by Marc Chagall, 1923, Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow

Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.
Proverbs 6:6-8

We can do things without being told. That's the simple message of this proverb, and so, so apt for the corporate world of 2021. We, the corporate work force, have developed a mindset that has us believe we need managers and bosses to tell us what to do, and even to motivate us. We seem to become like helpless children or mentally impaired adults when we cross the threshold into the workplace, waiting for instruction from the responsible adult—who apparently is not us. Yes, mentally we have become sluggards, and this behaviour is not merely tolerated but actively encouraged by those that run businesses. It expands also to the civil service, and most non-profit organisations including schools and universities. It's everywhere, all around us, the culture of designed demotivation. And now it is so embedded in our work habits that not much gets done, so enter the motivation consultants to counter this trend. They come in with their big fake smiles, high fives and team building games. It's dreadful. The sin of oppression is countered by the sin of false friendship.

No human being is born demotivated. Our desire to learn, to engage with the world and with each other, to seek purpose, to explore and discover, these traits are all innate. The problem is that our motivation to pursue them is crushed out of us by oppressive, hierarchical work environments (and before that, quite often, schools). People will become motivated again when we remove the man-made limitations that prevent it.1

So, yes, Go to the ant, consider her ways. As an ant takes control of its own needs and those of its larger body, its community, so too can we. But we must start by wanting to. Sluggards no more, it is time to reclaim our autonomy at work, raise our collective voice. We are intelligent adults, fit to be employed. Please release us, each into his or her personal greatness. Society, and each corporation within, will surely say thank you.

1 Thoughts on motivation, T. Mayer, 18/06/2021