As our world changes and evolves it always brings both good and bad effects.
There has never been a better time than today to be a creative person. Technology has made it possible for us to create music, movies, movements and money-making ideas in ways that simply weren't open to the majority of us before. And we can reach a global audience for our creations without needing permission from anyone else.
But there are some side effects to this personal empowerment. It has enabled people to live their lives separately from others and it has prospered the myth that we don't need others to succeed and thrive.
George Monbiot wrote very powerfully about this in the Guardian newspaper this week saying,
"Yes, factories have closed, people travel by car instead of buses, use YouTube rather than the cinema. But these shifts alone fail to explain the speed of our social collapse. These structural changes have been accompanied by a life-denying ideology, which enforces and celebrates our social isolation. The war of every man against every man – competition and individualism, in other words – is the religion of our time.
We have destroyed the essence of humanity: our connectedness"
This is a critical point to understand if you want to make a big change in your life or work. The commonly held belief (much encouraged by some self-improvement gurus) is that if we can just magic up previously unavailable quantities of confidence, motivation and self-discipline, then we will be able to quit our job, start a business, or finish writing that book.
The only problem with this is that it's bullshit.
Trying to pull yourself up by your own bootstraps rarely produces good results. And that's not surprising because it's not the way we were designed. As George Monbiot explains,
"We were social creatures from the start, mammalian bees, who depended entirely on each other. The hominins of east Africa could not have survived one night alone. We are shaped, to a greater extent than almost any other species, by contact with others."
We evolved to be social, community-based animals. So stop giving yourself a hard time for failing to make as much progress as you would like when you're struggling to find the motivation, time and energy on your own.
You need a community wrapped around you that wants you to succeed. Then everything changes.
That's why I love my programme, The Screw Work Let's Play 30 Day Challenge so much. It's 250 people around the world supporting each other in finding an idea and making it happen in 30 days, guided by me and the Screw Work team every step of the way. It's impossible not to be swept up by the excitement and energy of this unique experience.
This November the Challenge rides again, possibly for the last time.
If you're not on the Screw Work Let's Play email list, enter your name and email below to hear more about the Challenge: