The Transition From a “Me” to a “We” Society

How much mindshare do you give to the mainstream media? Zero? A few hours each week? Multiple hours each day? If you invest time in its programming, you’re likely to experience deeper levels of anxiety about human conflict in our world. Thankfully, our world is actually safer, healthier, and richer than its ever been. For more, consider reading this.

But, if you feel anxious, nervous, or overwhelmed by the media’s messaging, it may be time to dive into why you feel the way you do.

In the book, Pendulum, authors Roy H. Williams and Michael R. Drew discuss how past generations shape our present and predict our future. Williams and Drew have identified a pattern that helps make sense of the values our society uses to judge what is and is not acceptable. They suggest society transforms through 40-year cycles of being a “we” culture or a “me” culture. For context, 1963 was a pinnacle of “we” focus and 2003 was “me” focused.

As we approach 2023, a mid-point between the current “me” society (which started in 2003) and the coming “we” society (as we approach 2043), many people seem to be awakening to a future filled with decentralized decision making, social connectedness, and appreciation for individual authenticity. Our values, and what we deem acceptable, are evolving rapidly. If you invest time in the mainstream media, you may be missing this beneficial shift. Likely, you’re being overly inundated with negativity, conflict, and misinformation.

As actor Denzel Washington recently said (read The Hill’s article), “If you don’t read the newspaper, you’re uninformed. If you do read it, you’re misinformed.

The transition in value structures can be challenging. Humans naturally dislike change, especially if it’s bestowed upon them. My experience has been that we tend to support what we help to create. If you desire to grow personally, professionally, emotionally, mentally, spiritually and support the transition to a “we”-centric society, here are five things you may consider to help you along your journey.

1 You don’t choose your passions. They choose you.
An interesting theory to consider is that humans may be born with specific curriculum they’re meant to learn while alive. Loyalty To Your Soul, by H. Ronald Hulnick, Ph.D. and Mary R. Hulnick, Ph.D., offers insights into this I’d never considered before. If this is true, even partially, your passion, interest or life mission is selected for you. If this is true, then the answers you seek already exist within your heart. You simply need to spend more time meditating or reflecting. You would be well served to let go of what society says your life should be and instead celebrate everything it already is. And, this goes without saying, but money will not buy you a passion.

2 Success, as society defines it, is never as fulfilling as you’ve mentally pictured it to be.
I wonder if most people still think “success” is exemplified by having money, power or fame. Do you think this is success? The Harvard Study of Adult Development (watch this 13-minute TED Talkfor more) found this to be untrue. Harvard found that a long, happy, and healthy life is driven by the quality of your close relationships. If this is true, then you may be well served to recalibrate how you distribute time. Don’t allow others to design a plan for your future. Consciously place yourself in environments that build you into what you desire to become. Establish meaningful goals and daily rituals around social connectedness and personal growth.

3 Stop competing against other people.
Instead, compete against the person you were yesterday. Can you be 1% better today? In today’s “me” culture, people desperately vie for attention in any way possible. In the coming “we” culture, I don’t believe people will feel the need to compete against peers, we’ll honor one another’s authentic selves, and inspire one another to become the best versions of ourselves. Your focus will shift to the daily habits that advance you. You’ll be winning battles no one else knows of. Instead of asking “Why is this happening to me?”, you’ll reframe the situation as “What is this trying to teach me?” Having resources will be less important than how resourceful you are. And, the more you misfit and disrupt the status quo, the more you’ll contribute to society.

4 You don’t have to erase your past to create your future.
Honor your pain-to-purpose journey. Your life’s narrative may be your most powerful tool for advancement. Have you found your life’s themes? If not, that’s okay. Listen to this podcast to uncover your themes. In a “we” culture, authenticity is deeply valued. What you are speaks volumes more than what you say. Reasons reap results. You confront your fears daily realizing you were not rejected; you were redirected towards a better future. From my perspective, human resources are like natural resources, the most important traits are buried deep and require work to discover and nurture. Bring your past to light and help others do the same.

5 Celebrate wins. Every day.
Because our value structures are evolving, because humans dislike change, and because we’re more anxious than previous generations… celebrate your and others’ wins. Every f*cking day. Seriously. Life’s real injustice is you not appreciating yourself for who you are. Celebrate the wins, regardless of size or perceived importance. If you want to feel good, do good for and celebrate others. Make three deposits into someone’s emotional bank account before making your first withdrawal. Whatever you do, honor the value in overcoming fears, experiences, and growth.

Back to Denzel Washington. In his The Hill interview, he also said, “So, what a responsibility you all (referring to the mainstream media) have – to tell the truth.” He went on, “In our society, now it’s just first — who cares, get it out there. We don’t care who it hurts. We don’t care who we destroy. We don’t care if it’s true.” This is the perfect analogy of a “me” society… take action that makes you appear better, first or more successful… at the expense of others.

The shift in consciousness is well under way. The leaders who pushed divisiveness are being replaced by those pushing connectedness. A focus on fame is being replaced with a focus on relationships. Our victim mentality is being exchanged for a growth mindset. We’re appreciating ourselves for authenticity.

The “we” society is coming whether we like it or not.