“It’s just that if you’re not disruptive everything seems to be repeated endlessly – not so much the good things but the bland things – the ordinary things – the weaker things get repeated. The stronger things get suppressed and held down and hidden.” – Robert Adamson
It was John Legend who sung:
If you hear this message, wherever you stand
I’m calling every woman, calling every man
We’re the generation
We can’t afford to wait
The future started yesterday, and we’re already late.
Every generation must have been berated by the previous generation for not being what it should be. It happened with the parents of the Baby Boomers, Gen X, and now, everyone is carrying a pitchfork against Millennials. They are praised as the disruptors – the next great generation. But are they really? On the flip side of their awesomeness also lies identity crises, confusion, a distinctly unGen X culture, and have Gen Z ready to take a stab at it. Young ones also have this tendency to dismiss the older generation’s experience and can’t help telling them to up and leave the workplace so that they can find an opportunity. Inane, I know. We live in a capitalist world and only the strong individual survives.
Disruption has been one of the most used words over the past two years.
It is so easy, almost natural, to talk about disruption in a COVID world. Who didn’t experience it? Which industry did not have to redefine itself according to it? This was disruption by circumstance. There really was no choice here but to flip and find a new path. Then there are disruptions that are created by people. Some of the most disruptive minds are well known for “making a dent in the world.”
Take the example of banks and fintech. On the one hand, fintech is viewed as disruptors who shake the very foundations of banking with an interesting breed of solutions that is shifting the entire concept of customer experience. Banks, meanwhile, are stable, have regulation in their favour and have a lot of data. Fintech seem to be winning, attracting all manner of funding, especially in West Africa. They are also attracting bank talent to their side of the divide of the promise of adventure and changing the world.
Disruption has, as a result, taken on gargantuan proportions. The average person no longer believes they can be disruptive. That has been left to a select few who we think have a brilliance that we do not possess. They have a way with leadership, technology and business, and their stories are inspirational bios. Yet anyone can be a disruptor. Your very presence on the planet disrupted someone’s life irrevocably.
Disruption, however, is only ever great if you are the disruptor, not the one being upended, or the industry being transformed. That is growth through pain – hellish to say the least.
But, if you take a look at this month’s issue, you will find stories about people who fall on either side of the divide, and how they came out on top, so far. And you will realise that if you live a life without a little strangeness to awaken you, you are barely living.