92. Shifting Perceptions (aka Shifting Baseline Syndrome, Part 1)
How leadership decision are based on ignorance
When I was a kid, I believed that my parents grew up in a world that was entirely black and white. Literally. I actually believed there was no color. After all, the pictures from that time were all black and white so the world must have been, right? I couldn’t imagine what else could possibly explain the lack of color in the photos.
I don’t have more to tell you about that. I just want you to know how much of an idiot I am.
A Different World
To my 8 year old daughter, the city sky at night has no stars, the existence of massive wildfires and multiple hurricanes is merely a regular annual occurrence and summer always means temperatures north of 100 degrees.
That’s life. She knows no other reality.
She can hear all the stories we tell her about a world that had clean skies, lower temperatures and significantly fewer wildfires and hurricanes, but it is through her experiences that she forms her own reality. Her reality is the baseline from which she will judge everything else.
This is a problem.
Only Three Pounds
You know that time you gained three pounds and thought, “it’s only three pounds, it’s ok. I can lose it whenever I want”. Then a few weeks later you gained another few pounds but you told yourself that it’s only a few pounds and you can shed that anytime. A few months down the pizza trail you noticed you had just gained two pounds. And then again... until one day you realized you had gained an extra twenty pounds and you are confused as to how you got there.
This is the basic idea of Shifting Baseline Syndrome. We have suffered from this since the dawn of humanity.
Shifting Baseline Syndrome
Shifting Baseline Syndrome is a concept that was first created to describe our ever changing views of the environment. The premise is that with each generation, there is a gradual change in what is accepted as “normal” when it relates to the condition of the environment.
Each new generation has a lack of experience, lack of memory and/or lack of knowledge of past conditions. Just like my daughter, they consider their current reality as their own baseline.
This is exactly why we are destroying our planet. Because of the ever shifting baseline of comparison, generation after generation doesn’t fully comprehend the change.
If the expectation is that we will destroy 3.7% of our rainforest every year, there is little concern when 4% is destroyed per year. It’s only a mere .3% difference right?
But we forget that but one generation earlier, even 2% yearly destruction was inconceivable.
But I’m not here to preach to you about environmental concerns. I’m just trying to explain the concept of Shifting Baseline Syndrome because it has a large impact on our business and leadership mentality.
The Shifting Baseline of Leadership and Life
The concept of Shifting Baseline Syndrome impacts your life in ways you probably have not thought much about. I’m going to give you a choice, you can take the red pill and see the truth or take the blue pill and continue down you’re masked version of reality. But, alas, it’ll have to be next week. I’ve blathered on long enough for now (of course you paid subscribers will have more in a few days)
Ta-ta for now, Chappy.