95. Shifting Baseline Syndrome, Part 3
Your life changes - you just don't know it.
We started this conversation talking about the phenomenon known as the Shifting Baseline Syndrome (remind yourself here).
Then we sidetracked to the amygdala, a frog and how our perception of life is forever shifting without us knowing it (read that here).
The New Normal
Like the frog in the boiling water, slow and prolonged change alters the baseline of what is consider to be normal without us even fully recognizing the changes until they’ve already occurred.
In its most extreme form, Hitler and his posse effectively and systematically shifted the baseline of “normal” in Germany until they got ordinary people to do extraordinary things. They had actually normalized the committing of...
You know what, forget I mentioned that. It’s never a good idea to reference Adolf.
Here’s a better example: you (who, if I may add, are infinitely more becoming than any genocidal dictator.)
The mere act of growing older is an example of the impact Shifting Baseline Syndrome has on your life.
You probably don’t get to the end of an average day - probably like today - and feel meaningfully different than you were 24 hours before. But you are. You are different. You just don’t recognize it because it’s an incremental shift in your baseline of normal.
Every hour of every day you are having experiences that are transforming your perception of normal. As you go through puberty, your normal is dramatically different than it was just a few years prior. As you enter college, become an adult, get a job, and grow older - all of these “normal” everyday experiences are slowly transforming your baseline with little to no triggering of the amygdala.
Our entire life is just like the frog in the ever warming waters.
Our entire life is a shifting baseline of normal.
And this brings us right to worklife.
The Shifting Baseline of Work
Great companies - the ones with healthy, vibrant cultures - attract top talent and work hard to keep them engaged and happy. New employees only take a relatively short period of time to begin accepting the culture as their new normal.
Top talent expects a thoughtful, employee-friendly company culture. They rarely accept less.
It becomes normal to feel like they are making a difference. It becomes normal to have transparency up and down the levels of command. It becomes normal to have free daycare and unlimited protein bars.
When those employees seek a different job, this baseline of normal is what they expect. In many cases it’s what they demand. But those types of great cultures aren’t yet prevalent in the US. They are too much of a rarity, especially after the company cultural decimation from COVID.
However, thanks to the impact of the shifted perception of “normal”, great company cultures are becoming more common.
If companies want to attract top talent, they no longer have a choice but to meet this accepted baseline of “normal”.
But there’s a catch.
Syndromes Out Of Stockholm
The entire concept of “getting out of your comfort zone” has changed.
This change will have a meaningful impact on your life going forward. Getting to this topic is the entire reason we’ve been talking about Shifting Baseline Syndrome in the first place. But, alas, I have rattled on for far too long here - I can already hear the complaints. So you’ll have to wait until next week for me to get to my main point about your future.