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Lean Into The Matrix: Part 2- Work Like A Master

How precious is a life? In case it matters, let me clarify – how precious is YOUR life? We have been blessed with a human life - most of us a relatively privileged one - where we have agency and awareness to act beyond basic survival impulses and strive for something greater (especially if you have the time to read LinkedIn articles). This is something to be extremely grateful for. However, as precious as we espouse our life to be, we unintentionally squander much of it by serving the wrong masters.

In the Matrix, just after Neo takes the red pill (see last week’s article), he awakes in his pod to see millions of other pods plugged into some sort of energy harvesting operation. He is told the story of how in the war between the humans and the machines, the humans had scorched the sun to limit the machines’ ability to use solar power. But then the machines found ways to harvest the bioelectric energy from humans. This is why the Matrix (a simulated reality) was created; to keep the human mind sedated, preoccupied, and unconscious of the true reality so that their life energy can be siphoned off to serve the machines. It is a powerful image and powerful metaphor.

We have this precious life. We have this life energy that flows from within us through our creativity, inspiration, discipline, and dedication into the world. How do we use that energy? Is it spent chasing some societal notion of success? Is it spent in pursuit of personal profit, status, or influence? Is it spent in service of some organization in hopes that they will provide security and comfort in return? Is it spent in service of something we deem greater than ourselves – family, society, God? Is it spent fighting among ourselves or within ourselves? Is it spent pushing the boundaries of who we thought we were to strive for something better? Likely for most of us, it is a bit of each of the above. Which are truly worthwhile and which are Matrix-like distractions that keep us from our highest potential? I believe that whatever allows us to live more authentically, use our God-given strengths more fully, and connect with others more meaningfully – those are the elements of life that are worthwhile. That sounds nice and all, but how do we make time for these idealistic notions while still putting food on the table?

In lean, we often talk about “creating value to the end user” as the goal. This notion is unnecessarily limiting. We cannot sacrifice our precious time, energy, and creativity solely in service of some “end user”. Our value propositions need to be multilayered. This only happens when through our delivery of value to an end user, we also become better individuals and better organizations - radiating that positive metamorphosis to our families, friends, and communities. It is through our relentless struggle to understand our reality more clearly, work together more synergistically, and realize our individual and collective potential more fully that we can work like masters rather than servants.

I have great admiration for individuals that are living life simultaneously on several levels. They see everything that they do - professionally and personally - as a means to better understand and honor that bit of divinity within them that is striving to be shared with the world. They are living their professional, personal, and spiritual life simultaneously. There is so much potency in that that it’s palpable by all those around them – sometimes inspiring others, sometimes causing defensiveness. Nonetheless, they spark the question in others’ minds – “who are you serving in your work?” and, hopefully, they also shine a light on the potential that exists. Many have done this for me. I only hope that I can do my part as well - to realize and help others realize the numinous in the everyday.


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