The Regular Kind

In his podcast, Akimbo, Seth Godin teaches us how to adopt a posture of possibility, change the culture, and choose to make a difference. Here are my takeaways from the episode.

  • “The Regular Kind” is an entrenched concept in our culture. Most of us are more of neophiliac, rather than neophiliac. We are less inclined to try new things because sticking with the “tried-and-true” and playing it safe has kept us alive within the evolution cycles.
  • When we are seeking to spread our idea, we need to target the neophiliac individuals who may be open to our ideas.
  • We also need to be realistic and assume that the idea potentially can stop spreading after touching just a few people. How to get the idea to spread? The book, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas Kuhn, can offer some clues on how ideas are adopted and shifted.
  • Phase 1) There is not a standard paradigm yet. Phase 2) Normal science kicks in and a paradigm starts to establish. Phase 3) A new idea that comes along but does not fit into the paradigm we were used to. Phase 4) The new idea starts to shift the paradigm, and a new way of looking at the world starts to take hold., and Phase 5) We begin the process again.
  • Understanding Gartner’s Hype Cycles can also aid the understanding of how an idea evolves and spread. In fact, the spread of many ideas often reflects the trajectories presented by both Kuhn and Gartner.
  • Often people hold on hard to their ideology or religion and refuse to believe the scientific revolution. The ideology or religion is a convenient way of saying “The Regular Kind” or “The Way We Like it.”
  • These people who resist the paradigm shift are not stupid, and they are just like us. They have learned to see the world through a paradigm. Only after the paradigm shifted, they were able to see what was in front of them.
  • All of us can be cranky and stuck in our old ways, but this is normal. The hardest work for change-makers is to cause the revolution to happen, to change the culture and bring everyone else along. This is also the work that each of us is capable of doing.
  • Our neophobic nature keeps us in sync with our culture and makes us feel safe. Just because we are causing a ruckus, that does not mean everyone will get it. We need to apply a significant amount of patience and persistence to help our fellow human beings to look beyond the trough and see the enlightenment.