Disrupting The Norm

In a world where social order defines the day to day experience, it’s all too easy to become a sheep following the flock.

Yes, social structures, institutions, relations, customs, values and practices play an incredibly valuable role in our lives, but that doesn’t mean that you should simply sit back and let yourself be all consumed. If you want to bring real value to your life, to your business, your passion, disrupting the norm is a concept that should be embraced, not feared.

Here’s why, and how!

Sit at the table!

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg explores the concept in a powerful TED Talk where she spotlights the fact that there are too few female leaders in the global C-suite. She puts forward three hard hitting pieces of advice to her fellow femme fatales, with number one described as the “sit at the table” tactic.

Drawing on her experience at a recent Facebook conference, she recalls that the two female colleagues of a senior government official chose to sit at the side of the room during the meeting, as opposed to at the table with the big guns. This is despite the fact that Sandberg explicitly invited them to “sit at the table.” Her point? Too many women shy away from sitting at the table, as they don’t think they deserve success. Why? She puts it down to imbalanced social stereotypes for men and women.

“Success and likeability are positively correlated for men and negatively correlated for women. And everyone's nodding, because we all know this to be true,” she muses.

While “sitting at the table” may challenge longstanding social perceptions, Sandberg maintains that drumming up the guts to reach for that promotion or simply be the best version of yourself is the kind of disruption that not only changes lives, but changes social norms. 

A chaotic path to success

For most humans, structure, order and predictability offer intrinsic comfort. That’s why so many people fear change, choose to stay put in ruts and fail to spark transformation within their lives. This can be an incredibly destructive behaviour, as chaos leads to spontaneous change, and change has the power to create immense value. Sure, entropy can be scary, but ultimately chaos and disorder open up new opportunities, broaden the mind, challenge perceptions and catapult people out of their comfort zones. Day to day norms may be utterly disrupted, but the end result is a new kind of existence that’s far more rewarding. 

Disruptive marketing

The value of disruption materialises plain and simple in the marketing sphere. Used to shock, engage and capture the attention, disruptive marketing shuns time tested conventions in a bid to boost bottom lines. Think reimagining the customer experience, new pioneering trends and challenging traditional business models. It works in a company to consumer context, and the same concept can also be applied to life in general. In the same way that disruptive marketing gets profits soaring, disruptive lifestyle architecture can bring incredible value to any aspect of your life.

Why toe the line, when you can turn your life upside-down, and disrupt your way to success?