Some “Truths” Evolve
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
This is the first sentence of the second paragraph in the US Declaration of Independence. The authors of this historical proclamation stated several core values within this sentence. Among them are:
The pursuit of happiness.
Few reasonable people would argue that there isn’t significant value to these values. But, our values change, or at least the spirit of them changes, as we evolve. We may value truth in our cultures and our lives. But some truths aren’t always constant.
What was true for the framers of the US Declaration of Independence or the Constitution (hence the amendments), is not the same truth as today. Women and people of color, for instance, were not included in the spirit of this equality proclamation. Women had no power and few rights. People of color, much worse off, were held in slavery by the same people who wrote this language. From this vantage point, how can equality be truly valued?
What I believed was true when I was 10-years-old, or 20, is very different to what I feel is true now. What’s true for you, is not necessarily true for me. If this is true, then certain truths are malleable, changeable, evolvable.
Truth changes with perspective and is deepened by experience, but only if you examine your truths.
As we evolve, so do our truths.
Self-awareness is the threshold to evolution. When we bring ourselves to new awareness, we evolve our thinking, how we see the world, and what we hold valuable.
The truth is, truth changes with new awareness.
Some questions about the truths of your (personal, brand, and cultural) evolution:
- When you think about the values within your culture (or life) and the truths that they once represented, are you and your team self-aware enough to recognize when it’s time to evolve them?
- As a leader, are you willing to examine what’s true for you today, which may have evolved without you noticing?
- Are you holding on to false premises that are holding you back?
- Are you examining your own internal and external self-awareness to uncover your truths?
- When you look across the landscape of the new reality you’re in, are you willing to evolve to meet the needs of now?
Some thoughts about capital T, Truth.
While the exploration above speaks about the malleability of certain truth-perceptions, there are immutable, universal Truths. These are the ones that never change, regardless of our perception and awareness to and about them.
For instance, slavery, in any form at any time is wrong. In equality, is wrong.
Here’s a few other Universal Truths that might apply to your world now:
You have a gift, a personal genius that is meant to be used, given, and shared in this life. The precious gift of life is yours to use, give away, and apply to its greatest and highest good. Don’t waste it. Life, your life, is too precious to leave your business undone, your music unsung, your book unwritten, or your dreams as just dreams. Stop waiting for just the right time. Seize the opportunity to make your life and our world more extraordinary, or simply more beautiful.
You are designed to thrive. Growth in life is as inevitable as death. All living things are designed to thrive in life. Go out and do great things, thrive, laugh, love, get your heart broken, and enjoy your life. So, question the stories you tell yourself about your past and your limitations. Release these limiting stories and allow yourself to thrive.
Struggle reveals character which helps you grow. The old saying of “what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger” captures a truth about your own evolution. But there one thing to remember: in order to surpass pain and struggle, you must embrace it and allow it to pass through you. If you ignore the pain, you’ll end up spending your energy suppressing it. The things we look at and deal with directly loose their power to control us. By accepting hardship, embracing pain, you gain agency over your future.
We are all One. We, humans, are far more alike than we are different. We share in common the same basic biology, needs, wants, and motivations, including the needs for health, safety, happiness, belonging, purpose, and love. Our gender, our race, our skin color, our political affiliation, our religious preferences, our sexuality, our bank account, the team we root for all matter far less than our shared humanity.
Other (possibly debatable) Universal Truths include:
- Life is finite.
- Procrastination is a thief.
- Seeds grow, but not overnight.
- Success dulls the edge. Failure sharpens it.
- There is a right way to treat people. And a wrong way.
- We control our thoughts and efforts, not outcomes.
Here’s a noble truth I know about brands: Things change.
Accepting that things change, and you and your organization can evolve, while staying true to itself is the entryway to more equality, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness—for you and for those around you.
If you haven’t noticed lately, things can change quickly. Upended market conditions, shifts in team structure, new competitors show up, audiences evaporate or redirect their needs, or the way your culture once worked are now completely different. So, you must adapt.
Leading a business through these changes can be a wild ride indeed. It can be done with both meaning and joy; with both examination and proclamation; with both humbleness and confidence, with self-examination and self-awareness.
One last point.
As I scan the news pages and various public feeds, one thing that strikes me is how different brands are responding to current situations. As I’ve said before, your your character is your brand.
Take a look, for instance, at how Ben & Jerry’s is responding to current events.
Steve can help you create an integrated belief-driven business that can reach and align with more of the right people —employees, customers, donors and investors—in a sustainable and meaningful way.