Imagine a world where work was focused on the essence of being human, the culmination of experience and expression.
Imagine we were truly free to experience and express ourselves, explore life and being, instead of just being focused on infrastructural productivity. Imagine machines would do all the work that turns humans into machines, and we could finally go back to a life of contemplation, creation, curiosity for curiosity’s sake — and work on developing our consciousness.
Imagine businesses and organisations became places for such conscious development of humanity. Places of play. Of true, open-ended creativity. Of real fulfilment, meaning and purpose.
This world is already on its way, and it's time we prepare ourselves for it. The emergence of artificial intelligence and automation is the greatest opportunity ever for humans to go back to being human. Instead of worrying about losing our jobs, we should have been worrying about losing our humanity all this time we’ve been commoditising our abilities like modern day slaves.
We will not stop working when we stop acting like machines. To express our experience of the world is work we will always pursue. But this work takes courage, this work takes strength to face ourselves and the truth of our experiences, and to find a mode of expression that does that experience justice.
Making art is work. Making music is work. Making sentences is work. Making food is work. Making anything that expresses our inner world is work. Making money is not the only kind of work.
Today, businesses create human experience (or parts that fit together to eventually create experience). Artists explore human experience. Businesses focus on product, outcome, the end result. Artists often focus on process, practice, engaging in life and the world in order to understand it better. Businesses measure success in revenues, growth in numbers, financial returns. Artists don’t have one unified metric for success, yet often the measure of success as an artist is in truly capturing and expressing the unspoken human experience.
So how can an artistic mindset shape the future of business to make it more human and less machine-like?
Perhaps we can learn to adopt a sense of curiosity, exploration, and embrace discomfort, even failure, to develop a culture of work that isn’t product focused, but process focused. To evolve businesses into a place for the self to grow, explore, discover and develop, rather than being a place for the self to fund its growth after business hours.
What if personal retreats were not outside of business but a part of it? What if following your passion was the reason to stay in a job, and not a reason to leave it?
What if we fully embraced the entire spectrum of human emotional landscape rather than just scaling the peaks and avoiding the valleys, in business, in society, in community, in politics?
What if we redefined our idea of success from one of having everything we want to one of being everything we want?
The good news is that we can. If we find the courage within ourselves and put our hard work and resources to creating this paradigm shift of a more consciously human way of doing business, of really experiencing life and expressing it for others to experience, we can get there within a lifetime.
Let’s take the first step. Let’s learn from those who already approach work in this way. Let’s discover what an artistic mindset can do for the way we live and work today.
We hope you will join us in this exploration of the unknown.
Artists Are Among Us is a collective of creatives that are curating spaces for meaningful exchange between artists, and business, even society at large. If you missed our workshop on Saturday, November 4 in Lisbon at the House of Beautiful Business, then you can still get in touch to set up your own custom session at your organisation, to explore the unknown and discover what an artistic mindset can do for you and your business. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Previously published on the Journal of Beautiful Business