12 Most Beneficial Reasons to Resist Indifference

12 Most Beneficial Reasons to Resist Indifference

I ran across a T-shirt with the words “Rebel against your own indifference” and I immediately fell in love with it. In a world that can overwhelm us with so much bad news, it can be exhausting.  Indifference may follow.

However, we must not give in.

We have unknowable strength inside of us to withstand the stinking piles of bad news, set backs, and “evil” people out there, yet it is so easy to take a break from it and pull ourselves out of the game for a moment. However, our ability to get back into action weakens once indifference kicks in. That’s the problem.

We need everyone engaged and in the game to make our teams, companies, communities better.  When you resist indifference, these 12 benefits will follow:

1. Triumph

We love underdog stories. In part, because we want to see those struggling raise their fists in victory by beating the odds or overcoming doubt. The invigoration of rising above a setback is contagious. Spread it.

2. Innovation

For companies, indifference breeds mediocrity. Mediocrity infests hearts and minds and weakens products, services, and teams. The world is potent with wicked problems and we need innovative ideas to solve them.

3. Growth

Whether it be you, your team, or your company, resisting indifference promotes free growth. It’s the type of growth that surprises, delights, and confounds. Growth in business or skills is what’s available when indifference is resisted.

4. Connectedness

Indifference causes conflict, stress, and difficulty with others. Resisting indifference will position you and others to connect more deeply. I suspect it has something to do with triumph. My experience is that individually or collectively, rebounding from setbacks or navigating through bad news will draw you closer to everyone involved.

5. Surprise and Curiosity

Once on the other side of indifference, you begin to see things in a different light. This makes us more willing to be pleasantly surprised by “accidents.” It inspires curiosity that can lead to innovation and growth. When you shed indifference, the possibilities are limitless.

6. Renewed passion

We’ve all been overwhelmed, conflicted, or angry.  These are very the low points. Overcoming these low points raises us to new heights and  renews our passion for our work.

7. Resilience and Adaptability

I’ve learned and witnessed the unfathomable depths of the human spirit. When we come out the other side of a tough season, we learn the depths of our own resilience and ability to adapt to changing realities. It’s hard to see this when going through the challenges, but you’ll be a lot strong on the other side when you push through it.

8. Moved

I’ve become a bit of a crier as I age. This one is very personal, but I suspect I’m not alone. It’s in part because I’ve gone through the ups-and-downs a several times and and each time I come out of it, I cherish the joys in life even more.  Stronger emotions is one treat you enjoy when resisting indifference.

9. Engaged

Just take any of the items prior to this one and you’ll see how increased engagement in your work is possible when indifference isn’t allowed to creep into your mind, your heart.  Engagement is always good.

10. Humbled

Making a difference at work or in someone’s life is truly humbling. When that happens, it’s easy to see that life isn’t about ourselves. It’s witnessing the joy on someone’s face that makes us want to do it again for them. Indifference robs us of this feeling.

11. Vulnerable

This is tricky in the business world. In reality, most of us have our defenses up.  However, having some level of vulnerability lets people know that you’re not too hardened and that indifference hasn’t settled in.

12. Wisdom

With hard times, stress, and conflict hovering around indifference, we learn much about ourselves and others when we resist indifference and move forward. Once through the challenging time, we’ve gained wisdom and can see why people struggle. If we let indifference settle in, we struggle to learn about ourselves and make sense of what’s happening around us.

 

So much more is available to us when we resist the tug of indifference. The depths of our ability to care enough to make a difference in our own life or in our co-workers’ lives deepens and we are all better off. Yes, these are complicated times, but they present so much for us to explore. Together we can find ways to better our companies, communities, and deepen the meaning of the work we do.

Keep pushing forward.

Photo courtesy of Liina Novy, used under creative commons. Some rights reserved.

Shawn Murphy

http://switchandshift.com/

Shawn Murphy is founder and president of Achieved Strategies. He works with organizations helping leaders bring out the best in their people during times of change and through leadership development. His purpose is to help organizations restore optimism in the workplace and to work with leaders to lead in the 21st century. When not working, he blogs at Switch and Shift on topics to help leaders inspire optimism and New Era Leadership. He’s a coffee addict. Music fiend. Dry humorists. Movie junkie. Wannabe painter/artist. He’s working on his first book.

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21 comments
RSA Course
RSA Course

Indifference is a hard habit to break. Live each day as if it was your last. That may be a way to break the cycle

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dabarlow
dabarlow

Great list of 12! #2 and #12 are terrific. I look at indifference as an having you head in the sand. Life will pass us by if one continues to hide and embrace these. Thank You!

Biebert
Biebert

@shawmu Shawn, sorry about that again. Never had that issue before. :-)

ThinDifference
ThinDifference

Great post, Shawn! Number 8 is my favorite. I find myself in a similar position. As I am older, the emotions and passions of seeing life events unfold stir up something inside more often than in the past. Part of it may be not wanting anyone to ignore what is important in life and ensuring everyone lives as meaningful of a life as possible. Great points made here! Thanks, Jon

shawmu
shawmu

We had a little administrative mix up as to who authored this blog. For those who commented thinking it was Aaron, this post's message isn't far from his line of thinking. I feel comfortable saying as a regular reader of his posts here and at 8pm Warrior.

For those comments, thank you for sharing your reaction to this message. I know I speak for both Aaron and I when I say this: There's much great work to be done and great people like you encourage us all to act. cc @biebert

MaryS
MaryS

Shawn, I love #8 particularly. I find I cry more easily too, and didn't quite know why. Thank you for thinking through an explanation: "It’s in part because I’ve gone through the ups-and-downs a several times and and each time I come out of it, I cherish the joys in life even more. Stronger emotions is one treat you enjoy when resisting indifference."

It's so true. I remember in my thirties hearing that the more you suppress (perceived) negative feelings, the more positive feelings will be muted. So true. Your comments now make me glad of ALL I've been through and how I've cultivated the ability to feel joy, and sadness and be moved.

Thank you for this post!

Mary

SusanMazza
SusanMazza

Indifference is like a protective armor that attempts to keep our hearts safe yet unfortunately it only weakens us.I love your 12 reasons Shawn. I think my favorite is "Moved" - when we allow ourselves to be present enough to be moved we feel alive and connected.

dbvickery
dbvickery

I completely agree that "Mediocrity infests hearts and minds". I'm actually writing a blog post about the resurgent Detroit Lions, and how it had to take a house cleaning to get rid of that acceptance of mediocrity. Mantis is a software company, and we want the best thinkers/problem solvers out there. That means we have to support their innovative ideas as well as cultivate entrepreneurial spirits and desire for autonomy.

And it is definitely good to cherish...and share...in both the joys and failures. A great culture builds loyalty between employers and employees and breaks down those barriers so it is just one efficient and productive team.

Tribe2point0
Tribe2point0

Hi Aaron -

Simply beautiful & brilliant.

One of my favorite quotes is from Elie Wiesel: "The opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it's indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it's indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it's indifference.”

#11 might be the hardest to overcome both professionally and personally - but the reward of true relationships makes it worth it.

Off to “Rebel against my own indifference”

Kelly

margieclayman
margieclayman

Hi Aaron,

Great post as per usual. Indifference or apathy are things I have a hard time understanding. I am just not wired that way. I have always been an emotive, reactionary person - sometimes at my peril!

I would add one more. If you avoid indifference, you also avoid the pattern of being indifferent. Much like a virus, apathy can start eating away at you until you just feel apathetic about everything. An object in motion stays in motion, so keep on moving (or trucking, whichever your preference).

3djulio
3djulio

@RSA Course I'd rather think about it as if it was my first day. Having my last day won't be that fun, you know what i mean?

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shawmu
shawmu

@dabarlow@dabarlow Head in the sand not a good condition in these times. Sure appreciate your ongoing support. Cheers.

shawmu
shawmu

@ThinDifference@thindifference Jon, well said! Makes me think of one of my favorite lines from a Walt Whitman poem: "...that the powerful play goes on...and that we may contribute a verse."

We have this life to contribute something. What will you contribute?

Biebert
Biebert

@shawmu Yes, it was a mix up in the system and still had the editors name initially. It was changed, and I apologize for the confusion.

Sorry everyone! Shawn is great and this post is extremely though provoking!

shawmu
shawmu

@MaryS Mary, the fact that you knew something was "up" but couldn't put your pulse on "what" tells me you understand the importance of not letting indifference settle in after let downs. It can be tough to get back up after falling down.

Metaphorically speaking, I'm asking all leaders to look at the times they've fallen. I'm asking all of us to asses if in those times did we get back up with new insights or let anger and frustration erode away insights, renewed energy for a cause?

shawmu
shawmu

@SusanMazza@susanmazza Indifference creeps up on us slowly over time. And for some it's in their blind spot, influencing their decisions, actions, words. I'm afraid we have a heavy blanket of indifference over our country with so much "bad news." It is up to each of us to confront our own indifference and then act to overcome it.

Can you imagine if we all stopped long enough after reading this post and looked where indifference is holding us back. Our personal lives, communities, companies would certainly see transformations.

Biebert
Biebert

@Tribe2point0 Hi Kelly, thanks for the comment. I love that quote from Elie.

Just to clarify, the system actually had the editior's name (me) in the author's box on accident. Shawn Murphy @shawmu actually wrote this one and did a nice job of offering some thought provoking ideas.

Biebert
Biebert

@margieclayman Margie, thanks for the comment. The system didn't save my change after editing and it still had my name on it instead of Shawn's @shawmu .

Great comments for sure and I agree. I've never had indifference be an issue, but I sure as heck see that one a lot out there...

Thanks for great thoughts!

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