Today I am wearing jeans. This, apparently, is a rarity now, as temperatures in the UK reach terrifying records and the red-headed population are offered free cinema tickets to avoid the sun.
What once was rare becomes common: smartphones, tap and pay, online dating. This is an example of Rogers’ theory of the diffusion of innovation, a concept I teach each year in a module on digital marketing. New ideas enter a social system, gain traction, and can – eventually – become common.
But what was once common – or at least appeared common – can also become a rarity. Mild summers, for example. Skirts over jeans. Tamagotchi.
Everything has an ebb and flow to it. Sometimes there is more flow, until it feels as if a tidal wave of action and reaction will overwhelm us. This is how it feels with climate crisis: tidal waves, literally in some cases, of catastrophe and frightening news smash into us and make us fearful.
Yet there is also ebb too, as collectives like ClientEarth take action to hold the UK government to account. Things feel like they might recede, might become rarer, might eventually even – dare we say it – be okay.
This ability to work with ebb and flow, with new ideas emerging and retracting, is a hallmark of maturity. The longer you live, the more self-aware you become, the more you experience the ebb and flow. The more you learn to surf the wave.
In ourselves, we experience these rarities becoming commonalities, and these commonalities becoming rarities, when we do the work of self-development.
It used to be a rarity that I felt proud of myself. Now I feel that frequently. Perhaps every day, if I really stop and let myself think about it.
It used to be common that I would ignore my body: the signs of sickness, the joy of movement. Now, it’s rare for me not to seek help when I need it, not to move when I feel called to move.
Maturity is recognising when in ourselves to ebb, and when to flow. When to work with the idea, expand it, share it, make it common; when to quiet it, step back, allow it to become a rarity.
If that’s maturity, then wisdom is knowing the difference. The lucky humans mature, but the happiest ones get wise.
I invite you to ponder this today.
Over the last couple of months I have been sharing free, livestreamed and facilitated movement practices and I’ve absolutely loved them. I’ve also been active on social media sharing ideas, journeyed round the country soaking in learning, and invested in training (beginning next month) to expand my expertise.
It’s time for some of these to ebb, just for a few weeks, so I can prepare to offer ideas and experiences more strategically and holistically. I’m practising the wisdom. I’m leaning into my talent for visionary thinking and going from the bird’s eye view down to the ground.