Abhijit BhaduriGuest Author

How to discover what YOU really want

By | Abhijit Bhaduri |Keynote speaker, Author and Columnist

Luke Burgis is the author of the book Wanting: The Power of Mimetic Desire in Everyday Life

We love to fit in. It feels good to be part of the in-crowd. We are ‘with the times’. But then it comes at a steep price. We rarely discover, what WE ACTUALLY want. We like people who agree with us.

Wanting by Luke Burgis was a delightful read that made me question my motivations. Here is what I thought of it

Read more: 25 anti-mimetic ideas by Luke Burgis

What is ‘trending’

Fear of missing out (FOMO) taps into our desire to be seen as cool and hip. Social media encourages this. The fads come in waves and often fade away before you have even figured it out. Luke Burgis, the author of Wanting: The Power of Mimetic Desire in Everyday Life has a provocative theory. Mimetic desire simply means, wanting to mime or mimic others.

When social media tells us that something is “trending” more people are drawn to that news. That in turn makes it a mainstream trend.

When I read the subtitle of this book, I was stumped. I had to look up the phrase “mimetic desire”. Simply put, it refers to those things that we want simply because others have it. When others have something, we tend to crave for it irrationally.

To know what you truly want, needs self-awareness, says Luke Burgis, author, entrepreneur and educator. Our parents, friends, teachers, colleagues, popular cinema and now social media influencers tell us what we should do, to fit in. When someone posts something we disagree with, we need courage to comment and air our views. It is easier by far to put a ‘like’ and fit in.

From our early days, we are trained to follow the herd and do what the majority is doing. There is a sense of comfort in numbers and it is frightening to stand alone. It is so easy to hide with the crowd.

A book for HR professionals

Every HR professional plays an active role in shaping the culture of the organization where they are working. One of the most powerful ways they do it is by hiring people who are original thinkers. If finding original thinkers is hard, then it is much more difficult to retain the people who do not blend with the crowd. 

The organization’s immune system comes together to reject anyone who challenges the status quo. When the new hires quit within a few months of joining, it is easy to shrug it off as people who could not meet the demands of the job. It is tougher to introspect and ask if the organization’s culture made it impossible for the new hire to be themselves. Psychological safety makes a person comfortable to air their ideas that may be radical.

When HR professionals design the reward systems, they must make it possible for those who speak truth to power to feel heard. In the post pandemic world, the organizations have to create new business models and find unfulfilled needs of new customers. It is hard to find out what customers want, if we do not know what employees truly want.

The book for the future of work

It is tempting for the business to treat the 2 years of the pandemic as aberrations to be ignored. This is an opportunity to co-create the new workplace along with the employees. That means listening to what employees really want and building the new workplaces for the future. 

Microsoft Japan tried 4 day workweeks and discovered it actually increases productivity. Some organizations are doing away with degrees and are assessing skills as a way to expand the talent pool. Organizations are making special efforts to break the bias by bringing in women to lead businesses. All these ideas come from original thinkers.

The book really made me question what my actual motivations are. As we head back to hybrid workplace, this may be the book that you must read first. I would really want you to.

Republished with permission and originally published at www.abhijitbhaduri.com

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