“No one wants to move to the future today. We are avoiding it.”
“We need to colonize the future ourselves; we must make our own maps of that territory, maps that show us as inhabitants and inheritors, making new economics, breaking with the deals and disasters of the past, and committing again to each other: to be a community and not consumers, to be partners and not competitors, to be from the future and beyond the past.” — Kevin Kelly
“I think our destination is neither utopia nor dystopia nor status quo, but Protopia. Protozoa is a state that is better than today than yesterday, although it might be only a little better. Protopia is much much harder to visualize. Because a Protopia contains as many new problems as new benefits, this complex interaction of working and broken is very hard to predict.” — Kevin Kelly
We’ve been thrown into unprecedented personal, professional and social upheaval. We’ve lost those close to us; as well as jobs, businesses and essentially our lives as we know it. Beyond the loss of the obvious, maybe our most significant damage comes in the form of the toll the pandemic has taken on our mental health. The uncertainty, all cloaked in loneliness and isolation, is having untold longterm effects on our physical health and disposition. Anger and even hatred has become a habitual part of our lives.
All we want is to get back to “normal”. We impatiently wait for words from any expert, legitimate or otherwise, that will give us clues when that will be. But again, it’s all about “getting back”. The COVID-19 pandemic still grips us in its vice of uncertainty after over a year. Only now are we seeing glimmers of hope as vaccines become available, if not unevenly and under a cloak of skepticism for many.
But what if “getting back” wasn’t our goal. What if being obsessed with looking in the rear view wasn’t our default setting. When faced with a crisis, immersed in the unknown, all we can do is grab for the familiar — however good or bad that familiar may be. Doesn’t the idea of creating something better for yourself and those around you at least sound interesting? Can’t a life different, broken from the ties of yesterday be an option? It can be; but only if we imagine it can.
This better life doesn’t just happen though. Not only do we need the courage to break free from the tentacles of “sameness” and comfort, we must take the steps to create this new world. And these steps must be both individual, through honing our skills of agency and self-efficacy; and also collectively by exhibiting a civic norm of compassion, benevolence and inclusion.
This journey of exploration shouldn’t just be each of us trudging it alone; you and your Apple Watch. And your doctor shouldn’t be responsible for your health and happiness either. They can help, but there are so many more people and places that are part of your life who can take a part in nudging you towards the world you really want to build … as Kevin Kelly says, your Protopia.
I’ve taken the concept of Protopia and reworked it. I look at it as a journey, or specifically “On The Road To Your Perfect World”. The Perfect World is not so much a destination as it is process, or journey; with the goal being to design your own Perfect World.
But how do you do it? Building your Perfect World isn’t just a self improvement project; gluing yourself to your Fitbit or online yoga “be everything you can be” video. It’s taking the components of your life and making them the solution – having each of them nudge you just little in the direction that will help you in your building process.
But what if you had wingman to help you? What if you had someone or something that pulled together healthy life suggestions from your favorite restaurant, your health club and all the other establishments you’ve made part of your life. And what if your wingman packaged it all together neatly as a wake up call suggesting what steps you could take that day to build your future. Your day would be mapped ready to transform your Perfect World from a vision of hope to reality.
I call the wingman I described Melvin. And he’s ready, anchored in the seat next to you as you venture on your journey of transformative self-directed health and well-being. But you and Melvin will not be the only ones taking a journey. In the collective Perfect World I envision, our friends, family and neighbors will all have their own personalized Melvin navigating for them also. Welcome to Melvin’s Neighborhood.