How To Stay Relevant

GattacaThis weekend I watched Gattaca. 

It's a science fiction drama set in a future when one's life is determined by
genetic engineering rather than education or experience — people are designed to fit into whatever role is decided before birth.

Setting aside the scary thought of conformity as the accepted way to go, which to me would seem a revisited concept in another suit, the engaging part of the story is possibly even more human because it plays against this grim backdrop.

From Rotten Tomatoes (emphasis mine):

One of the natural-borns (aka
"In-Valids"), Vincent Freeman (Ethan Hawke), has several defects (poor
vision, emotional problems, and short 30-year life expectancy), but he
also develops a different outlook on his pre-ordained fate.

He yearns to break free from society's constraints, and he dreams of a journey into
space as a Gattaca Corp. navigator.

To accomplish his goal, he enlists the aid of DNA broker German (Tony Shalhoub) and makes contact with Jerome Morrow (Jude Law), who was paralyzed in an accident and is willing to sell his superior genetic materials.

Vincent assumes Jerome's identity and is scheduled for a flying mission.

The actors' performance and sparse scenery in the production are equally enchanting. Hitting on more than one of the classic story archetypes, both main characters are heroes on a quest, on a voyage to return to their humanity. 

Two thoughts that relate to how to stay relevant in the current reality of work:

1. Collaboration is a must 

Our world has become exponentially complex. We can Google "how to make" anything to our heart's content, yet if we truly want to make a thing or an event happen, we increasingly need to enlist the support and collaboration of others.

All the simple problems are taken. You need to enlist the help of others for what's next. More minds, greater creativity. We don't exist in a vacuum. Jerome and Vincent need each other to make the contract work.

It doesn't just happen.

2. Experience is where design comes in

When Jerome and Vincent meet, they have no way to predict how their mutual collaboration will work — or even if it will at all. They establish routines and patterns, however rather than preparing for every contingency, they work on being present to each other.

Which is how they are able to avert disaster and stay the course. As a bonus, through the decisions they make when faced with turns and twists, they end up developing affinity and kinship, even though the only blood they share is Jerome's.

Experience results from choices — it's by design.


Relevance is contextual, it's based on how we adapt to the situations we face.



Valeria is an experienced listener. She is also frequent speaker at
conferences and companies on a variety of topics. To book her for a
speaking engagement click here.

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