The Great Divide
Why it no longer makes sense to separate work and life
The compartments we use in our lives are sometimes helpful. They help us to differentiate, to identify, and where necessary, separate. However, we must never lose sight of the fact that the compartments are our own creation, designed for the sole purpose of aiding our perception of the world around us. There are never intended to be reality or an alternative to it.
One such compartment we have created has led to the dichotomy between work and what we loosely call ‘life’. The distinction was helpful in categorising what we did, how we acted, the people we associated with depending on what time of the day it was. In many cases, different set of rules applied to each circumstance. However, in a post-pandemic world, reality has since shifted, diminishing the usefulness of this contraption…even though some of us still battle with it today.
Nowhere has this division been more useless, and even potentially harmful, than when applied to ourselves as human beings. Let me illustrate. A colleague asked me recently “how can we get our colleagues to support our initiatives at work?” An innocuous question on the surface of it. But as the conversation progressed, I realised that the foundation of his question actually sounded more like “is there a different set of rules for managing humans at work than in any other “area” of life?”
It took forever to help him see otherwise! My case was simply this — man is one being. The principles that govern his existence are the same, regardless of the purpose to which his capabilities are employed. It is becoming increasingly difficult, certainly less sustainable to try to get people to compartmentalize.
I think there are universal principles for how to inspire and motivate people — whether at work, at home or in their communities. Certain very general (not necessarily generic) frameworks exist for marshalling our collective capabilities to drive successful outcomes. I think most times we just shy away from doing the work because it is often complex, non-linear and messy!
Food for thought.