Spirit of Our Time


Zeitgeist (tsīt'gīst) : the defining spirit or mood of a particular period of history as shown by the ideas and beliefs of the time - Oxford Dictionaries

Consider this. Newness is not what you think it is. Neither is genius, creativity, or innovation.

How we live our lives – our beliefs, values, behaviors, and rituals – are all based off a succession of interconnected historical ideas, events, and phenomenon packaged up and passed down, over time, through the institutions, laws, and customs that govern us. 

As our knowledge and interpretation of the world shift so do our perceptions and ultimately lifestyle. The version of the truth that we live by is just that – a version. Nevertheless this version influences each and every one of us more than we realize.

Those we credit with being trendsetters, inventors, thought leaders, and entrepreneurs, are merely conduits for this underlying current – or ethos – that defines our time. The rebels, hipsters, and liberals too, fight against one norm only to unknowingly succumb to another. 

The greatest innovations of mankind were not created in a vacuum. No one man can stake claim to any idea even if it materialized in his own head, as its inspiration can surely be traced beyond him.

These may be difficult thoughts to stomach.

As individuals and businesses we like to believe that we make unique contributions to the world we live in. We want to be pathfinders, pioneers, and trailblazers.

Well, we are. It's what defines mankind on both an individual and societal level. Though it seems we ignore, or perhaps are ignorant to, the driving forces behind each generation's accomplishments (including our own).

There's an ongoing debate amongst philosophers, scientists, professors, businessmen, and creatives, around the origin of ideas, the cause of innovation, and the factors that spur leadership.

I share the viewpoint of George Hegel, German philosopher, who stated: "no man can surpass his own time, for the spirit of the time is also his own spirit".

I'm not discouraged by his sentiment and neither should any other individual, creative, or brand, that aspires to greatness. The catch here is that perhaps you can simplify your path by working with the spirit instead of against it.