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Zombies–the New Black

OKA Resilience Series #2

I trudge on through a haze—the grind of my daily life stretching out before me. Danger and threat are constant—at times a low-grade buzz and other times pointed and urgent. Everything looks like it always has—buildings, roads, cars—nothing has changed, yet everything is different. I feel totally disconnected from my world. So many people I used to know are gone, and it is hard to trust those who remain. And my goals—once happiness and success—have shifted to survival, the hope that I will not be consumed by the thoughtless crush of the zombie hoards.

Up until the zombie hoards bit, the above lament (while bleak and a little mellow-dramatic) could be anyone these days lamenting life in what I see more and more referred to as our VUCA world. Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous—the VUCA world around us pervades the economy, our professional roles and work cultures, politics, the media—this blend of challenging forces has given our brief period in history a bit of a sharp edge, and I contend the current zombie craze in movies and on TV is a perfect reflection of our collective holding of this VUCA world stress.

In years past, the celebrated pop culture monsters were inspired by science gone wrong or long-suffering Mother Nature lashing back to put us in our place. In the 90s and even early into the last decade, vampires had their latest swell of popularity, but these days vampires are out. Our connection to vampires seems to come in times of plenty, for vampires tend to live lives of decadence, even opulence, and their preying on victims takes on an almost seductive, passionate (albeit violent and bloody) tone. We are definitely, as a culture, in a zombie phase now, with many blockbuster zombie movies at the Cineplex and The Walking Dead being one of the best and most popular shows on TV. And there is nothing sexy, seductive or opulent about the shambling undead masses—the unrelenting, murderous, perpetually-consuming masses, compared to which, a vampire trying to give you a little bite on the neck seems almost quaint.

World War Z

Click to see World War Z Trailer

The Walking Dead

Click to see The Walking Dead Trailer

While OKA is woefully behind at preparing for the pending zombie apocalypse, we have been working on an interesting approach to Resilience, as a preventive measure (as well as a treatment) to the stress and pervasive attacks of the VUCA world—the world that our current zombie craze reflects so well.

In future posts, I’ll share how understanding your narratives (or governing archetypes) allows you resilience or keeps you from it. Similarly your Emotional Intelligence can create a web of self-determination and social cohesion that can pull you through the roughest of circumstances—while a lack of EQ can leave you exposed to the sharp edges and corners of a VUCA world.

Remember, kill the brain to take out a zombie. But your best approach to building your Resilience is a bit more complicated. Stay tuned to OKA (and this blog) in the upcoming weeks for our suggestions on how to do that.

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