One moment you are relevant and the next moment you are not. Moment over here is just to symbolise time. The period between relevant and irrelevant can be longer.
What happens in the intervening period? Why do things and people become irrelevant? It’s not just about relationships, whether it is between two individuals, organisation and employees or two business entities, it happens with our possessions, it happens with technology.
The best example of technology that comes to my mind is how pagers became irrelevant so quickly in our country! We were just about getting used to the pagers and then they were gone. Cellular technology wiped them out. But then with technology, that is always the danger. Someone somewhere is always working on making the technology better.
But what goes wrong in relationships? Why does one individual become irrelevant? Why does an employee become irrelevant? Why does an organisation become irrelevant?
In marketing of course, a brand has to constantly stay relevant for the consumer. More so in this day and age where the consumers are evolving way faster than they used to. They are constantly in a state of flux when it comes to not just brands but even product categories. We, as part of the profession, are always finding ways to keep the brand relevant.
So what goes wrong in relationships? Why are we not able to keep ourselves relevant for our partner, for our organisation, for our employees and for our business partners? After all, these relationships are also being constantly battered by the changing environment. Why don’t we invest time (it’s all about time always) in relationships the way we do in our work?
What goes wrong? Why don’t we work on staying relevant? We are not a product or a technology that gets bettered by another product or technology. We don’t have to go through hours of consumer research to understand what’s going wrong, what is changing. It is happening to us. We can feel it. We can sense it. But we just let it happen.
There are enough books about how to keep things going but hell! We don’t read any of them. Books about personal relationships. Books about employee engagements. Books about perfect relationships. But do they work even if we read them. We tend to give up all too easily on another individual, employee or an organisation. Either we become irrelevant for them or they become irrelevant for us.
I don’t know if there is an answer to this conundrum but according to my very cynical view, it is all about money. Money is perhaps a loose term for all things materialistic.
We have become extremely materialistic and money minded. In our head, everything is about ROI. And time of course. Maybe it is also about the Law of Diminishing Marginal Utility. Or maybe it is about flatlining. We believe that the time required is not going to justify the returns. The relationship has either flatlined or is on a downward curve now. Our time and effort is better invested in something that we feel is more relevant. So One becomes relevant and the other irrelevant.
We have become selfish. Everything is about us. Our view of who is relevant and who is not. But look around, observe, pay close attention to what is happening around you. Try to invest time in understanding people. People you have started thinking as irrelevant. They make look so right now but will the situation change? When suddenly they will matter. Will there come a time when you will become irrelevant.
Why have we stopped being empathetic?
There is a fabulous serial called Person of Interest. Watch it. In fact binge watch it. In a machine world where the machine and people running those machines decide who is relevant and who is not, there is a group of people who believe in human values. They make it their task to help those identified as irrelevant by the machine. Put faith in human values and emotions. Look beyond the spoken or typed words.
(Image courtesy wikia and fandom)