Over the weekend, I found myself down a rabbit hole obsessing over the recent updates to the limits to growth and the impending collapse of society in 2040. #zerochill. At the same time, I found myself reading about Prince's new album Welcome 2 America. In his review in the New Yorker, Sheldon Pearce, writes, "Prince’s “Welcome 2 America” is the music of political and religious renewal… The album’s primary purpose is picturing a truly free nation under God and under a groove, in that order. The tone is at once accusatory and uplifted, asking the listener to challenge American hegemony and conceptualize something better—something sanctified…The album sets aside dogma and taps into spirituality as an agent of invigoration." 

So in order for us to consider what the limits to growth mean, to avoid that collapse of civilization that is within visioning distance, we'll use the soundtrack of Prince's new album to conceptualize something better for business. Each hyperlink is a lyric or a song title from his new album. It will take you to the song on his album and carry us to clarity. Because what could be stranger than the times we're in?


When we talk about the climate crisis, we often talk about temperatures and their rise as a result of our treatment of Mother Nature. But when she comes to her hottest rise yet, we have yet to fully understand the collapse of the world's systems and the potential chaos that will ensue as Bill McKibben reminded us in his most recent piece in the New Yorker. Those systems include the social and economic structures that govern our current reality.

It might seem counterintuitive, but if we are to think about existing and co-creating new limits of growth, we must first be able to expand our capacity for existential growth through our creative and critical thinking. If you're ready for a brand new nation, it has to start within your mind. Because transformation happens deep within, yes or no? Yes


In All About Love, bell hooks has a whole chapter dedicated to understanding greed and its implications. She says that " unending; the desire is ongoing and can never be satisfied." But when we think of greed, we often do not think of ourselves if we're not part of the 1% or "those people" (fill in any person you feel judgmental about in terms of wealth accumulation). The puritanical roots of our culture fool us from realizing we have so much more in common if we'd only look.

Greed drives us, whether it's for wealth accumulation or to feed our addiction to workaholism: the bump of that next email, that next insta like, that viral tiktok moment, the unanswered slack. Busyness will get ya so high.  It fuels the intoxication that drives so much of entrepreneurship. 

But the truth is, we, who have the power and privilege to make different choices, can collectively fabricate this reality. Almost one hundred years ago, the economist John Maynard Keynes predicted that by this time we'd be so productive we'd only be working 15 hours a week and have time for excess leisure. But anthropologist James Suzman helps us understand why we've been on the path that willingly chooses productivity over the pleasure of peaceful time away—time and time again.

In his most recent book, Work: A Deep History from the Stone Age to the Age of Robots, Suzman explains that it is our scarcity mindset that has driven the developed world up to our current day. Where we claim abundance and progress, we're often facilitating poverty and devastation—even within our small companies.


Our efforts to conceptualize "something better - something sanctified" all depend on what you think you see. If you look at the word growth and immediately assume that in order to honor the limits to growth you must be restrictive, you're probably missing the opportunity to maximize your participation towards progress. 

What I am seeing with entrepreneurs who are rising to the occasion is an expansion in their mindset. An existential growth, first as leaders. An experience of growing beyond what they thought was possible for their companies previously, including new flexible working arrangements, new opportunities to scale back to a 4 day work week, a broader diversification of their workforce, an increased offering in wages and benefits, and a conservation of material resources.


What's interesting about each of these initiatives that break the scarcity mentality we have suffered under, is that each requires us to grow as leaders. You cannot scale back your workweek without scaling up your companies infrastructure to support it. You cannot scale back your rigid in-person working structure without scaling up your capacity for transparency and training. You cannot grow your wages and benefits without first mastering your financial wellbeing. You cannot create a culture of true diversity, equity, and inclusion without growing your own self-awareness and self-acceptance as a leader. And you cannot strategically conserve material resources without growing your awareness of new techniques, technologies, and tools within your trade. 

Let's check the record now: the limits to growth are no longer deniable. No matter how small we think our reach is, the thinking that got us here will not get us to where one day we will all be free. We must each grow. It won't take long, you can't go wrong!  

(Each Prince song used! 🎶)


Our next book club will meet on SEPTEMBER 14th at 7 pm. We will be reading Kate Raworth's Doughnut Economics. This is a free event, please email me to register. 


I recently hired Frank McClung to help me improve the accessibility of my website. If you run a service-based business, I highly recommend hiring Frank to help you with your compliance. Frank is a vet and writes good deep thoughts about business as well! 

You can listen to James Suzman speak to Ezra Klein about our history of work and scarcity. 

I found this conversation about media between Bari Weiss and Ryan Holiday fascinating! In September, I'll be sharing an update about my year without social media and how it changed my relationship to media in general. Stay tuned! 

I've been enjoying Bob Doto's newsletter Society of the Self. If philosophy, religion, pop culture, and capitalism are also your intersection of curiosity, you will enjoy it! Sign up here

I'm excited for Sally Rooney's upcoming novel, Beautiful World, Where Are You. Glad to know I'm not the only one obsessing over the impending destruction of the Earth

I recently started reading Believers: Making a Life at the End of the World by Lisa Wells. I've found it to be refreshing and hopeful. 


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