June 30, 2013

If it ain’t broke, break it ~ why disruption works

molly published this at 3:00 am

WARNING: Clichés imminent.

“Don’t make waves.”¯
“Don’t rock the boat.”
“Maintain the status quo.”¯
“Don’t mess with success… ”

Conventional wisdom also dictates that “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”¯ While it can be true that change for the sake of change is not always a good thing, it’s also prudent to value the infusion of new ideas and new modalities.

Nowadays, “disruptive innovation”¯ is almost as ubiquitous as “authentic” in terms of the frequency with which they are used as buzzwords. Some cite its origins with the work of Clayton Christensen from 1995, but for the purposes of today’s blog post, I’m going to reduce the concept of disruption to its most elemental as I understand it.

Every complexity has at its core an essential truth.

Disruption is the affect of the individual against The Whole and the reaction of The Whole against the findings/actions of the individual in response. It’s a symbiotic co-creation that propels us as both individuals and as a society forward. Forward motion in this model reminds me of a liquid clutch in a manual transmission. Somewhere in the nebulous area between forces, a cohesion forms and the transfer of power occurs. It is this gelling of thought and action that also propels us as individuals forward.

For individuals, these forces are the intersection of will and action.

That said, when we decide to make a change in our lives, we must first undo or unlearn specific patterns. We must, in the words of Whitney Johnson, “disrupt ourselves.”¯

“Every act of creation is first an action of destruction.”¯ ~ Pablo Picasso

Once you have made a decision to change something about your life, the destruction¯ part may be actually relatively easy: throwing out junk that has been collecting dust in an attic; moving to a new home or city; ripping out pages of a Little Black Book filled with numbers you no longer wish to call. These acts serve to tear down and remove that which no longer serves you in order to create a vacuum for what you do want. It’s physics.

When you are in the middle of this stage, you must try to make sure that as you remove the portions of your life that need to be excised, that it’s not at the expense of those things that need to be retained. Take the time to assess, measure and quantify what you are doing, lest you “throw the baby out with the bathwater.”¯ Sometimes it helps to have a close cadre of friends who support your new choice – friends who have the gift of discernment.

In addition to the liquid clutch analogy of disruptive forces, I also see disruption as a pebble being thrown into a lake. The pebble is your action. The sediment that is disturbed and suspended in the lake water represents the reaction against your action. The affects of your actions within your environment radiate in all directions, including the waves/ripples created on the surface.

What this means to you? When you decide to make a change, prepare yourself for the uncertainty that follows as your new¯ reality begins to form in response to your actions.

• Surround yourself with people who understand and value you.
• Accept that not everyone will “get”¯ you.
• Draw strength from mentors.
• Seek the lessons within “failure.”¯
• Reward yourself for your successes.
• Take time each day to invest in your health.
• Build your tolerance of comfort with uncertainty.
• Thank those who have helped you along the way.

When the sediment settles (and it always does), please remember to reach out to those who are still sifting. Your experiences and strength will help propel them forward. When have you “disrupted yourself?” What was the outcome? How did you grow? Please share your stories with us in the comments below.


Molly Cantrell-Kraig is a woman with drive. Possessing an innate sense of purpose and a pragmatic, solution-based approach to empowering people, she fused these two traits in order to establish Women With Drive Foundation. Based upon its founder’s personal history, Women With Drive Foundation is a means through which Cantrell-Kraig may effect change on both a micro and macro level. By providing women with something as essential as personal transportation in order to transition them from poverty to prosperity, she, through Women With Drive Foundation, seeks to empower women to help them help themselves. Through this action, the individual applicant benefits, as does society as a whole. Follow Molly on twitter as @mckra1g or @WWDr1ve (Women With Drive Foundation)

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3 Comments to “If it ain’t broke, break it ~ why disruption works”

  1. June 30th, 2013 at 9:08 am
    Ali Davies said

    Me and my husband have learnt to embrace disrupting the status quo over the years after learning that each time we did so it brought benefits by the bucket load. For example, we both left successful careers in the corporate world back in 2001 to find more freedom in life and work, we have moved countries twice and also have gone through the difficult process of removing toxic people from our lives.

    Each time we have taken the path of disrupting the status quo there has been fear, challenges, mistakes, feelings of discomfort and chaos etc.

    But each time, once we got through the chaos phase, it has always led to a much better place – mentally and physically.

    The key is for changes to be value based so that, as you point out above, you can avoid just making change for changes sake that doesn’t really add value.

    I think once you embrace the need to get comfortable with feeling uncomfortable and keep you eye on the benefits that will be achieved once the change has been navigated then change can be accepted, with all it’s challenges, as a process that is well worth perservering with.

  2. June 30th, 2013 at 10:02 am
    molly said

    Well said, Ali. Truly. Thanks so much for taking the time to add such a wonderful comment. :)

  3. August 5th, 2013 at 10:57 pm
    Is data the next disruptive technology? | fred zimny's serve4impact said

    […] If it ain’t broke, break it ~ why disruption works […]

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