American Voices on Reinvention

08/07/2013 10:20 am ET | Updated Oct 07, 2013

The American experience has always been one of starting over, rethinking, reworking, and reinventing.

In the early 21st Century, a reinvention movement is taking place at all levels of society. Reinvention belongs to everyone. It isn't a commodity. It's an idea, a meme, a fluid structure, a new way of seeing problems, a method of motivation, a way forward.

In the media business, reinvention is quickly becoming the only way to do business. New ideas are emerging -- from people on the fringes inventing life-altering products, writers changing minds, people entering politics in order to make a real and lasting change, and from communities that are making a stand and changing recalcitrant minds stuck in the past.

Flip through a magazine, Google or Bing the topic of reinvention, scroll through your smartphone, or turn on your TV. Reinvention leaps out at you.

The reinvention movement is open to all. It asks everything of you and it asks nothing of you. Your starting point is anywhere on the globe. The day you begin reinventing yourself, your business, your community is any day you pick on the calendar. start by recharging your batteries and then think about how reinvention fits into your life.

We asked a few people in media, business, and the arts what reinvention means to them.

"When I hear the word "reinvention" I get an initial blast of "Wow, I can do something completely different. Either from the bottom-up or top-down. A vocational tear-down." I tend to go for the dramatic. Then I get quiet and reflective, and I realize what I'm being called to do is subtler. I think what I'm being called to do is use the same skills, the same gifts, but use them differently. And by differently, I mean with a completely different focus, an evolved consciousness, a better purpose. In my case, this means approaching what I do as service, not self-serving. More along the lines of really helping someone, not impressing them into giving me something (like praise, money, or material goods)."
Ben Hollis, Television personality and Host of Wild Chicago

"For me, reinventing my business seems to be a yearly practice. But it doesn't mean changing everything, it simply means making a relevant tweak here or there, and effectively focusing on things that aren't working effectively. A different perspective often yields amazing results. Most people's lives are so hectic that what they really want on a vacation is the time to just "be" or hang out with no structured activities. My business is renting beach cottages by the night, and I'm considering the tag-line "Come "be" at our beach." I want guests to know that it's beneficial to unwind, unplug, and just let go. After all, unplugging is becoming a movement too."
Allison Willing, Owner of Beach Cottages on Marrowstone Island

"Reinvention can be a kind of apotheosis - a chance to turn yourself inside-out. You can have a de-centering and re-centering of self, and in this newly fractured world, perception is pushed beyond all previous limits and all mental models of the world have to be upgraded. Thinking is deconditioned, and one experiences afresh what Dr. Leary called "the hardly bearable ecstasy of direct energy exploding on your nerve endings."
Jason Silva, Host of Brain Games

"On an organic level the body reinvents itself with every breath. Cells die off and are replaced by new ones. The imperative of reinvention exists deep in our tissues and it is both the duty and privilege of intelligent life. We can do nothing but chart unknown and unoccupied countries, and using experience and what wisdom comes with practice, we people them with our dreams."
Gary Lemons, Poet and Author of "Snake" from Red Hen Press