The persistent discrimination and double standard
You can fabricate your own reality. You can use your 100 trillion synapse brain to believe what makes you feel good and satisfy your pernicious cognitive biases. You can avoid a state of mental dissonance by ignoring inconvenient facts until your perception of the world is one big distortion. You can indoctrinate thousands of people with low self-esteem as to effect radical transformations in the social fabric. And if you can cluster and label them, (e.g. women, immigrants, homosexuals) you can rob them of their individual humanity and emigrate into your own universe of submissive conformity.
In case you don't adopt or even subconsciously enable this discriminative mindset, you would probably fall into a minority whose upward striving has been filtered through an inexhaustible list of evaluation tests to prove their worth. If you succeeded in overcoming challenges with perseverance drive and yet you are still an interesting person, congratulations, because the system has been trying to erode you into a bland, complaisant productivity tool.
Without a question, we live in a world where condescension and snobbery oozes from individuals consumed by power towards those with lower status and this endless string of one-sided attacks needs to be grounded. Our social malfunction is not a war between the sexes, it's the outcome of people who are disdainful of others and those who are apprehensive of change, all of which have one feature in common: ignorance. The core threat to society is not the dangerous minorities imposing fear, but rather the passive majority unwilling to think for itself and evolve. Imposed self-doubt tactics is a psychological warfare game. And much like in any war, the only winning move is not to play.
Finding the equilibrium constants
As the prison of stereotypes collapses (such as the role of women in the workforce) and biased perceptions, fallacies and glitches of irrational thinking diminish, we can pay more attention to content. I firmly believe that progress in social mentality does not come incrementally but can be achieved in daring leaps. All mental revolutions get built, just like houses, from the bottom up (starting with every citizen), not the top down (waiting from the governmental authorities to take action) and that's the spirit I want to convey within my corporate culture and my social cycles in general.
As a woman CEO of Transplants Without Donors, I always strive to examine the responsibilities of being a member of a team and confront the powerful ramifications of indifference and inaction. To this end, I seek to recruit members with high emotional intelligence that can read each other's emotions and become the glue in sticking the team together. There's no overbearing leader dominating everything in the same way that there's no weak link. After all, I prefer an imperfect startup ecosystem that cultivates individual responsibility and provides equal opportunities, than a dehumanizing legal assemblage that attempts to eliminate risk and managerial failures through a tangle of micromanaging statutes. At Transplants Without Donors LLC, our cognitive toolkit, our energy and our focus is placed upon solving the transplantation problem as an emergent system. Between the labyrinth of legislation mishaps and the marvelous challenges of donor organ availability, patient waiting lists and costs, we observe the death of common sense, where the healthcare system refuses to pave the way to the alternative therapeutic pathway of artificial organs but also requires you to be sick enough to get listed but well enough to survive the transplant.
Be part of the empowerment circuit
Socrates (469-399 B.C.) and Kant (1724-1804 A.D.) urged us to see the connections between big ideas and big achievements, and inspired generations to become more imaginative and daring while respecting the greater diversity of individuals. The biggest challenge for all of us today is to identify exactly who we are and what we stand for and become our own filter inclined to disenchant inequalities.
Many of us are living lives of distraction, unable to focus on improving ourselves and thus letting stereotypical behaviors against minorities become resurgent. Surely we can debunk archaic stereotypes (there is no chromosome war!) by evolving ourselves and encouraging our companies to pollinate new ideas. So whether you have faced immense struggles due to the perpetuation of inequalities or have been harder to yourself than circumstances warrant, you can be part of the empowerment circuit that will reboot the social mentality by being tenacious and trustworthy, having a strong personal identity with lots of grace and humility, acting with integrity and killing it with kindness. We are the ones we were waiting for.
Eleni Antoniadou is a finalist for the Cartier Women's Initiative Awards. CWIA is an international business plan competition created in 2006 by Cartier, the Women's Forum, McKinsey & Company and INSEAD business school to identify, support and encourage socially responsible and creative companies led by women entrepreneurs.
On October 16, 2014, six Laureates, one for each region, will be awarded $20,000 in funding, a full year of coaching, a lifetime access to the Cartier Women's Initiative Awards community and unique networking and visibility opportunities. To learn more visit here.