Future Shock - and Network Marketing Distributors
"Future shock" has become an idiom since the futurist Alvin Toffler's book by that title was published in 1970. In his book, Toffler describes the vast impact of modern world’s intensive changes over human beings.
We are habitual creatures by nature, tend to cling to the familiar and known and feel secure in our traditional routines. A change, any change – even for the best – is initially perceived by most people as a threat, because it holds the unknown.
Thus we are likely to react with avoidance, disregard and even fear when faced with too extreme or too intensive changes in our life.
"We have always done it this way" is a most common say, generated by our psychological need of defense from having to face change.
Although we tend to view change as an occasional phenomenon in our life, Toffler claims that there is nothing more constant in life than change, and if you have poor adoptability to changes – you are bound to stay behind.
Toffler goes far more than that by describing a state of distress and disorientation, which he terms as the Future Shock - a reaction of inability to cope with the rapid, intensive changes of our era, in the social, environmental and technological world.
The PC and the Internet have become part of our lives for quite some time now, yet, they still present a threat to a lot of people. Too many distributors would rather not trade their safe traditional tools and methods, already tested and working- for the insecurity involved with the challenge of change and progress.
In this article will try to shed some light on the relationship between network marketing distributors and the change-resisting phenomenon.
Human development chart
If we arbitrarily divide human history into two parts, where the dividing point in time is the industrial revolution started in 1750, we can clearly see that for 500,000 years there was little to no change at all.
A small change started some 10,000 years ago, with the beginning of agriculture, converting us from nomads and hunters to settlers. Only 250 years ago, our way of life and environment, took a steep turn with the introduction of new technologies in an ever accelerating pace.
Let us indicate some of the major, most important events in human history to clarify our argument.
• The appearance of the "Homo Sapience" - 500,000 years ago
• Start of agriculture – 10,000 years ago
• Invention of writing and the wheel – 5,500 years ago
• Creation of "City-state" in Greece – 3,200 years ago
• Invention of print – 1436
• Start of the industrial revolution - 1750
• Invention of the car– 1769
• Invention of Telephone – 1870
• First "flying machines" – 1903
• Introduction of television – 1925
• Personal computer – 1975
• Mobile phone – 1985
• The Internet – 1990
This accelerated technological development does not correlate with human psychology, in other words, human psychology fails to catch-up with technology’s pace of development. When these two processes collide, it may create a psychological shock.
Our survival instinct tells us to cling to the known and familiar and be suspicious of anything new or unknown. The pace and intensity of changes occurring in the world during the short time of 250 years "bombard" our senses and frights us into seeking security within our familiar environment.
Phases of Network Marketing
Network marketing started some 45 years ago. Since the humble start of the first company "Nutrilite", many more companies have adopted the new marketing model.
Richard Poe in his book, Wave 4 (Network Marketing in the 21st Century) summarizes network marketing into the following phases or waves:
1945 - 1979 - The Underground Phase
1979 - 1989 - The Proliferation Phase
1990 - 1999 - The Mass Market Phase
2000 and beyond -The Universal Phase
Today, Network marketing is a 100 billions industry, with tens of thousands companies offering an ever increasing variety of products.
Network marketing and technology
Early network marketing companies were relaying on what was current computing, marketing and communication means.
Computing means: Fact: In near disastrous Gemini 8th flight in March 1966, engineers in Euston flight control center used bamboo slide rules to calculate the entrance coordinate of the space vehicle to earth! That was only short 40 years ago. Only 30 years ago the first electronic calculators emerged – which by the way were very expensive!
The breakthrough of the second wave of network marketing (starting 1979) was enabled primarily due to computer's development. The new computing power was used to reduce overhead on one hand, and enhanced capabilities to manage big and diverse operations, on the other hand. Network marketing companies could now offer a variety of compensation programs, which was not an option before computer age.
And what about marketing and advertising? Well, here the early network marketing concept relied on personal relationships and a mouth to ear process. Marketing channels were local mostly, commonly based on fliers, stickers, buttons, newspaper ads and house parties.
The Internet which emerged as a powerful communication and advertising mean only 10 – 12 years ago, was adopted by some of the third wave’s generation of network marketing companies.
Future shock and network marketing distributors
The growth of network marketing companies and distributors' organizations is based on duplication principle. New distributors are encouraged by thier sponsors to use the same tools and methods used by to recruit them, or in other words: to duplicate. Naturally, being new, the distributor is not likely to dispute his up-liner.
Since the use of tools and methods proven successful in the past is being passed on from sponsors to their down-lines as the trade's formula for success, new generations of distributors tend to hold to them automatically. They do so not only because this is the going method in the company, or because it may still work for them - but also because they dare not risk their present security for the hazard of change. As mentioned earlier, change is a threat and the internet is still regarded as a frightening, unfamiliar realm by many people.
From this aspect, what happens today regarding the Internet and other advanced technologies doesn’t differ much from peoples’ reaction to the Industrial revolution of the 18th century.
At the dawn of the industrial revolution, people rejected the wave of change that flooded Europe. Their rejection was expressed in violent actions generated by fear and wish to maintain traditional, old way of life.
Was this any effective? Did it manage to stop progress and advancement?
Those who showed good adaptability to changes and implemented new ways in their life - prospered, and those who stood against it were swamped away by the overwhelming power of change.
Ask yourself: how open minded and able you are to face the challenge of change? Can you accept new developments, inventions and concepts and make the change in your life accordingly?
An illustration of this issue is best described in a quote of the allegory extracted from Richard Bach (author of Jonathan Livingston Seagull), in his book "Illusions".
"Once there lived a village of creatures along the bottom of a great crystal river. Each creature in its own manner clung tightly to the twigs and rocks of the river bottom, for clinging was their way of life, and resisting the current what each had learned from birth.
But one creature said at last, "I trust that the current knows where it is going. I shall let go, and let it take me where it will. Clinging, I shall die of boredom. And he let go…"
…"And the creatures downstream, to whom he was a stranger, cried, "See a miracle! A creature like ourselves, yet he flies! See the Messiah, come to save us all!"
And the one carried in the current said, "I am no more Messiah than you. The river delights to lift us free, if only we dare let go. Our true work is this voyage, this adventure."
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