80 percent of what we learn is done socially

We’ll say it again: human beings are hyper social creatures, who learn mostly by copying others.

And when we copy something, it is never 100% accurate, so mutations occur. And sometimes these mutations are improvements. That’s how things evolve.

A great example of this are the young British musicians in the 1960s who were copying the traditional black blues singers from America, having heard their recordings they bought from merchant sailors returning home from the United States. The Brits didn’t have the cultural DNA to copy them 100% accurately, so what they ended up with was this hybrid between African-American blues and English folk tunes, the end result being bands like the Rolling Stones, Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin.

There was no instruction manual. They just copied, and made it their own unique thing.

And this is how behaviors spread with organizations as well. This explains why so many people at Google, let’s say, are into Cross-Fit or Triathlons. Or people at Apple getting into Eastern meditation. Or why things like white-boarding or fußball tables or open office plans are suddenly all the rage.

Nobody wrote a memo. We just copy. Because that’s what we do. And sometimes it takes off.

Mark Earls: Copy, Copy, Copy

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Author of many travel blogs and user of www.travelmustard.com