During my research about (high) sensitivity I came to understand that may of the qualities of (high) sensitive people are cut out for embracing today’s most cutting edge trends – without even making an effort! That’s when the idea came to me to share this connection between ‘trendiness’ and ‘(high) sensitivity with you.
- Are you interested in trends?
- Do you know which trends are ‘hot’ at the moment?
- Do you even care about being trendy?
I certainly never cared about any of the above.
Until I began to write this article and realized that (high) sensitives can not only be ‘naturally trendy’ these days but can also fulfill the crucial critical voice with ease.
Did I trigger your curiosity?
Let’s have a look at some of the main trends (in The Netherlands) of the past years, this year and the years to come (mostly according to Trendsetters*):
Trend 1: Dare to Share Sustainably (main trend year 2014)
Trend 2: Year of the Polder Positivism (main trend year 2016)
Trend 3: The competition between ‘The Swarm vs Dinosaurs’ (trend pillar year 2016)
Trend 4. Digital Democracy & Anxiety Saturation (trend pillar year 2016)
Trend 5. Benefit Economy (trend pillar year 2016)
Trend 6: New leadership: from dominant to curious and empathetic+
Trend 7: Vegetarianism +
Trend 8: Disharmonious development pace of man and technology (trend years 2016 – 2026)
Trend 9: Natural early warning system+
Trend 10: The Holistic Age: The next big thing (trend years 2016 – 2026)
Trend 1: Dare to Share Sustainably
What an interesting trend! Trendwatchers defines this trend by a couple of sub-trends that I love:
– Dare: Performing with Passion, something (high) sensitive people always have done and usually strive for.
– Sustainable: The Rooftop Revolution: The trend of how solar power can save our economy-and our planet-from dirty energy (see E-book and Dutch crowdfunding initiative).
This trend toward sustainable energy meets the dreams of the environmentally aware and naturally forward thinking (high) sensitive person extremely well.
– Share: Borrowing above Owning; also one of my favorites since it helps not only your own finances but promotes human interaction and down-scaling of exploitation, expectation, materialism and ‘rushing things’.
As we know from one of my earlier articles (high) sensitive people are naturally inclined to value their friends and acquaintances and they have learned (or have to learn) to take sufficient breaks in their routines to keep up their positive energy. ((High) sensitive advantage 10)
– Slow Living (Living Consciously, Health, Food, Sports). (High) sensitive people need to take regular breaks in order to keep up their positive energy. Therefore, ‘slow living’, now a trend, is very close to their natural rhythm of life.
Trend 2: ‘Polder Positivism’
According to Lieke Lamb from Trendwatchers the present (slight) economic improvements are motivating the Dutch to join forces and get to work building their future. True to the tradition of the Dutch Polder Model people don’t ‘choose a blind enthusiastic and selfish approach but opt for ‘Togetherness in self-reliance’.
This approach is the natural way that (high) sensitive people choose to operate anyhow. They are very aware of how their past and present actions can influence the future. By reflecting about related events that have happened in the past, and including all the possible outcomes of how their decision might affect the future, sensitive people do their best to create the best possible future. ((High) sensitive advantage 6)
Trendwatchers supports ‘Polder Positivism 2016 with a couple of trend pillars of which I selected 2 for further illustration:
- Swarm versus Dino economy
- Digital Democracy & Anxiety Saturation
Trend 3: The competition between ‘The Swarm vs Dinosaurs’
‘Dinosaurs’ stand for major long-established organizations such as the ministries; provinces; the unions; employers’ organizations; the Chamber of Commerce; Pension funds and some multinationals. This group responds deliberately slow to changing conditions.
The (economic and social) space left open by the Dino’s allows a swarm of small initiatives to arise which translate changes in conditions rapidly to disruptive innovations. The new innovations can quickly be tested on a small scale. Such ‘swarm initiatives’ give a lot of freedom, flexibility and independence from the old (often rusted) ways of thinking of the established order. Examples are crowdfunding, crowdsourcing and wisdom of the crowd.
The ability of (high) sensitive people to learn something new without being aware that they have learned is very handy in these times of hanging conditions and the emerging of new ways of thinking, living and doing business. Learning new ways without the ‘stress’ that can accompany the feeling of ‘having to learn something’ allows (high) sensitive people to easily and intuitively pick up information of all kinds and work through it in a semiconscious or unconscious way. ((High) sensitive advantages 5+7)
Trend 4. Digital Democracy & Anxiety Saturation
In recent years, the trust in, among others, government, political and financial institutions such as banks, and insurance and pension funds shrunk considerably. Many consumers therefore choose to break free from long-term contracts to increasingly draw their own plan. This process is called ‘de-systematization’. Meanwhile, the media are unwittingly separating from the citizenry in their fight to survive. It is this fear for survival that led the media to shout increasingly fierce and intendedly adopt extreme positions to keep up their sales numbers. Yet on the side of the news consumer, a sort of Anxiety Saturations reigns after years of bad news. This has led to a new generation of news consumers, the ‘news consumer 2.0’. The news consumer 2.0 enriches his knowledge in a progressive way by using digital media tools to prepare for concrete action himself, whether or not on a small scale. On the basis of self-regulation citizens join forces. Striking examples of this is are ‘GeenPeil’ referendum about EU association treaty with Ukraine and the various activities of critical online communities like AVAAZ.
This trend agrees well with the (high) sensitive person’s ability to process material to deeper levels. They relate and compare what they experience to past lessons from other similar situations. The information is processed in what psychologists call ‘semantic memory’, a type of long-term memory that deals with meanings, understandings, and other concept-based knowledge. ((High) sensitive advantage 4)
Trend 5: Benefit Economy
Benefit economy (formally known as ‘Sharing Economy’) describes the trend shift from ‘possession’ to ‘access’ through sharing, borrowing and swapping. Benefit economy initiatives all have a clear advantage for the customer: Think of Airbnb & Night Swapping (sharing housing); Peerby (sharing tools); SnappCar & GeenWheels (sharing cars). The big advantage for the customer is mainly produced by shortening the supply chain and providing transparency in an industry.
Naturally inclined to strive for a deeper meaning and greater good (high) sensitive people have practiced sharing even before it became trendy. ((High) sensitive advantages 6, 9+10)
Trend 6: New leadership: From dominant to curious and empathetic
If the key to effective leadership used to be ‘I’, it is now changing into ‘we’. Even multinationals like Google seem to think the greatest companies have compassionate leaders. After all, to inspire means ’to breathe into’. Interestingly, other trends like yoga, meditation, and mindfulness which presently find their way into companies work spaces all revolve about breathing. In today’s knowledge economy a company is successful if heterogeneous knowledge is collected, selected and translated to a valuable solution for the customer. A curious leader is characterized by his open mind for new developments and ideas. According to management researcher Prof. Willem Verbeke of the Erasmus University Rotterdam curious leaders are best suited for these challenges and is able to translate them into helping companies to become (more) profitable. Being curious and empathetic at work doesn’t mean trading suits and spreadsheets for tiger-patterned leggings and herbal tea (though I’m a fan of both). It simply means finding ways to become more aware, tapping into our reserves of creative leadership and compassion, and then practicing these skills. Because life is always a practice.
(High) sensitive people notice subtleties that others may miss. Although the sense organs are the same than those of non-HSPs the information that they gather is processed more detailed, because areas of the brain that are associated with more complex processing are used. In addition, (high)sensitive people reflect naturally. They often are more aware of and better able to talk about their inner reflections and musings. This includes the analysis on the underlying factors of a project or plan that went wrong and helps them to avoid a similar mistake in the future. Lastly, (high) sensitive people have high levels of empathy and the wish to act upon what they sense in others. Sensitive people are naturally aware of other people’s moods and intentions which is a very useful quality for empathic leaders. ((High) sensitive advantages 1, 9+10)
Trend 7: Vegetarianism
Among surveyed countries, the general trend shows vegetarianism on the rise.
The earliest record of vegetarianism comes from Indus Valley Civilization as early as the 7th century BC. In the Indian culture the diet was closely connected with the idea of nonviolence towards animals (called ahimsa in India) and was promoted by religious groups and philosophers. Among the Hellenes, Egyptians and others, it had medical or Ritual purification purposes. Following the Christianization of the Roman Empire in late antiquity, vegetarianism practically disappeared from Europe as from many other areas, except India. It re-emerged during the Renaissance, becoming more widespread in the 19th and 20th centuries. In 1847, the first Vegetarian Society was founded in the United Kingdom. The International Vegetarian Union followed in 1908. In the Western world, the popularity of vegetarianism grew during the 20th century as a result of nutritional, ethical, and more recently, environmental and economic concerns.
Being naturally ‘forced’ to take good care of themselfes in order to keep up positive energy, and inclined to care about the well-being of others, vegetarianism agrees very well with (high)sensitive people. Het switch from a normal diet to a vegetarian way of life might agree particularly well with them also because they naturally have to be concerned about taking good care of themselves in order to ‘function’. ((High) sensitive advantages 1+10)
Trend 8: Disharmonious development pace of man and technology
Certainly an interesting trend. As you undoubtedly have noticed, technologizing has been exploding in the past decades. While I still grew up without a TV set and only one phone in the house which was securely fastened to a cable that kept its range very tight, most of today’s children and adults take 2 or 3 TV sets for granted and own a mobile phone each. Just to name a few technological trends.
Forecasts for future technology are very futuristic indeed: technology to measure our heart rate while we exercise are old news, but what do you think of innovations to ‘measure how drunk you are with a bracelet’, to improve our vision and to enable us to do even more things at once? While there are many useful and helpful technologies, there are also some that might not be as useful or at least, that have a potentially harmful potential for man and the environment. While some trendsetters are eager to participate in the latest, the newest, the craziest developments, (high) sensitive persons have an inborn healthy criticism that might be very necessary in the future to shed a more balanced light on recent technical developments and place visionary long-term question mark concerning their safeties and overall benefit for society. ((High) sensitive advantages 2+9)
Trend 9: Natural early warning system+
Reflecting back on trends 4 (Digital Democracy & Anxiety Saturation) and 8 (Disharmonious development pace of man and technology) there is a realistic chance in present developments that not all trends are beneficial on the long term. Technology might create facilities that seem helpful and hopeful today but bear (yet) unseen dangers (think of the atomic bomb creation and the effect that negative news reports have on the peoples sense of feeling save and secure in their environment). (High) sensitive persons can play an important role here. They are natural sensors. Because of their ability to notice subtleties that others may miss they notice changes and abnormalities in their environment earlier than others and can call to action, (high) sensitive people can also help them to avoid similar mistakes in the future. Think of this ability as an early warning system not only for technical developments but also for developments in society and in interpersonal relations and groups. Just like in former times the canary birds would be taken into the mines as ‘living detectors’ of sufficient oxygen for the mine workers (high) sensitive people can detect the start of things going wrong intuitively. Much alike the canary birds which usually hit the alarm much earlier than humans could, and thus allowed for the evacuation of tunnels that were not safe for the workers. ((High) sensitive advantages 1,2,9+10)
Trend 10: The Holistic age: Next big thing
After stone age, iron age, mechanical age, industrial age and information age the natural course of progression seems to lead, according to Trendwatchers, toward the holistic age. Holism (from Greek ὅλος holos ‘all, whole, entire’) is the idea that systems (physical, biological, chemical, social, economic, mental, linguistic, etc.) and their properties should be viewed as wholes, not as collections of parts. This often includes the view that systems function as wholes and that their functioning cannot be fully understood solely in terms of their component parts.
This concept agrees completely with the (high) sensitive person’s naturally high level of empathy and the wish to act upon what they sense in others. And with their wish to help others and them oftentimes remaining idealists their whole life long. In addition their use of their ‘sixth sense’ supercomputer (their refined intuition) helps to find all kinds of answers to new challenges. Sometimes by simply meditation or just relaxing or taking a walk. Lastly (high) sensitive people are very aware of how their past and present actions can influence the future. By reflecting about related events that have happened in the past, and including all the possible outcomes of how their decision might affect the future, sensitive people do their best to create the best possible future for all humanity. ((High) sensitive advantages 5,6+10)
This is my top 10 list of interesting trends that agree well with being (high) sensitive. More trends that are being forecasted until the year 2026 are, f.ex.:
– Ageing & Generation Exit (Brain Drain, exodus highly educated)
– Hydrogen economy (eg thorium, nuclear fusion) & Solar Economy
– Commercial application of new materials such as graphene
– Technological Singularity
– Nano Assemblers
– Dutch gas network will be shut down in the coming decades
What do you think – is this not a super exciting subject? If by now you wonder if you are (high) sensitive yourself, just take this quick, renown test and find out!
If you learn that you are (highly) sensitive: congratulations! Or maybe you knew it already but did not know how to use it to your advantage – or to everybody’s advantage! Either way, I’d be delighted if you get in touch with me for help or inspiration on you journey, or just for your empowerment and recognition that the community of (highly) sensitive people is alive and kicking!
Rests me to be a bit curious myself and ask you some feedback:
- Which trend do you find the most exciting?
- Which one surprised you the most as complying with (high) sensitives?
- Did you have any moment of ‘Ah – I want to do more with that particular trend’?
- Has your perception of (high) sensitive people as belonging periphery of society changed? For that matter, which role do you see for (high) sensitive persons to become more active and visible in in the future?
Let me know!
If you liked this article, mark the following data in your agenda:
’10 essential ‘instant Zen’ flower remedies for (high) sensitive person’s emergency use’ ( June 22th)
‘ Surprising diet adaptations for (high) sensitive persons that really help improving your resilience’ ( July 6th)
’10 practical and fun tips if you have or work with (high) sensitive children’ (August 31th)
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