Honey Badger Don’t Care
I was facilitating an executive retreat recently and couldn’t get the team back from lunch. They were in the other room laughing hysterically at a YouTube video called “The Crazy Nasty*** Honey Badger.” (There have been more than 14MM views of this viral video.) An oft-repeated line throughout the video is, “The Honey Badger Don’t Care!”
After watching the intense interest generated by this video, I recalled another executive group of mine that was in tears laughing over a YouTube cartoon video called “iPhone4 vs. HTC Evo,” in which the character seeking to buy an iPhone keeps repeating, “I don’t care” to whatever the guy trying to sell her an Evo says. (This video has more than 13MM viewings.)
Yesterday I heard a radio station in Seattle say, “We play what we want. We don’t care.”
I am fascinated at the sudden cultural presence and popularity of the “I don’t care” sentiment. I find myself asking “what are these otherwise intelligent, capable, hard working leaders seeing and hearing that makes “I don’t care” so funny? And they are clearly not alone given the number of viewings and TV shows, blogs and columns that reference these videos. It’s just silly humor – however in all humor there is a grain of truth or it wouldn’t be funny. And given the popularity of this “I don’t care” notion it’s something to stop and consider.
As a leader, I’m always looking for early signals of patterns and trends. I want to know what might be developing, what business opportunities might be involved, and how failing to be aware might impact my leadership.
So I’m going to make an assertion. Mark Twain said, “Humor is tragedy plus time.” My assertion is that there is pain and longing (tragedy) reflected in the collective laughter and viral showings of these videos. There is a repressed frustration, perhaps even anger, and a lot of stress out there. People are yearning to say, (perhaps shout), “I DON’T CARE! I WANT WHAT I WANT!” to all the external demands, pressures and unrelenting change they are facing right now.
We live in a extraordinarily stressful time that is demanding agility, flexibility and adaptation to an ever increasing rate of change. For the most part, we are hanging in there and figuring it out, but the “shadow” or opposite side of this is the wish to be able to say, “I don’t care! I want what I want!” I think the extreme examples of this are the political demonstrations and riots we are seeing around the world. At its most basic what’s happening is that people are fed up and they don’t care anymore. They want what they want.
Have you found yourself wanting to yell, “I don’t care!” What are you doing for yourself to release this pressure? If this sentiment is inside of your teams are you creating any release valves for them? Are you ready for the potential revolt if you don’t?