Meet The Perennials :: Nilofer Merchant
We were wildly impressed and inspired when we saw Nilofer speak about Onlyness a few years ago at a conference in San Francisco. And it was kismet when our friend Raina, after reading GPs article on Perennials last year, put us in touch. There is so much we have in common with Nilofer’s philosophy on internal power, collaboration, and making a positive impact in the world. We’re thrilled to feature her as we kickoff our on-going series on Perennial curiosity.
NILOFER MERCHANT: “PROGRESS IS BORN OF NEW IDEAS”
“What are you curious about?” Having grown up in a traditional Islamic household where a woman’s “job” and destiny was to marry, I remember wondering why do so many people accept the status quo and say to themselves, that’s just ‘the way things are’. Today, I question why so many of our ideas are screened out based on the power of the person who brings them—not the caliber of the idea. And people say to me, ‘but humans are tribal, we screen out based on who we expect ideas to come from, and so this is just how it is.’ That seems so backwards. I mean, there was a time when it was legal for women to be beaten by their husbands, for slavery to exist, and even a time when child labor was considered a ‘good thing’ because at least those kids got fed. Today, we know better and strive for better. So I’m so curious why we accept the premise that ideas come from those who have the right experience, right brand background, and so on. Because, I’m convinced that’s why we are not seeing the solutions that humanity most needs. And so I’m curious what it will take to change that mindset. After all, all progress is born of new ideas. They let us reimagine who we are, and how we might be. Ideas rupture the status quo and incubate the future. A future that works for not just the few but for many.