The Organizational Development Muse

Dr. Mark L. Vincent's Blog

The Muse: Aretephobia Apathy Syndrome, a disease of the young

Posted by Mark L. Vincent on Mar 1, 2012 6:15:00 PM

Here is a guest blog from my son, Zach Vincent, writing about the need for young adults to care about excellence.

zachphoto resized 600As a youth pastor, I have constantly seen a disease within young American generations. It is a disease that is so grotesque that is compromises the very nature of God's orginal design for humanity. God designed people to have purpose. God designed us to strive to be the best we can be for the calling he has placed on our lives, no matter what that calling may be. Every character in the Bible, everyone who is worth talking about in history, everyone who is worth talking about today, had or has a purpose AND they fulfilled it...they have accomplished something great for the world and/or something great for God. Why? Because that is how humanity was designed by its Creator.

So what exactly is this disease? If I had to give it a title, I'd probably have to call it "aretephobia-apathy syndrome".

Aretephobia= "the fear of excellence". Many young Americans are throughly terrified of excelling. They would much rather fly under the radar and be satified with mediocrity. Aretephobia may be due to fear of the unknown as well since many young people have not experienced where excellence can take them. When it comes to excelling, the attitude in young American generations is, "God forbid if I do a good job! Then I'll be expected to do good work all the time!...that is just too hard for me!" Aretephobia is similar to laziness though they are not the exactly the same. The difference between these two concepts are the sources. The source of laziness is more of an unwilingness to work or fulfill a purpose at all. Laziness is a side effect of Aretephobia, not the cause. The source of Aretephobia is fear. Aretephobia begets laziness because the fear of success makes the sufferer unwilling to work. In my experience, many people my age and students I work with suffer from this fear in one form or another. One example I want to share with you is from a friend on Facebook who will remain nameless. The person wrote, "108% in my college class.... how does that happen?? i dont want ppl to expect more of me!" How sad!!! This post literally brought tears to my eyes!!! That person is clearly smart and has a lot of potential, but would rather be average than have expectations of excellence!!! This is just one of many examples of Aretephobia I have seen.

Apathy=In the context of this generational disease, apathy is simply not caring about the world and/or one's role within the world enough to move into action. Its not caring about the problems of the world, not caring about God kingdom, not caring about others, and not caring about how you can be used to fix those problems.

Syndrome=The culmination of symptoms that adds up to a condition that negatively effects something. In this case, the symptoms are Aretephobia and apathy. Together, these symptoms add up to a condition that, if not treated, will threaten society. When many people in a society stop caring about their purposes, stop caring about the problems of the world, and are too scared to fulfill their pursposes or fix worldly problems even if they did care, how long is that society going to last? That is scary to think about!

Here is my challenge to my generation and the generations after me. Don't be afraid! Start caring about the world! Start caring about God's kingdom! Start caring about your purpose! Don't let this disease exist within you! Know that God is in control and if He has called you to accomplish something, He will enable you to do so! Stop fearing success and start fearing what will happen if you don't succeed!

In my opinion, this disease is like a realistic Zombie apocalypse in our world! It is a disease that is spreading rapidly and is a significant threat. Stop living like you are dead and like nothing matters! Wake up and live! Fulfill the purpose God has called you to! Care because God cares! Our generations need to take up the mantles of our purposes!

Remember, change starts with one individual at a time. Choose to matter! After all, we matter to God and are created to be like God. Don't waste your opportunity!

-Zach Vincent

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Topics: process consulting, emell vee, Design Group International, Whorled Viewz, aretephobia

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