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Public opinion swings every 40 years between two polar opposites – like a Pendulum. One of these 40 year periods is called a ‘We’ Cycle and the other 40 years is called a ‘Me’ Cycle. A ‘We’ Cycle is all about relationships, collaboration and cooperation, and a ‘Me’ Cycle is all about self-expression, personal freedom and individualism. But let’s go a bit more specific…. what actually ARE the key values that differentiate one cycle from the other?

Let’s take a look…

A ‘Me’ Cycle (the previous one being 1963 – 2003) is all about the individual, who is considered as unique, special and with unlimited potential.

These are a few of the key values:

1) Demands freedom of expression
2) Applauds personal liberty
3) Believes 1 man is wiser than a million men. “A camel is a racehorse designed by a committee”
4) Wants to achieve a better life
5) Is about big dreams
6) Desires to be Number One. “I came, I saw, I conquered.”
7) Admires individual confidence and is attracted to decisive persons.
8) Leadership is “Look at me. Admire me. Emulate me if you can.”
9) Strengthens a society’s sense of identity as it elevates attractive heroes.

You can get an idea from the above values that a ‘Me’ Cycle is NOT about things such as personal sacrifice or relationships. It’s all about the power of 1 – whether that 1 person be yourself (“I have the power to do or be anything!”) or in the form of a hero (“wow, that person is incredible!”).

A ‘We’ Cycle (the current one being 2003 – 2043) is all about the group, the team, the tribe, the collective – who thinks outwardly rather than inwardly.

These are a few of the key values:

1) Demands conformity for the common good.
2) Applauds personal responsibility
3) Believes a million men are wiser than one man. “Two heads are better than one.”
4) Wants to create a better world.
5) Is about small actions.
6) Desires to be a productive member of the team. “We came, we saw, we concurred.”
7) Admires individual humility and is attracted to thoughtful persons.
8) Leadership is, “This is the problem as I see it. Please consider the things I am telling you and perhaps we can solve this problem together.
9) Strengthens a society’s sense of purpose as it considers all its problems.

As you can see, the general sentiment is very different from the previous ‘Me’ Cycle… the public sentiment during a ‘We’ Cycle is much more cooperative and humble