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What is “disruption,” above and beyond someone simply interrupting you while you’re busy? 
 
In business terms, disruption is an innovation that creates a new market and new customer habits within a particular industry, rattling the established, industry-leading companies and the value of their products and services.
 
You probably hear about disruption or “disruptors” a lot these days, especially digital or technological disruption. Some high profile examples of digital and technological disruptors who’ve changed entire industries during this young century include Google, Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Netflix. During the late 20th Century, two of the biggest tech disruptors were Microsoft and Intel. 
 
And like almost anything else that’s constantly discussed across industries and disciplines and, eventually, popular culture, disruption has became a buzzword that means different things to different people. In fact, I think of a disruptor in terms of both business and human needs. More specifically, I define a disruptor as any emerging force that has the capability, ultimately, to significantly improve or weaken an individual’s quality of life. 
 
Disruption and Happiness
 
Given my expanded definition, disruption isn’t limited to an entity like Amazon or hot fields like artificial intelligence and biotechnology. It can also can be a set of conditions, such as the knowledge increase and privacy invasion caused by algorithms; the destructive impact of climate change (which I think is the biggest game-changer for all of us) amid economic growth; and the injustices of numerous industrial complexes such as Big Oil, Big Health Insurance, and Big Pharma. 
 
What interrelated roles do each of the five disruptors cited in the previous paragraph play in your overall quality of life?
 
It’s a question worth considering. Because when all is said and done, each of us wants a high quality of life. Each of us wants to be happy. 
 
What generates happiness? Love and relationships. Physical and mental health. Freedom. Inclusion. Interesting and well-paying work. A nice place to live. Safety. The resources to do fun activities such as travel, buy nice clothes, and send our kids to college. 
 
John M. DeMarco is a writer, strategist, and executive coach based in Nashville, Tennessee.