“We can’t control the future, but we can bend it”

A great way to think about the impact you want to have while you’re here:

My hunch is that two things are true:

  • We have much less direct control over the future than we hope, and that it will always surprise us.
  • We have far more ability to make an impact than we expect.

The only people who can change our culture (and thus our future) are us.

We can’t control the future, but we can bend it. And we can’t freeze the world as it is, but we can figure out how to be a part of it.

The work we do every day, the stories we tell, the paths we follow and the connections we make define our culture, and culture determines what’s next.

Source: Impermanence | Seth’s Blog

“The people we surround ourselves with matter.”

I really love this post from Farnam Street. In a few short paragraphs, it:

  • Asserts that the people that we surround ourselves with, either by choice or circumstance, matter
  • Challenges the idea of the lone genius, reminding us that we’re not self made, that the educational system, public projects like our system of roads and highways, and collaborative efforts like the internet all played a part in getting us where we are
  • And beautifully illustrates the importance of teamwork and collaboration, as well as what makes a great team

Stop me if this sounds familiar. There is a person who toils alone for years in relative obscurity before finally cracking the code to become a hero. The myth of the lone genius. It’s the stuff of Disney movies.

Of course, we all have moments when we’re alone and something suddenly clicks. We’d do well to remember, though, that in those moments, we are not as independent as we like to think. The people we surround ourselves with matter.

In part, because we tell ourselves the story of the lone genius, we under-appreciate the role of a team. Sure, the individual matters, no doubt. However, the individual contributions are supercharged by the team around them.

We operate in a world where it’s nearly impossible to accomplish anything great as an individual. When you think about it, you’re the product of an education system, a healthcare system, luck, roads, the internet and so much more. You may be smart but you’re not self-made. And at work, most important achievements require a team of people working together.

The leader’s job is to get the team right. Getting the team right means that people are better as a group than as individuals. Now this is important. Step back and think about that for a second — the right teams make every individual better than they would be on their own.

Source: The Importance of Working With “A”Players

“I never thought of walking on the grass until I saw a sign saying ‘Keep off the grass.’” – Saul Alinsky

Turn off the news.

In 2009, the Nielsen Company reported that TV viewing in the United States is at an all-time high if one includes the following “three screens”: a television set, a laptop/personal computer, and a cell phone. American children average eight hours a day on TV, video games, movies, the Internet, cell phones, iPods, and other technologies (not including school-related use). Many progressives are concerned about the concentrated control of content by the corporate media, but the mere act of watching TV—regardless of the programming—is the primary pacifying agent (private-enterprise prisons have recognized that providing inmates with cable television can be a more economical method to keep them quiet and subdued than it would be to hire more guards).

Television is a dream come true for an authoritarian society: those with the most money own most of what people see; fear-based television programming makes people more afraid and distrustful of one another, which is good for the ruling elite who depend on a “divide and conquer” strategy; TV isolates people so they are not joining together to create resistance to authorities; and regardless of the programming, TV viewers’ brainwaves slow down, transforming them closer to a hypnotic state that makes it difficult to think critically

Source: 8 Reasons Young Americans Don’t Fight Back: How the US Crushed Youth Resistance