I have one of the best jobs on the planet. I am surrounded by people, for the most part, who are hell bent on improving themselves, and oftentimes the world around them. Students, faculty, staff, community partners; almost all of them approach life with possibility and positivity on the mind. Sometimes with this positivity, however, comes blind optimism, and with blind optimism, the crushing force of reality when all the dust settles.
Before I get to my point, let me say that I am an avid believer in the notion of “radiating possibility,” coined by a great conductor and his partner up in New England. Ben Zander is under a bit of scrutiny right now, but nonetheless, his message sits well with my soul. I believe we too often spend our lives in the world of what we can’t do, rather than what we can do. I believe a healthy disregard for the impossible (shout-out to the LeaderShape Institute!) is good for all of us. In fact, I’d rather err on the side of being overly optimistic than overly pessimistic; and I do not subscribe to the belief that realism is tantamount to pessimism. The power of positive thinking and action is powerful indeed.
In my work with the aforementioned positive people, I find myself frustrated. Not by the abundance of optimism and inspiration, but the scarcity of the necessary information needed to move forward and do great things. People (students in my experience) want to change the world, but have no idea how to do that. They want to take on leadership roles, and go after them with gusto, but have no idea what the position entails or how to make the most of the experience. Departments want to create change for students and faculty but have no data to support the decisions they make. If there was a “formula” for success and change and awesomeness (which there is not by the way), then it would go something like this:
Add three parts Inspiration and three parts Information. Mix together and let sit until it’s ready. You’ll know when it’s ready. Serve and enjoy!
My point here is that too much inspiration with no information lulls us into false possibility and endless failure that only disappoints in the end. Too much information with no inspiration can lull us into a monotonous, joyless, seemingly hopeless space that doesn’t excite or motivate us. Whether it is starting a business, or going back to school, or getting that major promotion or scholarship that you want; make sure you take time to collect all the information you need before jumping in. If you have to find the inspiration, think about whether your heart is in it or not. It will make your life and the victory that much more enjoyable.
The cures we seek to our greatest social and medical problems are trapped in the minds and hearts of uninformed and uninspired people. So the world needs you to be inspired and be informed.
If you need help with either of those, let me know!