Hey guys. Just wanted to let you know that I’m working on a new site with information for prospective home schoolers. Feel free to check it out @ www.homeschoolprogramsinfo.com . Thanks.
Only one more day until the story submission of the month is selected. Would anyone like to share a story and join Erik in the running for submission of the month? It can be any organization you are involved with or one that you simply want to help raise awareness of. More human and personal stories often help engage the reader. Can’t wait to hear what you all have to share.
Have you come to a conclusion on the answer to part 2? Our sociological environment has lead us into a new frontier. Although we can’t include EVERYTHING in our bubble (since that’s the point of having one to begin with), we can now include practically ANYTHING. We have access to news and information from anywhere in the world in a matter of seconds. We are able to be aware of so much, if we only choose to be aware.
What will this new year find you including in your bubble. What issues and problems will you be aware of? What solutions will you be a part of?
All of us live inside a bubble. It’s a psychological and sociological necessity. Like eyesight or a camera lens, things within the bubble are in focus and everything outside is slightly blurry. The bubble protects our tiny brains from overloading with too much noise and action, which could make it impossible to focus on anything at all. But sometimes – just sometimes – we let things stay out of focus intentionally because they’re scary, or unfamiliar or require us to take responsibility. If a problem is far enough away, we can pretend not to see it.
The question is, in our society today, can’t we choose anything in the world to include in our bubble?
It was just announced that Justin Bieber was the most searched person online in 2011. Maybe I’m getting old (still under 30) but it seems like celebrities are getting younger and younger and more careers are started from Disney Channel acting jobs than anything else (like Bieber’s girlfriend, Selena Gomez or Miley Cyrus.)
This points to something interesting in our society. As we stack fake – a fictional television show – on top of fake – a fictional music career – we isolate ourselves from reality with multiple layers. This can cause many real world issues to seem very far away. It’s an aspect of what I call “The Bubble”.
We’ll talk more about the sociological impact of the bubble over the next few posts but for now I just want to say that it’s our job to use reality and well-crafted storytelling to help people reconnect with real world issues that need to be addressed. We can never hope to solve real problems if we think celebrity breakups are the worst thing that can happen.
We’ve been talking a lot about leadership because that’s what it takes to move people and create change. One person can’t create nearly as much change as a group and groups need a leader.
Leaders need to display two unique characteristics; sight and vision. Sight is the ability to see things for what they are and not just what’s on the surface. Vision is the ability to see what’s coming and what might be coming. A leader can’t lead without knowing which direction to go next.
This is why leaders are masters of hypotheticals. They have the ability to see what could be and move in that direction. Let’s all do an exercise in leadership skills. If you read this, please participate in the comments section. Hypothetically, what is one thing you would like to change in the world – one problem you would like to solve or group of people you would help – and, hypothetically, how would you encourage people to help you in your cause? Don’t ever be afraid of vision. It’s not daydreaming, it’s looking forward.
Some people feel like making big changes in the world is the job of leaders and leaders are the people who are in charge of big groups or organizations. Somewhere along the line there had to be an election or a town hall meeting or something. As if that were a prerequisite for leadership.
Truth be told, big changes are made by leaders. Leaders are people who bring others with them when they do something. The beautiful thing is that, in our society, anyone can be a leader. Years ago you had to be the President so that people would broadcast your ideas on one of the 3 networks. Today, from the President down to the janitor who cleans up after the town hall meeting, anyone can now spread their ideas and messages to a large number of people.
No movement or good cause has ever failed from a lack of followers. They fail from a lack of leaders. Dare to be the one who is called a leader. Or even the one who moves people toward something without ever being recognized as the leader.
There are a huge number of references in the Bible to giving and taking care of people who have needs. We’ve been fortunate enough to be born in a nation that has so much and there is responsibility to see outside of our bubble and realize that we are accountable for the lives of others, as well as our own. Unfortunately, there are still soup kitchens who require people to take vows before they will feeds them and organizations who refuse to care for the poor if they can’t include a sermon plug.
A visiting minister from India made a very good point in my church a few weeks back. A starving person doesn’t want to hear a sermon, he wants to eat. Then he will want to listen. For many people the “good news” is that they get to eat, get to be healthy, get to be safe. This is the purest form of the gospel and the mission that many people in the church are leery about because it feels too political somehow.
There is the perfect intersection right now between the shifting sociological environment and the way the church is organized and connected. A network of millions of people who are all (ideally) in one accord and desiring to show love to the world can make a huge impact. Let’s become the ones who lead the way to the new philanthropy.
Since we’ve talked about the 100 reasons not to do something, I figured we should get a jump on doing something good with a few simple steps. These five steps are always part of the process of leading change. You can take the first three right away and you should. They keep many people from ever moving on to the last two.
Identify Problems- You need to start by seeing the needs. Who needs what? Who is in the greatest need? Opinions will vary on this, but that’s why you are you and they are them.
Identify Your Passion- Now you narrow down the problems and decide which one you are going to make a difference in. This isn’t saying that you can’t make more than one difference in the world, just start by focusing on the one you are most passionate about until you get some momentum going.
Solve the Problem on Paper- In order to start solving a problem, you need to know what that solution should look like. Is it a problem that can be solved by sending money or one that requires time and personal contact. It doesn’t do any good to throw money at something that can’t be bought or rally volunteers for something without the resources to complete the project.
Raise Awareness & Gather Resources- Now that you have your target acquired and know what general direction you need to take to make a difference, you can start telling your story and leading people in the right direction. This is where you build a team and gather what you need for the final step. Most of the time, these last two steps continue to work side-by-side as long as the project is operating.
Deliver on Your Solution- If you’re feeding orphans in Mexico, this is where you take the food or money you’ve collected and actually feed them. This is when you send the funds you’ve raised to the people on the ground. This stage looks different for each cause but it always looks like you’re making a difference. Congratulations!
If you take a well written essay and sign your name on it, it’s called plagiarism.
If you take a great joke and tell it as your own, it’s called stealing. (If it’s your joke and everyone is stealing it, you’re probably Jerry Seinfeld)
If you take someone else’s great idea and make a profit off of it, it’s called intellectual property theft.
If you take a great picture accompanied by a funny anecdote and sign your name on it like it’s your own idea, that’s called a birthday card.
This birthday card approach is how people spread word of mouth in our new society. They find someone who is saying what they agree with in a more eloquent way than they could have said it and then they approve and pass it along. Technology makes it easy to spread something in it’s original format. If you can express your cause and your charity in a way that is intelligent, well written and funny (when appropriate) you’ll have people on all sides of the issue digging, liking, retweeting, forwarding and recommending your message to everyone they know. After all….they wish they’d said it.