What if people came together to explore different facets of their talents, develop their creative interests, and obtain advice and support for realizing their dreams?
What if people learned together through conversation, study groups, and online groups?
What if people conducted projects for no other reason than the sheer joy of self-discovery and creative expression?
What if there were ways for individuals to contribute their skills and ideas to help worthwhile projects in schools, nonprofits, and communities?
What if the next ten years were to be a period of great transformation in our common life and could be traced to the synergy of everyday people wholeheartedly pursuing their dreams?
What if one person’s quest for self-actualization was amplified across the world?
What if small groups of people started a process that reclaimed and restored the innovative spirit that built our world?
What if someone reversed and supplanted the contentious, toxic social media environment of today by engineering and promoting a platform for edification, self-actualization, collaboration, and affirmation of goodness and altruism?
What if artistry, science, and citizen activism synergized to heighten people’s resolve for a sustainable world and reverse the negative spiral of environmental exploitation and destruction?
What if a series of disruptive innovations—seemingly unconnected—led to an economic revolution that placed human rights before markets and caring and justice before profits?
What if introverts, idealists, and iconoclasts took the reins?
Have you ever had an original idea or theory that you know is good–but you keep it to yourself? Maybe you sense that the people around you don’t want to hear about it or think they wouldn’t understand. Maybe you’re worried someone might take credit for it or even steal it and use it for their own profit, so you keep it to yourself. Maybe a little part of you is afraid that people will try to talk you out of it or point out a major flaw.
I get it. Carrying around a good idea can be comforting and hopeful. It can feel exhilarating to know that you have this great solution in your back pocket that you can pull out when the right opportunity comes along.
But consider what could happen if you wait for that perfect moment: It comes. You have a potential spotlight. You are at a meeting or conference or networking event with influential people who can fund or support your idea. The perfect opening comes up and all eyes are on you.
You begin talking. If you’re like me, it is unlikely that you will take full advantage of the opportunity. Maybe the language you use will fail to capture the magic of your idea. Maybe you will get into too much detail about aspects that are not important. You finish knowing that your audience probably doesn’t understand the key point you wanted to convey, maybe even has the wrong idea of what you are presenting. If they ask questions, you may not be prepared to answer clearly. Your time is up. You know that if you start trying to correct their errors they will lose interest.
With your think pond, you can present your idea early and see how different people react. You can role play and practice so that when your time to shine arrives, you will confidently state your idea in language that hits the right notes. You have already answered many of the potential questions that will arise and maybe even defended your idea powerfully.
Moreover, you know there are people–somewhere out there–who believe.
“When I examine myself and my methods of thought, I come to the conclusion that the gift of fantasy has meant more to me than my talent for absorbing positive knowledge.”
I am intrigued by the fact that Albert Einstein attributed his groundbreaking scientific theories to both mathematics and imagination, that he played his violin every day, and that he once said “I often think in music.”
I wonder: Did Einstein’s love of music and his interest in so many divergent streams of 20th century life play a role in his amazing ability to perform thought experiments about the mysteries of time, space, light, and energy?
We’ll never know. But few would discount the value of imagination and intuition in Einstein’s work. And shouldn’t we at least consider the possibility that his genius was somehow interwoven with his music?
How can we as individuals and as a society confront the trauma, abuse, deprivation, and loss all around us? While we see stories on the news of people who have triumphed over difficult, sometimes unimaginable circumstances, many more struggle for some kind of normalcy, become paralyzed, or simply surrender to self-destructive coping methods.
We’ll never know what this senseless suffering has cost society.
I believe that learning how to support people who are fighting to reclaim their lives after trauma should be one of the grand challenges of our time. Let’s learn with these questions in mind:
What does everybody need to understand about trauma? What is it about this time that makes trauma-informed practices even more important?
As we meet and get to know new people, we don’t always know their trauma history. What can we do to ensure that we are connecting with them in a positive way?
How can we, both individually and as think pond members, tap into their talents and contribute to their success? What would be the ideal environment in which they could work, learn, and create successfully?