Are you a Generous Mind?

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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Creating What Matters Doesn't Come Quick

We all know it is true, but we still don't want to believe it. Everything in our being says that there is no such thing as the quick buck, fast results and instant success, but we fight it every day with all our strength . . . why?

Woven into our Western narrative is this story of the person who lived on the street one day and a mansion the next. Or maybe the one that showcased the business who was about to go bankrupt and then got its lucky break and made millions. We want to believe that story. That is why we buy lottery tickets.

But deep down we know that the real payoff in life takes time. To create something that really matters to the world you have to invest significant effort. In his book, Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell talks about the "10,000 hours" that it takes to be excellent at something. It is the truth. Things that matter don't come quick.

Because we work in the area of cause development and community nurturing we run into this narrative all the time. People want community and they know that communities are made up of people and relationships. However, they also want to believe that they can mass produce a community with the snap of a finger. We have to lovingly and regularly remind them that it just doesn't work that way.

This cultural narrative of the "quick win" has been around for quite some time. But thankfully we are seeing real signs that it is being rejected by many in the next generation. In fact we are seeing more programs and new initiatives that focus on a significant time investment rather than reaching for "better, faster, cheaper and more."

We have come across two examples recently that will illustrate a change from quick wins to long-term investments:

Unreasonable At Sea: This is a program for tech companies looking to make a difference globally. If you are wanting to launch a global initiative, you can apply to spend 100 days on a ship visiting 14 countries accompanied by 20 mentors. This experience is an in depth and intense training and equipping time with the goal of launching globally significant business initiatives in the tech sector. Would you take the time to get on a ship for 100 days as a technology executive? What a commitment but what great potential!

Praxis Labs: This is a 1 year program for social entrepreneurs that provides 3 gatherings, 25 mentors and a chance to win $100,000 towards their endeavors. Through the very intentional program, these entrepreneurs are equipped to be effective in their role and see their business succeed. But it is a long-term commitment that includes paying for the program as well as investing in the process. Would you make that kind of investment to take your game to a new level?

These two examples are small glimpses at a different way of looking at creating things that matter. It isn't about chance, luck or working the numbers. Instead it is an intentional, holistic and sacrificial process that takes great commitment to pursue.

Are you still caught in the grand narrative of the last century? Are you seeking that quick win that will change your fortune? Or are you looking at the big picture, making intentional sacrifices to accomplish things that matter?

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