I was having coffee with some family a few weeks back when somebody made that comment that no matter how much effort we put into solving the poverty issue in the world there was no point because it would never be fixed. It was simply too big, too complex, and therefore a waste of the time and money already being poured in. Although I bit my tongue, recognising that any response would be more emotional than constructive, it left me feeling frustrated and angry.
It got me thinking about those problems that seem insurmountable, and how one of the easiest ways to deal with them is to fall into a place of acceptance. Its easier to accept that something is too hard, too big, too complicated to fix than to feel that awful feeling of helplessness in the face of trying to solve it. While global poverty is certainly at one end of the scale, we face issues like this much closer to home on a daily basis. For example, how do we fix an organisation’s culture where some ingrained attitudes and behaviours are destructive but too hard to change? Or another example, how do we build for long-term results when our success is measured by short-term financial outcomes?
But to choose acceptance with a “that’s just the way it is” mantra cannot be the answer. At some point there has to be a collective rejection of the norm and a willingness to sacrifice comfort and safety to enable change. I reject that a negative culture can’t be changed. I reject that investor lead organisations can’t build something that their people feel proud of. And I reject that global poverty can’t be addressed in an effective way that leads to the improvement of millions of lives.
This is the starting point in driving change. Rejecting the norm. And its liberating. What follows is where the real excitement lies.