Friday, November 30, 2012

F/F: The Sky Is Not The Limit

This week of short films highlighting solutions to the world’s most pressing problems was partially inspired by the month which ends today –- November.

November is when the days shorten and darkness seems pervasive. The air gets colder and the urge to just hunker down until Spring grows stronger.

It was also partially inspired by my various social media feeds. Twitter and Facebook have allowed us all to become advocates for one cause or another, without actually having to physically or emotionally commit to fighting for it.

All the problems overwhelming the world feel so much larger and impossible to confront when so many people are demanding that you join in their particular chorus of outrage.

Nobody’s got that kind of time, energy –- or rage.

So the problems begin to feel like they can never be solved.

But these posts were also inspired by how much the world seems to have changed from when I was inspired to realize my own dreams.

Back then, John F. Kennedy’s appeal to “ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you could do for your country” was a rallying cry.

Now we appear to feel more entitled and want our countries to do more for us. Maybe -– because after all –- we deserve it.

But problems don’t solve themselves. And for the most part governments have their hands full. So it really is up to us.

Maybe the real future of problem solving lies in the model of the “X” Prize. Creating a reward more tangible than the mere thrill of achievement and satisfaction of doing something well.

The “X” Prize proves that the sky does not have to be the limit. There is incentive to move beyond. To Focus/Forward.

The twenty finalists in this inspiring short film competition were named this week. You can see them here and online voting continues until December 20th.

Who knows, you may find something that solves a problem that hits close to home for you –- or maybe just brings a little light of hope to stave off the dark days of Winter.


Clint Johnson said...

I think the problem with JFK's quote is that more and more people are conflating "country" with "government".

What Bill and Malinda Gates are doing with their foundation and what Peter Diamandis started with show that we can do immense good without all the rage and angst. I also like that they are looking at humanity on a species level rather than the tribalism of "country".

Of course, those of us who are of lesser means are most effective on a local level but that doesn't mean we can't approach it with the same enthusiasm and optimism.

Sure there are still plenty of things that need work but the world is unimaginably better than it was a hundred years ago. I really wish more people would approach it with the positive and hopeful outlook that history and reason say we should.

I guess it is just easier for some people to satisfy a need for catharsis by raging against the machine. It is a lot more work to actually go out and help fix it.

Clint Johnson said...

Further, if you aren't following Peter Diamandis, he really is a good antidote to the dour diatribe of despair that we are inundated with daily. The man is optimistic and rationally upbeat even when he is addressing dire and pressing issues. This video he just put up on Youtube does a good job of explaining why we are prone to focus on the bad and how he works to counteract that influence on himself.