If this is the sector that was supposed to change the world, why has the world not changed? This series is all about the stumbling blocks we have found – Stop Signs along the road to creating an amazing future for our communities and our world. (To see other Stop Signs in this series, just click here.)
This week’s Stop Sign may be one of the most critical of all – the one that might stop us even before we get to all the other stop signs and roadblocks and speed bumps along the road to creating a better future. This one is the deal-killer if we want to build a better world.
STOP Sign: Our Beliefs About What is Possible
As I have written in other arenas (and I am writing in the book that will be released this fall), we get what we aim for, what we focus on. The Community Benefit Sector* has not focused on changing the world. We have not focused on creating amazing places to live. We have focused on narrow problem-solving.
In conversations around the globe, we have come to see one of the biggest reasons we have not aimed at creating amazing places to live.
We do not believe it is possible.
The voices of pessimism in this sector claim to speak for “reason” and “reality.” The truth is they speak merely out of the belief that creating massive, significant, long term change is not possible. It is a belief that says, “There has always been war, therefore there will always be war. There has always been poverty, therefore there will always be poverty. There has always been greed, therefore there will always be greed.”
It may be disguised as the “voice of reason.” But it is merely a belief.
We have spent the past 10+ years developing tools to help aim the Community Benefit Sector* at creating a better future for our world – planning and governance and resource development tools. But none of that means anything if we do not first get rid of the belief that creating an amazing future is impossible.
So this week’s Stop Sign is all about the Impossible Belief – the belief that it is impossible to create a peaceful, equitable, joyful world.
Here is what we know: Unless something is verifiably impossible, it is possible. It may be unlikely, but it is not impossible. Period.
Simply because we believed a human could not go the moon didn’t mean it was impossible. It may have been unlikely, but it was clearly not impossible.
And if it holds true for watching a human being shoot golf balls on the moon, the same holds true for the work of this incredible sector.
Simply because we believe we will never have a truly equitable society doesn’t mean it is impossible. It may or may not be unlikely, but it is not impossible.
Simply because we believe we will never live in a peaceful world doesn’t mean it is impossible. It may or may not be unlikely, but it is not impossible.
If this sector is going to create the future of our communities and our planet, we need to distinguish between what is truly impossible and what is merely unlikely. Because if it is not verifiably impossible, it is possible. That’s not a belief – it is a fact.
And here is one more fact:
We are creating the future, every day, whether we do so consciously or not.
Because it is possible, our likelihood of bringing about the future we want for our world is contingent on how consciously and how diligently we work at creating that future. But more than anything, it is contingent on how firmly we know – not believe, but know – that creating a better future for our communities is possible, simply because it is not impossible.
So right now, while you are sitting there at your computer – ask yourself:
What future am I creating right now? For whom?
If you can see it, you can start walking towards it. Right now. What are you waiting for?
* Curious about our use of the term “Community Benefit Sector?” Click here to learn more.