Reporting from Prague, Czech Republic…
“Stop being a little b*tch,” a smelly park bench-dwelling sage once told me. “If you want something, you have to go and get it. You hear me? Walk by faith. Not by sight.”
In that moment, I was one part frightened, one part disgusted and two parts inspired. Three things crossed my mind.
First, He’s getting uncomfortably close to my face. I really hope this guy doesn’t try anything. Because I’m in no position to fight back right now.
Second, Wow, his breath smells like the irritable bowels of the Beast of Bodmin.
And, finally, third, You know what? He’s right.
Some of the best advice I have ever received, I’m not ashamed to admit, was given to me by a (probably) homeless man while I was drunk, feeling hopeless, helpless, and alone. For lack of time, I won’t go into full details, but let’s just say I look back on it as my “rock bottom” moment.
I realize now, though, this was a turning point. It was where I began to find my power, resilience and grit.
That advice, you see, although it came from an unquestionably questionable source (an aggressively unbathed gentleman who had just finished telling me he’d sold a silver dollar for a literal dollar to “snag a couple loosies”), was sharp enough to knock me out of my self-pity and direct my energy outward.
After that experience, I began to force myself to see the world not in terms of how it was affecting me. But, instead, I started to wonder, if only toying with the idea at first, how can I affect the world?
More on that perspective, and the implications of such a subtle shift, in a moment.
In other news, earlier today, I had the opportunity to dine and chat with Vít Jedlička, President of Liberland, at his headquarters in Prague.
Liberland, if you don’t know, is a micronation secured by Vit through terra nullius (a Latin expression which means “nobody’s land”). According to international law, if there is no official claim to a plot of land, anyone can arrive and claim it as their own.
Vit, playing by the rules, discovered a sliver of uncontested land (on Wikipedia, of all places) between Serbia and Croatia and literally planted his own flag. Thus was born the Free Republic of Liberland.
More on my chat with Vit in tomorrow’s episode. Stay tuned for that.
Today, though, I’m writing to you from my Prague Airbnb with one special plea: create.
I’m impressed by Vit not because he “gets it.” I’m partial to him because, simply, he’s gone beyond just imagining a better world. He’s creating it in accordance to his vision.
And thing is, so can you.
Everywhere I go, again and again, I’m confronted with one very special quote. And every time I see it, I take it as a challenge to stop complaining about the problems and start focusing on creating the solutions.
Here’s the quote. I urge you to tattoo it on your forehead immediately. Backwards, though. So you can read it in the mirror.
“You can’t change things by fighting the existing reality,” Buckminster Fuller once said. “To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
If you’ve been with us long enough, you know that I’m extremely optimistic about the future.
For good reason: Everywhere I look, I see the new world being built beneath our feet. Meanwhile, behind me, the old guard continues to creak, screech, groan, moan and wag its bony fingers in protest.
Absent the foresight that new, more equitable models are slowly creating a fairer, better world, one would be forgiven for mistaking the cracks in the facade of the status quo as the beginning of the end of human existence. Drastic, yes. But, of course, every generation, it seems, has some apocalyptic vision of the future which rarely ever comes true.
So, I ask, with my tongue only grazing my cheek slightly: What makes you think we’re so special to truly live in the End Times?
Truth is, if you peer behind the curtain, the situation isn’t nearly as dire as the doom-and-gloomers would have you believe.
In fact, what we’re entering, it appears to me, is a paradigm shift in politics and, further, changemaking in general. As Seth Blaustein points out in his book Criticize By Creating, “Partisan politics is dying.”
And good riddance.
Of course, this doesn’t mean the drumbeaters who still engage in the futile carnival of partisan zealotry will vanish into the night quietly.
“But,” Blaustein goes on, “partisans are not the future. They’re merely locking themselves into opposition while a new movement emerges — promising to swell up around them and overwhelm the institutions they guard.”
Which brings us back to my aforementioned appeal. One which I, too, need to be constantly reminded of: Don’t fight. Don’t resist. Don’t spend hours complaining and pontificating. Instead, help to create the new world. Whatever your skills, they are relevant. More than that, they are needed. Even more, they are necessary. Again, I say: create.
As founder and CEO of Praxis, Isaac Morehouse, puts it in today’s featured article, if you want a better world for you and your loved ones, the path is clear: Go out and make it.
The year was 1835.
In a small skirmish near Gonzales, Texas, 130 Texan revolutionaries defeated a small force of Mexican infantry sent to capture the garrison cannon.
This wasn’t just any artillery — the cannon had been gifted to the town of Gonzales by the Mexican government 4 years prior. Now, with war on the horizon, the Mexican government wanted it back.
The Texans responded with a legendary act of defiance: they raised a small flag above the town that read, “Come And Take It.”
And thus began the Texas War For Independence.
For thousands of years, revolutionaries who wanted to change the world had few options: They could play politics, protest, or fight. (The latter was a last resort to violence. The former was simply a threat of violence—not much better, and a marginal improvement at best.)
Inherent in all of these strategies is an “us versus them” mentality–a tribal paradigm and a zero-sum game of we win, they lose. Today, more and more people are looking for another way.
It turns out, we don’t have to fight for a better future. We can create one.
What would happen if we harnessed the same revolutionary spirit of “Come And Take It,” and reimagined a more creative, entrepreneurial declaration?
What if we stopped attacking people for a cause and started attracting people to a cause? What if we became creators instead of mere critics and conquerors? Rather than waging war—either figuratively (in arguing) or literally — what if we channeled all of our passion and energy into disruptive acts of creation?
What if we bypassed electoral politics and established a more cooperative era…one in which the best ideas win?
In this new age, politicians would be replaced by innovators. Political capital would be replaced by creative capital.
Social change would not be planned by bureaucrats. It would emerge from the collective creativity of artists, scientists, and entrepreneurs working in cooperation.
Can you imagine a future like this? Is it possible? If it were, we would probably expect futuristic ideas like floating cities, digital currencies, and space travel to become a reality in our lifetimes.
Yesterday’s revolutionaries resisted tyranny with swords, rifles, and cannons. Today’s revolutionaries are able to disrupt the status quo peacefully—with software code, 3D printers, and digital currencies.
This paradigm shift isn’t just philosophical—it’s also practical. Think about it: the costs of agitating, electioneering and protest are high. When you go and make it, you criticize by creating.
Creating is more effective than conquering. It creates prosperity, stability, and cooperation.
Consider Uber — rather than organizing political protests against the taxicab economic cartel, innovative entrepreneurs simply created a better solution. Airbnb turned middle-class homeowners into entrepreneurs, almost overnight. It is now the world’s largest “hotel” chain.
Praxis reimagined higher education, and created an alternative to college that’s less than the cost of one semester at most universities.
3D printing technology is democratizing manufacturing, and making it easier than ever for visionary startups to bring new products to market.
Crowdfunding is decentralizing the world of finance, and making it possible for just about anyone to attract investment capital.
It’s no longer about who you know…it’s about what you create. And that’s a good thing.
Today’s revolutionaries are not guerilla warriors, political assassins, or resistance fighters. They are software programmers, scientists, and entrepreneurs. Some will succeed and others will fail, but the games of tit-for-tat and king of the mountain are being replaced by solutions that make nearly everybody better off.
In the coming age of biohacking, social technologies, even floating ocean cities — the fastest way to change the world is not to dare our enemies to come and take it.
It’s time to rally around a new banner.
[Ed. note: This article originally appeared on the Voice and Exit festival’s website right here. Next month, we’ll be visiting Austin, Tx., to attend Voice and Exit, and meet some of the greatest changemakers from all walks of life and fields of thought. Until then, though, our Eurotrip continues. Stay tuned.]
CEO and Founder, Praxis