For Purpose: Intent as Influence


[YouTube, 13:01]

Adam Braun is the founder of a for purpose organization called Pencils of Promise. This is a video of a talk he gave at Google Zeitgeist 2011.

What I found fascinating about his story is that I was really, really interested in power — not as in have power over others, more like mastery of self. And in order for me to find that, I left everything I knew — family, friends, a fairly comfortable life — to join in service of children with learning and physical disabilities.

In my early twenties, just like him. I  knew that if I was to get myself done, I needed to discover what it feels like to learn to be human. Those children were stripped of everything, in some cases could barely breath, except for their raw humanity.

It is often small things, social gestures, that can really make a huge difference. Things like noticing that a child could train his eyes on you and keep them there for longer, at a personal effort.

Want to make yourself useful? Give your attention to someone else — shift the act of being useful to being there for the other. Make a semantic shift, too. Notice. Wait. Welcome. In silence, if necessary. That is signal.

As Braun says, the creation of good is not for a select few — it is accessible to all.

His advice:

  1. find your revolution – its starts with the self
  2. speak the language of the person you want to become
  3. embrace late sleepless nights
  4. seek out the impossible ones
  5. GTS

You'll need to google that last one.

Number four reminds me that being reasonable is a rabbit hole, because it leads to all kinds of well formed arguments in favor of token gestures vs. social gestures. Service is a mindset, not a department.

There are plenty of lessons in this talk about business and about intent as influence. For real. For purpose.


[hat tip Edward Boches]

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