The Collateral Damage of Making A Difference

The people who make a difference in this world aim to break rules. At whatever cost, they have something to prove. Sometimes true disruption means breaking hearts and losing friends. It’s a tough game to play and takes a thick skin. That said, you cannot change the world alone. It’s imperative to treat people well – be polite, caring and respectful. Never set out to hurt people. Make as many friends as you can. Earn as much respect as you can. Love everyone. Do not intend to break people. But you should intend to break systems. And people get attached to systems. So be prepared for collateral casualties.

The single worst thing you could do? Nothing. If you’re afraid to change the world because it means some people may not like you, you fail to understand what “changing the world” really means. I meet a lot of people who claim they want to make a difference. Very few of them have the balls to lose friends in the process. Do you?

Old Acquaintances and Second Chances

People change. Sometimes enough that they mature into completely different people. Strange to be back in my hometown – I’ve noticed that many old friends have an aversion to other people they knew in high school and have not seen since. Why shy away from folks you used to know? Perhaps you both have changed into a more compatible pair. I’ve seen many partnerships form between people who did not respect each other when they were younger. Some started businesses together. Others got married. You never know who you might bump into or connect with on a fresh level. At the very least, it’s worth the introduction. Avoid trading numbers if the reintroduction fails. But do not close your mind on outdated memories and awkward nostalgia. Ignore the past and give second chances where possible. You might build some great new relationships out of the deal.

Bringing People Together

I left Los Angeles because it was too difficult to get around and randomly run into people. When your world is not colliding with the worlds of others, it’s exceedingly difficult to coordinate, collaborate, and compete. If you want to accomplish a lot in this lifetime, it makes a big difference living in an environment where you can always find someone to share ideas with. If you are not in that environment, then you need to consider leaving or find a way to build that environment where you’re at. Many groups in San Francisco and New York have taken the coffee shop to the next level by organizing co-working spaces where like-minded thinkers gather at their own pace and immerse themselves in the productivity of mutual togetherness. Surround yourself with people. It makes a huge difference – not only for your productivity, but also for your social and spiritual life.

At every opportunity, sound the horn and bring people together. Throw a party, call a conference, organize a lunch – whatever it takes. Host an event, get people in the door, and thrive.