We vs. I & hope vs. fear

On my run today I was thinking about the drastically different tones of the conventions that have kept me up past my bedtime over the past two weeks.

The RNC was clearly about how one man could help save a crumbling country and the DNC was more about how we can do more to work together to grow.

And, like always, I was thinking about how this difference in mentality applies to building a business and my own life in general.

It’s true that the most successful people are those who understand the power of uniting people with different skill sets and expertise to build something greater than one could build alone. There is certainly a “1+1=3” phenomenon that happens when the right people are united–whether it’s the right group of engineers and marketers or the right ensemble cast performing the right piece together.

Of course, great men and women have done great things alone but more often, especially in a world of ever-increasing technological complexity, the world belongs to efficient teams. Independent thinking and leadership within those teams is, of course, necessary but on balance, this message of one individual being omnipotent in saving a nation or building a company is the wrong one.

Donald knows this. He knows he didn’t build his empire alone. He just doesn’t let the truth get in the way of his sales pitch.

I think it all comes down to an attitude. It’s a glass half empty or half full thing.

I love, occasionally, listening to Joel Osteen’s weekly sermons (available for free as a podcast). I don’t buy into everything he says–especially the supernatural-speak–but I love his tone. I love how positive he is. He believes in promotion and uplift more than anything. It’s hard to not feel empowered after listening to him speak.

Likewise, I’m a fan of Marcus Lemonis’s business reality show on CNBC where he creates somewhat of a new formulation of JFK’s famous “Ask not what your country can do for you … “; he says in the opening credits, “We’re not going to think about whether we have a job, we’re going to think about how many jobs we’re going to have to do.”

It’s just far more productive for us to think of our natural state as a healthy, powerful one. This is one reason I have a bit of an issue with Christianity’s doctrine of Original Sin. Yes, maybe without any education our monkey brains are naturally sinful but that’s not the world I live in. I live in a world where everyone around me has free access to information. As a result, I tend to think that our natural state is one of strength, where we’re meant to grow and evolve.

This is why it is concerning to see right now, in politics, what seems to amount to an appeal to our fearful monkey brains.

I’m not in denial. I do think that are some huge problems for America that need to be solved. I just know that I am more empowered to work to pitch in on these problems when I am led by someone who believes in me and uplifts.

We’re at a point in history where we have amazing access to information. On balance, we’re an educated planet and we need more daily uplift and reminders about our natural state — a natural state of strength, built over billions of years of evolution to bring us to this point where our purpose is to build and grow and unite and work together.

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