Growing a Tribe of Believers

All the great things that have been achieved in the world have been achieved by individuals, working from the instinct of genius or of goodness.

–Samuel Taylor Coleridge

A recent Thomas Friedman article in the New York Times quoted Curtis Carlson, the chief executive of SRI International: “This is the best time ever for innovation for three reasons:

First, although competition is increasingly intense, our global economy opens up huge new market opportunities.

Second, most technologies — since they are increasingly based on ideas and bits and not on atoms and muscle — are improving at rapid, exponential rates.

And third, these two forces — huge, competitive markets and rapid technological change — are opening up one major new opportunity after another. It is a time of abundance, not scarcity — assuming we do the right things with a real national growth strategy. If we do not, it rapidly becomes a world of scarcity.”

Friedman’s column was about kick-starting new businesses, but change “markets” to “media” and “growth strategy” to “strategy for change,” and you have the reason for the San Francisco Writing for Change Conference. The world has abundant needs, and the creative, passionate, dedicated people it needs to meet them.  What people need is the vision and leadership to mobilize the will to do what we must to ensure the future we want.

This is where writers come in. Writers have the opportunity to be the voices, visionaries, mentors, consciences, and inspiration for change. They can summon us to our highest selves. It is easier than ever to

* Reach readers around the world online with a blog, articles, videos, podcasts, interviews, and comments on what others write

* Grow a tribe of believers who share your goals and help you achieve them

* Use your writing to change the country and the world

The larger and older an organization, business, or institution is, the harder it is to change. That’s why we can’t rely on government, business, or religion. Non-profits are helping, but they are limited in what they can accomplish.

Americans are open to new ideas. They’re pragmatic about abandoning what fails for what works. United by the same needs, problems, desires, and the willingness to do the right thing, Americans will accept change.

Facebook exploded from an idea to 500,000,000 users in six years.  You cannot stop an idea whose time has come.  What’s needed is a barrage of ideas, forcefully and eloquently presented in all media with urgency and relentless determination, tempered with compassion for the human condition.  

Anyone can participate at any level in this transformation. The author James Baldwin wrote: “The hope of the world lies in what one demands, not of others, but of oneself.” There is no time to lose. Start making demands.

The San Francisco Writing for Change Conference will take place, Saturday and Sunday, November 13 and 14, 2010 at the Hilton Financial District. The keynoters will be Dan Millman, author of The Way of Peaceful Warrior, and John Robbins, author of The Food Revolution, www.sfwritingforchange.org.

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7 Responses to Growing a Tribe of Believers

  1. joannavdg says:

    I liked this post – a lot. I agree that the written word is the most powerful tool for change. For good or evil, once something is written down, it takes on a life of its own. Many times the lifespan is short (gossip, 15 mins. of fame and the like…)but when the writing is authentic and the truth shines out… something special can happen.

    Thanks for this posting. It made me think about my own work and imagine where I can take it. We’ll see…

    Joanna: http://www.writingfrommerida.com

  2. Simon Hay says:

    “You cannot stop an idea whose time has come.” I love this, and I think the world is ready for change. There are many ‘how to’ conversations happening online, but not many people are acting. I think writing is the voice of action, and if we shout loud enough people will notice and act to create change.

  3. Keep following your passion. Good luck with your writing.

  4. Bravo! Best of luck with your writing!

  5. What a wonderful letter! Do what you were born to do. You will succeed!

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