Hello and good day!
Ideas manifest themselves in the real world.
This is a very peculiar and powerful component of reality.
Ideas are abstract. You can't touch them or measure them.
They can only be thought using a brain and the content of each brain is unique to its owner. Ideas are free and infinite. They govern our behavior and derive from our interaction with the environment.
Work, on the other hand, is tangible. You can touch its results.
It must comply with the laws of physics.
Its output is durable.
Work is constrained by scarcity.
Every plan ever carried out in the real world existed first in the realm of thoughts.
This is the natural flow of events.
We create, analyze, and accept ideas. Plans are made on the basis of ideas.
Work executes the plan and turns ideas into physical output.
I've had the pleasure of reading several excellent books over the last few months. Many are rereads.
This time around I was struck by a strange underlying unity that tied together these disparate topics.
Here are the titles. I highly recommend all of these by the way.
From Dawn to Decadence: 1500 to the Present: 500 Years of Western Cultural Life by Jacques Barzun.
Schindler's List by Thomas Keneally.
Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl.
The Bridge at Andau: The Compelling True Story of a Brave, Embattled People by James A. Michener.
The Autobiography of Malcolm X: As Told to Alex Haley by Malcolm X & Alex Haley.
Roots: The Saga of an American Family by Alex Haley.
How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie.
Wooden on Leadership: How to Create a Winning Organization by John Wooden & Steve Jamison.
The Civil War Trilogy: A Narrative by Shelby Foote.
The Power of One More: The Ultimate Guide to Happiness and Success by Ed Mylett.
The Creative Act: A Way of Being by Rick Rubin.
Here is what ties all of these books together.
They all show how thoughts in brains churn out results in the real world.
Ideas are the powerful hidden force that drive all human activity.
Certain ideas will make a basketball coach the winningest basketball coach of all time.
Other ideas kick off civil wars.
Some ideas will make you a multi-millionaire.
Hitler and Stalin's ideas led to invasions and concentration camps.
Ideas about people of African descent perpetuated slavery.
The only way to change a person's actions is to change their ideas first.
A particular passage from Shelby Foote's Civil War trilogy comes to mind.
A newspaper reporter interviewed northern soldiers at the very beginning of the Civil War.The reporter asked soldiers what they were fighting for.
Most soldiers replied that they were fighting to keep the union together.
This abstract idea, an idea with no obvious immediate benefit to these young soldiers, had such a strong emotional impact that millions of young men were willing to fight and die for it.
Leaders made plans based on the strength of this idea and troops began to march.
I've often talked to our chocolatier, Javier, about how his ideas have created 15 full time jobs over the last two years.
One day it occurs to Javier that mango, ginger, and dark chocolate might go well together.
It's a thought based on decades of experience working with food and flavors.
He tries it out and likes it. We produce a small run and put it in our shops.
Customers enjoy the flavor combination and buy it.
We decide to put it online.
My wife creates official packaging.
A production line is set up.
A fellow named Chano Vasquez, one of our wonderful team members, spends about half of his time making this particular product.
People all over the country like the product and purchase it.
We use the funds to pay Chano and he uses the money to support his family.
This whole chain of outcomes is driven by an electric impulse that at first only exists in the brain of a single person.
He acts on the impulse and the idea manifests.
Given that ideas are the impetus for action, it is clear that good actions require the propagation of the right ideas.
Not everybody agrees on which ideas are good and which are bad.
But there do appear to be at least a couple of ideas that almost everybody acknowledges as beneficial.
There are exceptions of course, but the percentage of people who do not agree with these ideas is very small.
Here is one.
Peace is good.
The corollary is that violence is bad.
Here is another pair of corollaries.
Love is good and hate is bad.
If you drill all the way down to the fundamentals, peace is the prime requirement for a solid, productive, well-functioning society. Peace beats every other policy that politicians can dream up.
And if you drill down on individual happiness, eventually you'll get to love.
Love in your heart, for family, for friends, and for the world as a whole, is the prime factor that determines contentment.
I believe that How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie is the best book ever written on the fine art of convincing people.
His book can be summed up in two sentences.
First, try to see things from the other person's perspective and show how your ideas will benefit them.
Second, honey catches more flies than vinegar.
Show people how your ideas will make their life better and do so in a sweet way.
Now we have two solid ideas, peace and love, and a method for putting those ideas into the world, empathy and charm.
Of course, there are many other good ideas worth spreading, for example the centralized fermentation and drying of cacao, and vertically integrating food supply chains so that farmers get a better deal.
These ideas are much less well known and have a much narrower appeal, but the best methodology for spreading them is the same.
Finally, I'd posit that the most effective way to overwhelm bad ideas is through the ongoing, ceaseless teaching of good ideas.
Bad ideas tend to take root where people have stopped teaching good ideas.
The never-ending work of creating and spreading good ideas is essential for a prosperous and successful community.
Thank you so much for time today.
I hope that you have a truly blessed day!
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