Taking the Long View: Further together

As TEDxExeter has approached – only one week to go now! – I have become ever more appreciative of the huge amount of teamwork that has gone into putting on the event. It really has been a privilege to work with some brilliant lovely people over the past three-and-a-half years, and experience the energy that is generated from collaborating on a common goal… and see something good grow out of it.

It has also been a privilege to hear and write about some of the stories that have arisen from TEDxExeter and some of the impacts it has made in Exeter and further afield.

So in tribute to my fellow TEDx-ers, here are some quotations about how we can go further together.

The first is from Al Gore about the need to work together and quickly on climate change:

There’s an old African proverb that says “If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” We have to go far – quickly. And that means we have to quickly find a way to change the world’s consciousness about exactly what we’re facing, and why we have to work to solve it.

Then there is this from Dean Koontz in “From the Corner of His Eye”, channelling the idea of the butterfly effect:

Each smallest act of kindness – even just words of hope when they are needed, the remembrance of a birthday, a compliment that engenders a smile – reverberates across great distances and spans of time, affecting lives unknown to the one whose generous spirit was the source of this good echo, because kindness is passed on and grows each time it’s passed, until a simple courtesy becomes an act of selfless courage years later and far away. Likewise, each small meanness, each thoughtless expression of hatred, each envious and bitter act, regardless of how petty, can inspire others, and is therefore the seed that ultimately produces evil fruit, poisoning people whom you have never met and never will.

I first came across “The Big Mo” through being glued to The West Wing, and it’s very pertinent at the, er, mo. It’s related to the snowball effect, hopefully in the sense of a virtuous circle as more people get on board your good idea. Here’s the definition from Wikipedia:

The Big Mo (“Big Momentum”) is behavioural momentum that operates on a large scale. The concept originally applied to sporting events in the 1960s in the United States… Successful teams were said to have “The Big Mo” on their side. This has since extended [to] situations in which momentum is a driving factor, such as during political campaigns, social upheavals, economic cycles, and financial bubbles.

There is of course a related TED talk…

…and a related quote from Mahatma Gandhi, because no list of quotes is complete without Gandhi:

First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.

 And finally, no list of quotes about working together is complete without Margaret Mead:

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.