It never stops. Respond to this message. Sign this campaign. Update your LinkedIn. Post about your life. The 24/7 media cycle and social media has infiltrated every aspect of our lives and it appears modern society always has a mic on us. We’re always being asked for our opinions and we’re expected to know the answers.
But the world is big, and with so much happening, and so many perspectives and life experiences out there, one of the most invaluable practices is to watch and listen. We’re only ever going one life experience and lived-perspective – the world becomes so much more interesting when we build bridges across life experiences, use our imagination and step into the shoes of others.
The remarkable part of this Atlas Corps experience I’ve had is the incredible community of inspiring Fellows you get to meet, work and live with every day for 12 months (seriously check them out here). There are 100 Atlas Corps Fellows from 40 different countries in the US at the moment!
I want to give two examples of the internal transformations I’ve had through a couple of conversations, and the opportunity to observe the passion and actions of Atlas Corps Fellows.
A few months ago a Atlas Corps Fellow from India moved into my shared house. Disha is a vegetarian. We often cook meals for each other and after a while, I started adjusting my cooking so Disha could eat the meals too. Unlike some of the vegetarians/vegans I’ve met previously, she didn’t force her moral views on me, but demonstrated through practice how it is possible to live vegetarian.
I grew up in one of the most socially progressive areas of Australia – inner-city Melbourne. Many of my friends are vegetarians/vegans and there is an incredibly strong environmental and animal protection movement in Melbourne. I understood the ethical arguments for vegetarianism very well, but never felt inclined to live out these principles.
Disha and I had several conversations about being vegetarian, but it was a conversation she brought me to at the Nexus Global Summit, that triggered a change. Meeting a group of vegans and vegetarians who were working out ways to make it easier for people to transition to more environmentally sustainable society that recognizes the suffering we inflict upon animals made me realize I had a role to play too. For the first time, despite years of exposure, I’ve come to see vegetarianism as a live option thanks to few conversations with Disha.
Over the past several years I’ve been fortunate enough to work with and support young social entrepreneurs at Foundation for Young Australians. I’ve observed how these passionate and skilled individuals have identified problems in the their communities and decided to do something about it. Despite this experience I have never seen entrepreneurship being a possible option for myself.
Enter an amazing Atlas Corps Fellow from Russia, Anna. We were having a casual conversation with another friend on our front porch one evening, giving advice on a initiative our friend planned to start. The conversation was really valuable for this friend and Anna remarked afterwards that we should test this format out again.
This led to Front Porch Ideas. Anna’s experience starting enterprises from a young age and an attitude of just getting things done inspired me to co-found the project that we’ve been developing over the past couple of months. For the first time, despite years of working with entrepreneurs, I’ve come to see entrepreneurship as a live option thanks to few conversations with Anna.
The time will always come when you must make a decision and let your voice be heard – but give some time for watching and listening and you might change yourself in the process.