Urgent Evoke

A crash course in changing the world.

LEARN 1: What you have - NOT what you lack

One of the factors I think we are all prone to forgetting - both for ourselves and in trying to aid others - is that what you have matters more than what you lack.

I was reminded of this once again by Ethan Zuckerman’s post ‘Innovating from constraint‘ (quoted in the Design in Africa blog). Zuckerman states:

"If you’ve got a bicycle, consider what you can build based on that, rather than worrying about not having a car, a truck, a metal shop."

The reason this concept is so useful is that it is one which all of us
can start turning into a habitual response right now in our daily
lives. It's a principle which would encourage the reduction of unnecessary consumption in affluent regions, and promote innovation & ingenuity in areas with limited resources.


As another example, these can either be empty hands, or they can be tools with which to build, nurture, write - and so much more.

My plan to action this principle in my own life is to consider one thing each day which I have, and to try and put one of those things into use each week.

When I want to achieve something, I will stop and think about it. Before leaping to the assumption that I will need new resources to achieve the goal, I'll a****s whether I can actually make it work with things I already have access to.

If I can build this into my own everyday life, when the time comes for me to assist others it will be my default reaction. I will not bemoan the things which are lacking, I will champion the resources which are available, and ensure they are put to their best use.

Views: 50

Comment by Nathaniel Fruchter on February 20, 2010 at 9:20pm
A great sustainable mindset that could, no kidding, change the world. If more people thought like you, there's no doubt that we could solve many more of our problems in a much more efficient manner. I'm inspired.
Comment by Robert Hawkins on February 26, 2010 at 1:30am
Totally agree. Great mindset. Its amazing what you can do and make with what you already have. My only less than successful experience in doing this was that cornflake sandwich with chocolate syrup.....
Comment by Amos Meeks on March 6, 2010 at 4:29am
I love the picture of the hands, and I love the focus on taking this and learning from it and applying it to yourself. Making that commitment takes courage, keep it up!
Comment by John D. Boyden on March 6, 2010 at 5:42pm
This is +1 vision to me. You are seeing what so many do not. As an educator, my first a****sment is strengths and weaknesses. Then it is matter of using the former to build the latter. We use what we have to add what we don't have.
Comment by Josh Judkins on March 6, 2010 at 10:44pm
Thanks Amos & John - I think the trick for me will be keeping this in the forefront of my mind long enough for it to become habit...
Comment by Deborah Cazden on March 10, 2010 at 10:48am
What a great idea! How about challenging the network to create a blog about noticing what we have in our lives that we had not really paid attention to in the past. It can be an exercise for a week, the blog saved as a draft during that time. I like your example of your hands, others could include a stranger complimenting you, a friend that gives you support, or even a puppy that licks your face.
Comment by Josh Judkins on March 10, 2010 at 6:47pm
Great idea Deborah! I'll certainly craft a challenge around that!
Comment by cattavery on March 14, 2010 at 12:26am
for the secomd generation back to the land people here in Humboldt we say "Take what we have and turn it into what we need". Like an empty parking lot becoming our town square, or an old school building the new college extension. Practice at home!
Comment by Murray Sterley on March 15, 2010 at 8:15am
Resourcefulness is a trait many need to learn! Even in developed areas we can be more resourceful by using less resources in our daily activities.
Comment by Ezra Ho on April 1, 2010 at 1:35pm
This is an empowering concept which would benefit many people. However, have you considered the immense technological capability that Humanity would have at our fingertips if access to such powerful technology such as cybernetics, nanotechnology etc were not limited by cost?

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