Consider this a thought experiment.
Awhile back, I wrote about change theory, and the notion that the only way to unfreeze a stable system is to heat it up in some way. This isn’t exactly a new or unique ideology; it’s one held by radicals of whatever stripe, and to a degree it’s been proven by history. Every fallen empire, every long-lasting regime that’s been overturned, every stagnant system that’s undergone a sudden and drastic change, has shown that change is always possible, no matter how ingrained or set-in-stone the pre-change status quo seemed to be.
But systems operate on many levels, and some of the most pervasive, and the most powerful, are nothing you can point to or measure. So. Look around yourself, at yourself. Consider the stable systems that surround you and inhabit you. Micro, macro, doesn’t matter — but it needs to be a system you’re dissatisfied with, and that you want to change. The educational system in your country. The way video games are made. Your relationship with your significant other. The revolution of the planets around the sun.
How ya gonna change it? What do you think it would take?
Seriously. Say you’re absolutely certain that this world would be a better place if we existed within a Dyson Sphere. What would you do, can you do, within your lifetime, to help bring that about?
I ask this because I spent part of my day talking to a college student who was absolutely convinced that there was no way he could learn calculus. He just didn’t get it. Math wasn’t “in his blood”. He wasn’t smart enough. And no amount of effort on his part would change his ability to do it.
I spent an hour telling him otherwise. I roped in another student — an older one whom I knew had overcome the same deadly, corrosive self-flagellation. I gave him simple, change-a-little-a-day strategies that I’d discussed with math professors who’ve been doing this stuff for decades. (“Just do one practice problem every evening. Just one.”) I shared personal stories, because holy crap do I know how brutal those little internal voices can be. But in the end, he couldn’t hear any of us; the little voices drowned us out. Change was impossible, because he believed it to be.
What are the little voices in your head? What are they stopping you from doing? How much more could you do with your life, if you only believed?