By Lissa Rankin
I’m writing this on a plane from Portland back home to San Francisco after joining 3000 visionaries and thought leaders who attended Chris Guillebeau’s World Domination Summit. This very inspiring conference was peopled with those inspired by Chris’s manifesto “A Brief Guide To World Domination,” which is less about colonization and more about saving the world.
Gretchen Rubin is saving the world by teaching people how to be happier, Don Miller is helping people rewrite the stories of their lives, Nancy Duarte is helping people tell stories that can change the world, Bob Moore is changing the world by putting people before profit, Jia Jiang is changing the world by helping people learn to take risks by getting comfortable with rejection.
Pretty much everyone I met was either on a mission to fulfill a calling or on a quest to find one. After the conference ended with a tear-jerking sparkling apple juice toast, I found myself reinvigorated in my own mission to heal health care, and everyone I spoke to felt inspired to change the world in their own small or big way.
It was awesome.
But as the afterglow of the post-WDS Bollywood dance party wore off, I found myself pondering what motivated all of us to try to make the world a better place.
I wound up posting this on Facebook:
After spending the weekend with 3000 visionaries committed to changing the world, I find myself reflecting upon on what motivates visionaries. Are we motivated by a pure, unadulterated desire to leave the world better off than we found it? Or are we operating from a place of deep unworthiness, of not being enough unless we make the world a better place? Or is it some combination of both?
So many people are desperate to find their calling, their reason for existence, their meaning of life. And many others, like myself, feel they have found it- and are now on a quest to fulfill a vision. But is the quest driven by the right motives?
What made Martin Luther King, Jr campaign for civil rights? What made Nelson Mandela take a stand? What made Abraham Lincoln free the slaves? What made Evita and Mother Teresa fight for the rights of the poor?
Is it a deep-seated sense of unworthiness that needs to be healed? Is it ego? Do we need to feel like we’ve contributed big things so we know we are valuable? Is it karmic? Are we trying to pay off some debt for wrongs committed in past lives? Are we craving love, acceptance, external validation?
Or is it noble? Are we just caring, committed souls devoted to service without any self-serving motives? Are we clear vessels for Divine work in the world moving through us?
What do YOU think?
The Facebook Response
Forty-seven people responded with very thoughtful answers, including these:
Beth Gradone Krajewski wrote, “I suspect human beings come from mixed motives much of the time, and we can afford to be forgiving of the ego-ridden places in ourselves and others if the work is really being done and done well. But motives do matter, at least as far as they can poison the work if not recognized and dealt with. Lifting up the questions and asking all those who engage in visionary action to get real about their self-worth and the source of their dreams only furthers the work itself and the quality of the results.”
Jennifer Newcomb Marine wrote, “I think the vision, altruism and drive spring from someplace pure in your heart. Then fear and ego get involved and create this start-stop dance of self-doubt, craving validation, and thinking, ‘To heck with everyone!’and so on… The trick is to get out of your own way so you can make a contribution. But the journey there is full of learning about how and why you trip yourself up too.”
Pamela Potter wrote, “I really think it is a divine push that we can’t avoid. Many of the historical figures weren’t what we’d consider personally enlightened and many of them didn’t get any kind of recognition until much later, so I don’t think ego figures in. If you are called to do something, you just CAN’T not do it. Even if you just babble at people and write a blog that no one reads or articles that don’t always get published, your heart has to know that you are doing something. I’m not sure most of us go into it with a plan. We just can’t stop thinking about our thing, what ever it is, and we have to DO something.”
Lori Santo posted, “I personally feel that it is a powerful inner pull….. combined with a ‘Priestly Divine Appointment’ ~ which of course transcends language ~ coupled with an intense sense of and alignment with profound compassion for humanity.”
The Evolution Of The Species
I don’t know the answer to the questions I pose. But I have a hunch that our species is evolving, maybe not so much on the physical plane, but at the level of consciousness. For many years, many of us- myself included- have been spiritually asleep. But more and more people are waking up to a broadening consciousness, and this awakening is accompanied by a desire to leave the world better than we found it.
Uri Geller once suggested that we only use 10% of the capacity of our brains, and while PET scan imagery and fMRI seem to refute this, I do suspect we have capacities of consciousness we are only just beginning to tap into. Neurosurgeon Eben Alexander, author of Proof Of Heaven, wrote about how his near-death experience, which occurred while he was technically brain dead, changes his belief that consciousness lies in the brain. He now believes that consciousness transcends the brain, that we have souls that exist beyond the body, and that there are realms of consciousness a few lucky ducks like Dr. Alexander and Anita Moorjani have been blessed to experience and then remember.
Stealth Agents For God
World Domination Summit has nothing to do with religion, Chris Guillebeau certainly wouldn’t self-identify as a spiritual leader, and many of those who attended probably wouldn’t even label themselves as spiritual, but I left World Domination Summit with a strong sense that the Divine is at work though the vehicle of the people who attended this conference.
Martha Beck would call these people “The Team” or “Stealth Agents For God”. We are all doing our part, in our own Divinely unique way, to make the world a better place.
So I guess it doesn’t really matter what motivates those of us to “dominate” the world. The important thing is that we are making ourselves vessels, allowing Divine work to move through us, spreading love and kindness and compassion and grace, leaving the world better than we found it.
What Do YOU Think?
Tell us your stories.
With love and world domination,