The Obligation

Back in 20091 I wrote a post2 referencing a quote from Seth Godin’s Tribes about the Obligation:

Not too far from us, a few blocks away, there are kids without enough to eat and without parents who care. A little further away, hours by plane, are people unable to reach their goals because they live in a community that just doesn’t have the infrastructure to support them. A bit further away are people being brutally persecuted by their governments. And the world is filled with people who can’t go to high school, never mind college, and who certainly can’t spend their time focused on whether or not they get a good parking space at work.

And so, the obligation: don’t settle.

To have all these advantages, all this momentum, all these opportunities and then settle for mediocre and then defend the status quo and then worry about corporate politics - what a waste.

Flynn Berry wrote that you should never use the word “opportunity.” It’s not an opportunity, it’s an obligation.

I don’t think we have any choice. I think we have an obligation to change the rules, to raise the bar, to play a different game, and to play it better than anyone has any right to believe is possible.

No passage from a book has ever stuck with me more.

I hear all the time:

  • I could never work from home and have control over my schedule
  • I could never learn to code or design (or anything creative that I may actually enjoy doing 8 hours a day)
  • I could never find a company that is a joy to work for and lets me do meaningful work
  • I could never start a business

Sadly, for some, these are absolutely true. There are barriers and obstacles that just can’t be overcome…or there are other duties much more important than finding meaningful work.

However, chances are if you are reading this, you are not more than 2 or 3 connections away from personally knowing me and you are very likely in a position (even if you don’t believe it) to do so much more than what you are currently doing. And, even if you don’t want to admit out loud, this is what you want3.

  1. This blog was available at dev.scottw.com, but it has apparently completely shit the bed…was working when I started this post. ↩︎

  2. In textile of all things. ↩︎

  3. Why else are you 2,000 characters into this post. ↩︎