Much of the time when I get stressed out with a project or a deadline nears, my natural inclination is to recede into my own space and bubble and interact with people as little as possible. I recognize in nature, this isn’t what occurs. Rather a group will band together in times of strife and their burdens will be eased substantially. So I hope that I’ll be able to take after nature in this regard more and more. A little outside the box, watching squirrels and their pure, manic energy can often exhaust me just looking at them. I realize though, that they devote every ounce of their energy to get their task done as quickly and efficiently as possible; that, namely, is generally acquiring nuts. So rather than procrastinating, it would be much more effective to maintain a full court press when a project or problem comes up until it is completed or solved. Problems, like rushing water, often come at you fast and one after another. Beavers understand that they need to make a dam to stem the rushing tide. If I were to draw from their playbook, and try to anticipate when problems may be coming, then prepare myself to take them on, my life would be much easier down the line.
The “optimize rather than maximize” principle stuck out to me. In regards to the GSIF project, it strikes me that the Plastikan Project is fully attempting to utilize this. The women’s cooperative will quite literally be optimizing by “recycling all materials”. As a team, we’ve all realized the immense value to these women, their community, and eventually the country and world as a whole as a result of their actions. On a micro level, the women will have supplementary income which will assist in their day to day lives and help to provide for their families. Meanwhile we believe that if this project is successful, there will be a great incentive for communities all around the Philippines to take up the idea and implement it for themselves as well, helping to more substantially fight the environmental problems facing the world today.
As mentioned above, Project Plastikan is working to ensure that plastics aren’t left around our planet for thousands of years. Rather, by recycling these products we’re showing there is no endgame. Instead, each product’s end, is leading to another’s beginning. Quite literally (as we’ll have to melt and burn the plastic) these products are functioning as phoenixes. Rising from the ashes of plastic bottles, can be jewelry, chairs, and many more practical products the world consistently needs. With Plastikan, we realize that even this one women’s cooperative taking on this project, isn’t truly the end of the project. Our hope of other communities taking up the mantle and project, also ensures that instead of cradle to grave, it becomes a matter of cradle to cradle.
I was talking with a Chinese friend a couple months ago and we were discussing the philosophies of citizens in our countries. This conversation was one of the more interesting and eye-opening I’ve ever had as we presented a thought question (that has certainly seen far too many real world examples). Would we rather live under a generally repressive regime as long as our families and selves were provided for or would we fight for rights and liberty? He, and most Chinese he claims, would much rather the former, as family is so important to them. Rather than worrying about themselves, the loyalty they hold for their family keeps them from fighting. Meanwhile, I fervently believe in the alternative, and believe that most Americans would agree. Our background fighting an English regime for independence has instilled in us a love and expectation for liberty no matter the cost. In my mind, it was hard to envision why anyone would side with a repressive regime, yet with his explanation I began to understand that point of view.
In high school, I was introduced to improv comedy from a friend. He also helped me embrace the concept of “yes, and”. Rather than assuming an idea was impossible or simply disagreeing with someone else, understanding their viewpoint, agreeing with it and attempting to build on it has changed my life profoundly.
Also in high school, I wasn’t sure exactly the path I wanted to take in regards to my career and life. I knew I wanted to make a difference, and that I wanted that to eventually lead to politics, but I didn’t know the best way to get started on doing that. Then I was talking with a friend who knew he was enlisting in the army after high school and while I knew that I had no interest in enlisting, that started turning the wheels of what a life would look like with a stint in the army. That concept, led me to a day shadowing an ROTC cadet at my local university and I realized how perfect a start that would be for my adult life. Since, I haven’t looked back.