First, a short video:
Recently, I have found myself getting more and more frustrated with the ways people choose to “take action” regarding public issues. Most recent example – the Plaza balcony building and Polsinelli’s plan for a new building. How does this relate to the TEDtalk I’ve posted above? The people who have joined a Facebook group called “Save the Plaza!” and the people who post angry status messages and tweets about this ruining the fabric of the plaza – what have you actually done? Have you contacted Highwoods or Polsinelli or anyone who can do something about it? Have you contacted the appropriate city council members, demanding that the Plaza development plan be followed? Or are you one of the people who have talked about doing something so much that you feel like you’ve accomplished something, when all you’ve really done is publicly whined and then gone about your life?
This is just one example – there are plenty to choose from. It seems the phrase “no one is doing anything about [insert issue here]!” rolls so easily off the tongue these days that if you ask around, the only people doing anything are the ones complaining about nothing being done. This is the perfect opportunity for people to engage – in their local governments, their community groups, their neighborhood associations – and actually start doing something. If “no one” is doing anything, “no one” includes you. If you don’t like the way something is, do something about it. Otherwise, it’s just empty talking that makes you feel better but has no useful outcome. Use the time you waste by joining the latest Facebook group to actually write an email to a decision-maker. Show up to a city council meeting. Listen to both sides and make a well-informed opinion instead of shouting so loudly you can’t hear anyone but yourself.
Just do something.