Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Here's my premise, open to debate and disagreement. There's been a lot of talk about the decline of America in the last few years. I'm still not entirely sure that I embrace this because there is still so much to celebrate and so many great people in this country. The Crossfit Central folks, working to build a business and inspire their clients to embrace a culture of excellence. Anthony and Kristen of Cubit Planning building a business on a great idea and the support of people who saw the potential of their idea. There are many, many smart, creative people doing the same thing, following their passion and building businesses that are the foundation of our future. This inspires me and gives me confidence that the future is still bright and that we are not in decline.

But, and you knew there would be a but, all is not hope and bright futures. We have significant challenges we need to address to continue to be the great nation in the world. One of these is the fact that many people do not aspire to excellence, they are willing to live their lives in complacency and mild dissatisfaction. We know the food we eat and the television we watch is crap and is not good for us, yet we continue to spend our time and money on it.

This is seen in our government as well. Dissatisfaction with elected officials (of all parties) is at an all time high, yet when election time comes we'll still have minimal turnout and the same old same old will be reelected.

I think part of the reason is the complacency history has allowed us to experience. When the Soviet Union collapsed, the great enemy of our way of life died with it. We no longer had the competition from a society that wanted our demise. Think of the creativity and innovation sparked by the space race when we refused to allow the Russians to beat us in space. Once we became the dominant power in the world we started resting on our laurels without the need to innovate and create to compete against anybody. That complacency has to some degree infected our society and led many to feel they are entitled to a high quality lifestyle with minimal effort on their part.

Again, this is not intended as an entirely pessimistic post, there are great people doing great things in this country. New ideas, new products, new businesses are starting in all parts of this country. Smart, creative, passionate people are out there striving to make great things and we need to embrace them, support them, and allow them to thrive. The rest of us, the great unwashed as it were, need to look to these passionate people and know that we too can find that within ourselves and achieve greatness.

Complacency is a choice, we can allow ourselves to muddle through life or we can strive and push ourselves to be better than we are now.

1 comment:

  1. "Smart, creative, passionate people are out there striving to make great things and we need to embrace them, support them, and allow them to thrive." I feel so lucky to live in the Austin, which has an amazing support network for people starting new companies.

    Also, you might check out David Brooks' recent article in the New York Times "Relax, We’ll Be Fine." Brooks provides some statistics that back you up.

    And thanks for the Cubit nod!