Human progress is at an all time high. More people are connected than ever before, conflict rates have been the lowest in history, and literacy rates are the highest. Massive technological, scientific, and social developments are taking place every day, and the world is becoming more inclusive with everyone.
The greatest hinder to our progress
We, as a society, are very proud of this. We celebrate our current advancements so much, that we don’t actually question if we could be making more progress. Now don’t get me wrong, being grateful for our world is not a problem; what’s concerning is that we’ve unconsciously become dependent on some miracle genius people. Our society’s progress is now determined by the success of our most ambitious citizens. People like Elon Musk, working to improve transportation sustainability; like Jennifer Doudna, working to engineer human DNA; and like Laura Deming, working to extend human life as we know it, are the people pushing society forwards. Very few of us actually choose to change the world, and that is the greatest barricade to our progress.
What’s so special about these people? Why can they impact billions? What’s so different between them and us? After all, they went to the same high schools, the same universities, and had the same friends & family as us. The reason why we are so vastly different is because these people are anti-complacent.
These people don’t care about what’s considered to be “normal”. These people are not satisfied with our current challenges and limitations. These people don’t allow enforced culture to shape their thoughts and who they are. In essence, anti-complacency is the art of consciously not conforming to societal norms. The world’s most important people have a mission, and are willing to think “out of the box” to get there.
Going back to the previous example, all the people mentioned have a vision for the future. Elon Musk is fighting not to improve cars and rockets, but to take the next step in creating a more sustainable planet. Jennifer Doudna is fighting not to advance scientific research, but to aid those who’ve suffered simply because of their genetics. Laura Deming is fighting not to invest in companies, but to impact lives everywhere. These people are remarkably passionate about their visions, and are willing to go far lengths to ensure it. They understand that the best way to predict the future, is to make it.
All these people work on moonshots; a project aiming to achieve something deemed impossible. The people leading these highly ambitious projects are amongst the most anti-complacent in the world. They are the people who choose to be unsatisfied with our advancements; who believe no amount of progress is adequate enough. X (formerly known as Google X), is a startup aiming to build — and assist other companies working on — moonshots. Some of their projects include: Waymo, an autonomous car with the goal of reducing human error on the road, reducing traffic congestion, and providing the impaired with private vehicles; Wing, an autonomous drone aiming to increase access to goods, reduce traffic congestion, and reduce CO2 emissions as a result of the transportation of goods; and loon, a network of balloons, on the edge of space, that connects rural areas to the Internet and improves network resilience in the event of a disaster.
These people are all trying to solve the world’s biggest problems through leveraging technology, ambition, and their creativity. Regardless if you want to build the world’s next big moonshot or not, there’s something to be learned there. Trust me, I understand that the anti-complacent way is both challenging and uncertain, but I encourage you to take the next step. Dare to become one of the few that impact billions, because as Elon Musk said, when something is important enough, you do it even if the odds are not in your favor.