Question 71 of 365: What is a better organizing force, passion or values?

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I have created my communities wrong. Or at least, I have done it while ignoring a huge element of what makes a great community stick together: its values. On the one hand, I have been running away as far and fast as possible from any kind of value-based community, afraid that whatever I create would turn into a “Tea Party” kind of organization that really can’t stand on anything except for the values that the members share.

And so I have pursued people specifically because of what they are passionate about. I have pursued tech people and education people and startup people because they are the ones that I can have a conversation with. They share the same interests as I do and we can speak without fear of leaving someone behind. We are the same brand of geek.

I kind of took it for granted that we would all value the same things too. I took it for granted that we would all value married life and children and balance. I took it for granted that we would value getting things done and reading a whole bunch. I thought we would all respect women and respect our environment and respect love, truth, and inquiry above all else.

But as much as these values are ones that I find in my communities, this is not what my communities are based upon. While a great many of the people that I gravitate towards are capable of being both passionate about my passions and valuing the things I value, there are many people who are simply in it for the passion.

And this has caused some of my communities to fall apart or languish. When I look at many of them, I see nothing but a series of individuals and individual interests. There isn’t a cohesion that comes from a mix of passion and values. I think the main reason for this is that passions are much more in-flux than values. While I have not always been interested in starting a company, I have always valued truth. While I have not always been a blogger, I have always valued the creative process.

One of the things that value-based communities get right is that their values bind them closer together than any set of interests ever could. In that sense, they are incredibly accepting of differences. So long as you value the same things, your background and approach doesn’t matter.

So, I guess I am advocating for building communities that do not ignore our values. I am looking for communities that see the whole me. I am a husband, a dad, a musician, a writer, a geek, an optimist, a truth-seeker, and a hand-holder. I value those things, and I want those things to be a part of the conversation just as much as term sheets, VC funding, EdTech, Collaboration, or Learning.

In fact, I want to be able to search based upon those values and not just the passions or topics that people have going around in their heads all day. I want to be able to find those other individuals who believe. If for no other reason than I feel as though I will be able to take that kind of a community with me wherever I go. No matter what I become passionate about, so long as the people I have with me value the same things, they can come too.

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0 Comments

  1. You really should hire an assistant.

    Your ideas and ability to pull things together are just amazing, but I feel
    as though it is getting lost in the translation for many people. I feel like
    you might be easy to write off as someone who is artsy or too futurist. But,
    you are capable of creating change and articulating what needs to happen in
    schools better than anyone I have recently read. You just need someone else
    who can focus the work so that other people can see how brilliant it is.
    (You don't NEED that, but I guess I would love for that to happen because I
    think people are missing out.)

    You are force to be reckoned with and I think people should see that.

  2. i absolutely agree on my inability to focus the message. and the definite need for that to happen. unfortunately… i'm volunteering myself.. so no hiring capabilities. unless of course, i happen to find such an individual, that believes like i do, that transparency is the new currency.

    might that be you ben wilkoff?

    this is why i'm calling on and working with a new batch of expert tutors. i would love for you to join that team. i've already told them about you. this has been in the making for like a year – every since my first brush with the most amazing expert tutor. all of these guys have hailed from Seth Godin's online triiibe – which i joined a year ago jan.
    these particular guys i'm working with now – just started helping me clarify two weeks ago.

  3. I can't seen how values, passions and interests are separable. I'm trying, but I can't get there. The things about which I'm passionate are the things I value and the things I am interested in. There's an interconnectivity of the three that I can't envision severing.
    This is not to say I'm

  4. Was there more to this comment?

    I formerly didn't see any difference, but I am now just starting to
    appreciate (or, really dislike) the differences I have found. To me, I am
    passionate about a topic or an idea. My values are for certain types of
    relationships and experiences. Semantically, they are very similar. But, in
    practice, I keep on finding more people who are passionate about the things
    that I am passionate about, but they value different relationships and
    connections even in those things.

    Concretely, this is an extension of my wish to find more family-oriented
    people in my community. It is an extension of wanting people to not settle
    for just being passionate about change (or an aspect of change), but
    actually forming the bonds that create the change within themselves.

    I had a conversation with a number of people this week, all of which were
    passionate about technology. However, only in one did I feel as though we
    valued the same things. We were both talking about creating something new
    within our families and our companies, and not just about how cool the tech
    or the integration was. It was a slight difference, but an important one.

  5. Ah. Ok. I'm totally seeing this better now.

    Thank you for the concrete example.

    With the people you spoke to this week, was the 1 worth the many? Was the
    investment of conversation worth the connection you made? I've been feeling
    like I've been having a lot of new conversations lately with a lot of new
    people. It's not that I don't want to be conversing, it's that I'm hungry
    for the 1 in the many.

    Forming bonds that create change within. Yeah. I want more that too.

  6. The one was worth the many. I learned from the many too, but the many are
    really there in order for me to refine what I am talking about so that when
    I talk to the one I don't sound like a bumbling idiot. I am constantly
    pitching and trying out new ideas. It would be a shame if the most important
    and engaging people in my life always had to get the brunt of the bad ideas
    as well as the ones that I really should be engaging them with.

    And yet, the one in the many doesn't just get the brunt of ideas. Because
    they have the same values as I do, they get to experience seeing through the
    frame and seeing the person behind the idea. They get to come in and really
    help me create it. The values continue to matter because they help me to
    advance my ideas. The people who are just “in my network” are there to help
    test ideas, not refine or advance.

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