Thursday, January 11, 2007

On Reinventing the Wheel

Lately, in my social justice work at my church, I've been thinking about the whole idea that one shouldn't "reinvent the wheel." True enough, the records I keep of what I do and how I do it might someday be useful to someone else in the same position as social justice committee chair.

But it seems that more important than what you do is what motivates you to do it. I'm discovering that if you are really interested in your work, because you choose your goals and your tasks and your methods yourself, to match your interests and skills, then you do just put one foot in front of the other and incorporate the feedback as it comes, until you get as far as you can go.

Much of it may be reinventing the wheel, and I'm constantly inundated with suggestions and advice and offers of seminars and classes, not only on "How to" put together different projects and events, but even which issues I should be organizing to addresss. The point is, I don't think you really learn about how to choose and work toward goals, or about yourself, unless you DO reinvent the wheel by starting from scratch, with a minimum of reference to other people's work and other people's tactics and strategies. If it comes from someone else's heart, your heart isn't going to be in it.

Which begs the question: how to get others involved in group projects if you advocate for "everybody do your own thing." I think about this constantly, convinced, as I am, that we will have to work together much better than we do if we're to right this capsizing ship of human civilization.

But for now, I can just say I think part of the answer is trust-building, getting people to understand that you will do what you say you will do, so they don't feel their time and effort helping is wasted. There is so much political resignation and despair to cut through...


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