Newton’s first law of motion:
An object in motion will remain in motion and an object at rest will remain at rest unless an external force acts on it.
We are new to the running of a charitable giving foundation. Year one is a year of learning for us, so we need to take some time to shape the foundation. As such, our goal for the first year is both simple and small: to create a bias for positive action. Any positive action, no matter how small, taken today is worth hours and hours of good intention that do not result in action.
Using Tesla as a Model
We take instruction from Elon Musk, who launched the company with this mission: “to accelerate the advent of sustainable transport by bringing compelling mass market electric cars to market as soon as possible.”
The most exciting part of this was realizing how Elon defined success. He did not require that Tesla emerge triumphant in that race to sustainable transport. Tesla did not need to make every breakthrough in science themselves. The company did not need to dominate the market. They needed to create an environment that would speed our transition to a more sustainable transportation mode.
Elon meant this goal sincerely: it was more important to inspire change, create possibilities, and build a compelling desire for the future world he envisioned than making money. He has found joy in every “Tesla-killer” the competition spawned, because more competition meant that the mission was coming true: more players in the marketplace were pointed at the same goal, and they would get there faster. He open-sourced Tesla’s patents, to encourage the race to this future, and would-be “competitors” grabbed them and started applying them, creating a more open-source development environment. These choices accelerated change and aligned tightly to the corporate mission.
Applying the Model
So this year, The Pale Blue Dot Foundation dreams of creating a bias for positive action. We will do this by:
Helping people like you overcome headline stress from the constant onslaught of negative news;
Demonstrating the power and effectiveness of simple actions taken by individuals;
Navigating the complex world of charitable giving; and
Prompting simple actions that can be taken right now, then repeating the process to create a habitual bias towards positive action.
Following this plan in year one will help us explore how to be an effective, ethical foundation, and let us learn from our community, for they have much to teach us. By the end of 2020, we want to have some good habits firmly engrained in our team and a network of connections available to help year two be even more effective than the first.
The Foundation as “an external force”
The foundation will work towards nudging a few objects at rest into motion. It is a simple formula. Learn how to overcome the inertia created by an often overwhelming media environment that constantly tells us that the world is getting worse every single day. Learn how others have made a difference, people just like yourself. Action is the ingredient that ensures results. Only action can cause reaction—and only positive action can cause positive reaction.
The key is to take a step today. Whatever the project is, start today. Change one bad habit slightly… today. Start a conversation with a friend… today. Set your first goal… today. Start following our blog… today.
This post is part of an introductory series to help visitors understand the background and mission of The Pale Blue Dot Foundation.