Perception is a tricky and intricate thing. How you understand something is directly related to your perception of it, and if your perception is wrong, it can rock your world when your perception of something changes.
I’ve recently had some interesting feedback about me that certainly changed my world.
Someone told me that sometimes, it feels like I’m being a zealot, that things “must” be improved; the implication is that I’m the kind of person for whom the only constant is that things change, that I’m never going to be satisfied, and that in consequence I don’t just enthuse about innovation, I preach it, evangelise it.
On a blog on the subject, I guess it could easily come across as that, and maybe that’s not entirely inaccurate; I do talk it up a lot on here.
The thing is, I feel a lot like I have to talk it up because no-one else is doing it. I have the distinct impression a lot of the time that any competitors in a field are merely trying to one-up each other rather than getting to the heart of the matter.
For example, I specialise in forums. There are easily half a dozen “major” forum packages out there, some free, some paid. And as a friend put it, they’re like cars – they all do basically the same thing that the Model T did decades ago, get people from A to B, and that they’ve been refined and improved upon, but the basic premise is the same.
The problem I have is that there is a lack of people doing anything different in the ecosystem; cars have competition for the conveyance of people, they have bikes and vans and trucks, which all do the job of carrying people but some carry items, some carry very large items – but you can use them for the task of ferrying people.
The forum world is different, the forums all do the same basic thing, maybe the knobs and twiddly bits are different, but they’re like cars. There aren’t really any trucks or vans or bike equivalents for forums.
And I guess I do get a bit vocal about my dissatisfaction on the subject, I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t. But someone has to carry the torch, someone has to bang the drum, to get the message out there that what IS does not have to drive what MIGHT BE, and turn it into a MUST BE, to get the message out there that it’s OK to ask why, and why not, the way something is – to make what isn’t, into what is.
It frustrates me that more people won’t dare to be different, won’t leave their comfort zone and try something new – maybe it’ll fail, maybe it’ll succeed, but even if it fails, it’ll teach you something for next time, and some of the greatest improvements have come out of the most dismal failures.
I guess, out of all the frustration, of all the sadness in thought of what could be, rather than what people choose to allow to be, I feel I have to shoulder some of the mantle of trying to motivate people, I can’t do it by myself, but I have to try.
I actually said it myself on a discussion about this very issue:
Also note that what comes across as zealotry is because I’m daring to suggest things that are against the order of things, and to do that, you have to approach it with the belief and faith that you can single-handedly move mountains, because without that belief, without someone daring to believe in what could be, it won’t happen.
I’m strongly involved in what I’m doing, and that’s enough for me. I guess I just believe it in enough that it can be perceived as a religion. I don’t believe in it, but I have a pretty good idea…