Derek Sivers
from the book “How to Live”:

Here’s how to live: Make change.


Change the world as much as you can.
All your learning and thinking is wasted if you don’t take action.
People try to explain the world, but the real point is to change the world.

If you go through life without changing anything, what have you done?
Just observed?!
The world doesn’t need more audience.
The world needs changing.
What’s broken needs fixing.
What’s OK needs improving.
What’s harmful needs destroying.

People dream or complain about how the world should be, but nothing improves without action.
You have to go change things yourself.

People say the world is the way it is, and that’s just how it’s going to be.
They’re hopeless, complacent, or entrenched.
They expect life to stay within its current boundaries and rules.
But all progress comes from those who ignore the boundaries, break the rules, or make a whole new game.

Don’t accept anything as-is.
Everything you encounter must change.
Preservation is your enemy.
Only dead fish go with the flow.

Think of the scientific method.
Someone proposes an idea, then others skeptically and rigorously try to disprove it.
Use this approach on the world.
Assume everything is wrong the way it is.
Doubt it and attempt to change it, to prove it’s not correct.

This is how we make progress.
What fails is forgotten.
What works is called innovation.

Begin by righting what’s wrong.
Look for what’s ugly: ugly systems, ugly rules, ugly traditions.
Look for what bothers you.
If you can fix it, do it now.
Otherwise, aim lower until you find something you can do now.
Make it how it should be.
Don’t complain.
Just make the change.

This gives you a new perspective on work.
Work is whatever you want to change.

Remove what needs to die.
Instead of fixing, destroy what was there and replace it with something better.
Sometimes you don’t know what to add, but you know what to remove.

Worried you’ll make things worse?
Who’s to say whether the change you’ll make is good or bad?
Only time will tell.
Genghis Khan killed 11% of the world’s population, but he’s seen as having a net-positive influence on the world in the long run.
Yet people with the best intentions can end up doing harm.
So stop judging and start changing the world any way you can.

Rearrange and remix.
That’s how nature grows.
A cow is rearranged grass.
All the atoms get reused.
Every time you hear a song, watch a show, or read an idea, think of how you’d change it or combine it with something else.
Keep your tools handy to rearrange, remix, and edit what you encounter.
Then share your alterations.

Don’t worship your heroes.
Surpass them.

Changing the world includes changing yourself.
Change your beliefs, preferences, acquaintances, hobbies, location, and lifestyle.
Your only constant habit will be looking for what else to change.

Change others.
Changing minds and hearts can have more impact than physical change.
A great speech can do the work of a thousand soldiers.

Go where there’s a revolution.
That’s where people are questioning old norms, and looking for new solutions.
Creativity comes from shaking things up.
People that were left out of the old game can get in early on the new game.

After years of doing this, you’ll be ready to make institutional change.
By using the techniques of lobbyists.
Set up a company or foundation to act through.
Make institutional change anonymously from behind the company, so your personality is not distracting the point.
Call it something generic and impossible to oppose, like “Better World LLC”.
Keep your public profile small.
Be humble and likable.
Prevent the straw man attack.
For each change you seek to make, find someone effective to be the face for the campaign.
Let the company and its contributors make the change.
Stay behind the scenes and quietly pull the strings.

Changing culture makes revolution.
But it’s not a revolution if nobody loses.
Someone will have to lose.
People will be furious.
When the bad people are mad, you’re doing it right.

In the end, the highest praise of a life is to say that person “made a difference”.
Do you hear that word?
Difference refers to what’s changed.
To live a praise-worthy life, to make a difference, you have to make change.