My week so far has been spent pouring over reports and studies on Sri Lanka that examine ‘poverty’ in a multidimensional framework. We try to go beyond solely examining income structures to addressing the socio-political and cultural aspects of an individual’s everyday experience. From examining the livelihoods of those in the Estate sector who cultivate tea and produce rubber for a living, to learning about the challenges of reconstruction in the North and East, to grappling with general economic issues of the country that result in thousands of Sri Lankan’s unable to meet their basic bread and butter needs…undoubtedly, our country has her fair share of struggles. But challenges are there to be overcome. And this, we will do.
Learning about the less fortunate and engaging with a wide array of development issues always leaves me with a greater awareness of my own privilege. This has often left me feeling somewhat overwhelmed and slightly guilty. But after hours upon hours of reflection, I’ve just come to accept that what I have is my blessing. I accept it with humility and gratitude and I am committed to paying my privilege forward; guilt is not constructive.
So when it comes to passion, I’ve finally come to accept that not everyone has the opportunity to uncompromisingly delve into defining and pursuing their passion. And while I wish with every ounce of everything I have that it’s something everyone can enjoy all around the world, it really isn’t. Not in the world of today at least. The joy that comes from doing what you love is often wrapped up in some type of uncertainty that some people just can’t afford. Passion is a privilege. And for those of us who have this privilege, we have a responsibility to do great things with it.
I like the way Seth Godin spoke about it a little while ago:
When you are truly living on the edge, walking on the moon, perhaps, or caught in the grip of extreme poverty–there’s no room at all for error. It’s a luxury you can’t afford.
For the rest of us, though, there’s a cushion. Being wrong isn’t fatal, it’s merely something we’d prefer to avoid. We have the privilege of being wrong. Not being wrong on purpose, of course, but wrong as a cost on the way to being right.
As you gain resources, the act of being wrong goes from being fatal to annoying to a precious opportunity, something that you’ve earned. You won’t advance your cause or discover new truths if you’re obsessed with being right all the time–and so the best way to compound your advantage and accomplish even more than you already have is to set out (with relish) to be as open to wrong as often as you can afford to be
It’s likely that if you are reading this blog, you have the luxury of being wrong, taking a risk, pursuing your passion. Your passion is your privilege – your opportunity. So seize it and live it out. And then, try and extend the privilege in some way, shape, or form, to someone in need – someone who does not have the same margin for error as you do.
And ultimately, that’s what this project is all about. Just as we want to create the space for you to explore and share your passion, we want to create a space for change in our community. We will continue to work to enhance how we interact with social causes so as to increase the potential for positive impact and meaningful change. After all, it is in giving that we receive.