Disrupt the Universe

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We just came back from our family retreat, which is an annual program organized by my wife Orit’s school (NJCHS). The entire high school, student, faculty, staff, as well as the families are grouped together for three and a half days at a wonderful Kibbutz-like place (Brandeis-Bardin Institute). During these days, the students, with the help of the faculty are transformed into a stronger, tighter, more supportive community. Witnessing this was very impressive and inspiring.

Every year, the founding head of school, Dr. Bruce Powell, gives a speech. Dr. Powell is an inspiring leader and educator with a track record of establishing multiple Jewish high schools in the Los Angeles area. His speeches are never just any speech; they’re the type of of speech where you’re afraid to blink for you might miss a word, a verb, a gesture. For me, it is a chance to learn from a true leader who has proven again and again his ability to execute a vision into a reality. It is an important time especially because he is not the typical business/technology leader I usually hear, therefore provides me with a fresh perspective. I would like to share with you some of Dr. Powell’s speech, in my words.

It is said that the Founding Fathers of the United States of America have done something so extraordinary that they have “disrupted the universe”. They have created something so great and profound, so different and inventive that it changed everything. A new way of governing that did not exist before, which changed the course of humanity’s history and future forever in ways no one could have imagined, besides them.

However, this is not the only time the universe was disrupted. Many people before and after have made changes that disrupted the universe, some for good, some for evil. Some made changes in a small way and others in a bigger way.  Are these people really so few and far in between? Are these people so special that they only appear once in a few decades or centuries?

The truth is that we ALL have the ability to disrupt the universe; we all have that ability within us. It is not due to some unique gift, a random gene, a minimum IQ or a level of income.  It is simply a matter of will! Some factors are how hard are you willing to work to achieve your goal? How much are you willing to sacrifice? And how dedicated are you to the goal?

But one important point, which is often lost in the never-ending noise, is the ability to know a big thing from a small thing. I know it sounds trivial and obvious, important and truthful facts usually are. Really ask yourself: how often do you stop to think about what you’re doing in the big picture? How often do you pause to think if the task, project, argument, meeting, trip, deal or anything else you do with your wife, husband, partner, kids, employees, manager, partners, etc. are really important? How often do you really know big things from small things?

The answer is always: not often enough!

Especially because it is so easy to lose ourselves in the small tasks, to stay focused on the moment, to stay close to the familiar and the safe that we don’t ask the question: Is this important enough? Is this leading me in direction of my goal and vision? Is this a big thing or a small thing? These questions are so simple and obvious, yet we don’t ask it enough.

Maybe we’re not here to start nations, to build empires, to conquer courtiers or to find cure for cancer. Maybe we’re here to raise a family, to start a business, to be a friend, to help others grow, to lead, to create something that was not here just a second ago. Remember that everything you do disrupts the universe in some shape or form every little thing even if you don’t know it, just like the “butterfly effect”.

Your life is your personal journey to take. Remember that you have the ability to disrupt the universe, just stay focused, work hard, and always remember to know big things from small things.

Make it count!

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6 thoughts on “Disrupt the Universe

  1. Amir Tabrizi says:

    When disrupting the universe, one is often challenged by the society. Galileo was imprisoned because his ideas were ahead of his time. Today, he is referred to as “father of modern physics”.

  2. Justin says:

    Alon,

    I’ve written you personally regarding how profound I found this, but I want to restate it publicly as to leave some kind of lasting marker for all time. You really are a very good writer! You’ve managed the nearly impossible task of boiling down your thoughts to the essentials without losing your own personality in the process.

    The creative process is a deep subject, and differentiating the important thing to focus on can be a quest all it’s own. In my own quest to seek the important I’ve come across a few ideas that truly resonated with me. You know a good idea when it gives you an uplifted feeling. It feels like having a weight lifted off your shoulders.

    The poet Rumi said. “You say you can’t create something original? Don’t worry about it. Make a cup of clay so your brother can drink.” To me, the heart of a good idea is doing something that serves others. This makes sense on a moral or ethical perspective as well as a business perspective. Businesses that focus on building simple useful products for real people will ALWAYS find a market.

    But on a personal level, like you pointed out, we are all disruptive. Every interaction we have with other people gets repeated like a ripple in the water. Its been proven again and again, when you are friendly and smile with others, they are more likely to smile and be friendly to others still. In this way one person can have a huge effect on the world by doing something as simple as being friendly. In the end, this might be the most important thing you can do.

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