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!