Hero Gumption: only the first step towards saving the world

I’ve been doing some thinking about societal movements. I’m not the only one – it is a hot topic these days, and there are plenty of people excited or worried about how easily these can start given uber-connectivity. For climate action, there are a few ways I see us making some headway that are illustrated quite nicely by some entertaining youtube vids.

This is a great flash mob video that illustrates  Hero Gumption, or, the drive to do something worthy of your time, when everyone else seems too important, busy, apathetic or just plain unwilling. 

This is about celebrating success. There are plenty of people out there not paying attention to the plastic bottle (emissions) for various reasons, but it sure feels good to celebrate when we see solutions in action. And, it helps to build social norms.

It takes quite a bit to go against the grain: to do something right that takes extra effort when others will not. Because naturally we question our place in society and desire to fit in: our efforts should resemble those in our community.  Likewise, even when we see something odd or unfamiliar, but are surrounded by it, we can’t help but try to fit in.  This video is a classic on how strong this peer influence can be.

Every so often, there comes a real hero. Someone willing to take that crazy leap into the realm of “action beyond traction” – where there is no pull or motive force yet… you are the force! But wait… you cannot be the force alone. This video demonstrates the value of a leader in starting a movement, but more so, the value of of the first follower: the other person who makes it seem like it may be a good idea to follow that first “lone nut”.

The first follower of the lone nut slowly helped to catalyze a movement by visibly reinforcing a behavior. That is the kind of power we see these days with social media as well (e.g. Egypt). And it is an important lesson for all of us who care to make positive and sweeping changes to how our societies derive wellness: we can’t do it alone. 

Partnerships are critical for validating our efforts, good deeds must not go unnoticed, and if enough of us have the gumption, others will want to follow. 

So, the next time you see someone moving in the right direction, be vocal and visible in supporting them… you might just start a movement 🙂

To a new world waiting,



One Response

  1. The second video reminded me ethnomethodology a la Irving Goffman. Keep the gumption coming….one step closer to changing the norms.

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