Maybe we should question mottoes and think of new ones.
Steve Jobs would often say he was “Changing the World.” Google’s founders repeated a motto of “Do No Evil.” Mottos may seem trite, but they form part of the mythology of how we see our roles in our world.
“Changing the World” is a forceful, and frankly arrogant, statement. Corporations can magnify the power of a few leaders, mass production repeats one design, the tools of computers made dominant by companies shape how end users work and play. So yes, an Apple Computer can “Change the World”. But should one company decide how to “change the world”?
“Do no evil” seems to me to be setting the bar a little low. Should we strive to “do no evil” or doing something actively good? While I understand not doing evil may not have been the the goal of the Google’s founders, but rather an gut check that employees should perform on their projects. But it became a motto in the population outside, and a test they are held to by outsiders. It has become part of the myth of purpose put upon Google. And in that, setting not doing evil as a goal seems like a pretty low vision.
So, what could new mottoes be? I would hope that it would reflect values we want to encourage. I would suggest the values of being inclusive, selfless, positive, flexible, respectful, growth oriented could be emphasized. The possibilities suddenly feels wide open.
Maybe I am growing older, but I am finding I maybe I am not the center of the world where I should be trusted to “change the world” even given the opportunity. More of my role is to teach, foster, and reinforce those actions I have found worthwhile.
I imagine all of us have been trying to find these themes in our actions, and guiding ideas. I have no conclusion here, but a puzzle that might be worth thinking about in the car or the shower.
A few nominations to start: “Amplify good” “Path for a Fruitful Life”. Any ideas?