What's Your Cause?

Last week, I attended the TED Conference. If you don’t know about TED, I’ve written several posts in the past (here’s the most recent). While making my way home, I reviewed my notes from over 100 speakers and was struck by the diversity of causes addressed over the course of the conference.

Here’s a sampling…

  • Sugata Mitra wants education reform. He says, “Schools are not broken, they are obsolete.” His ideas won him the 2013 TED Prize of $1 million.
  • Alastair Parvin shared his vision for open source architecture as a way of serving the world.
  • Bono talked about eliminating extreme poverty from the planet in our lifetime.
  • Taylor Wilson – the kid who built a nuclear reactor in his garage at age 14, now 18 and about to graduate high school, shared his plans for American energy independence.
  • Stewart Brand wants to bring extinct animals back to life. The Woolly Mammoth is on his list – think Jurassic Park.
  • Allan Savory has found a way to stop global erosion – he calls the process desertification.
  • Alex Laskey has discovered an ultra-low cost way to cut consumer energy consumption by 20% - peer pressure.
  • Ben Affleck gave a challenge to assist the people in the Congo.

Not all causes were philanthropic, but they were causes nonetheless…

  • Elon Musk dreams of interplanetary communities – one of his companies is working to build the rockets to take us there.
  • Peter Gabriel and friends, want to create an interspecies Internet. Yes – Internet for animals.
  • There were scores of scientists there too. I had dinner with Dr. Jimmy Lin – his mission is simple... eradicate all 7,000 known rare diseases!

What’s the point of this recap? As I looked back over the presentations, I began to think about what each of these causes had in common. My answer - a passionate champion.
What idea are you passionate about? What cause are you championing? Your answer may be found in your career and maybe not. Howard Hendricks said:
“Your career is what you’re paid to do, your calling is what you were made to do.”
What is your calling? What were you made to do? What's stopping you from doing it? Where are you investing your leadership horsepower? When you and I are gone, what cause do we want to have advanced?[GLS_Shield]
What’s your cause?

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Doug Smith

10 years ago

What a great question. I know as a twenty something, it's very easy to be passionate about every cause. However, as time passes by, I find myself narrowing my focus. I am anxious to see what causes I end up investing all of my leadership horsepower in. Thanks for giving me something to think deeply about.

Timothy Lynn Burchfield

10 years ago

I’m jealous. I plan on watching all of their talks.
Did you give one?

Lolly Daskal

10 years ago

I simply loved your post.
You are so right. What I do for a living allows me to support my calling.
My calling is HOMELESSNESS to make sure that every single person on our planet has a home and shelter and food to eat.
Maslow knew the importance of the essentials. And my calling is to help, assist, empower, donate, support what I can to make a difference.
Mark thanks for sharing. I can see it was a fantastic week at TED.
Lolly Daskal
Lead From Within


10 years ago

Thanks, Lolly for taking time to comment and share your calling! Is there a specific homeless ministry/shelter you support? I'm sure folks would want to know.

Great Leaders Serve – What’s Your Cause? | Moving beyond the sustainable green

10 years ago

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James Marland

10 years ago

Can you imagine a world where there are no children on waiting lists for a mentor because people of faith wake up, step up, and show up for the fatherless? My dream is that prisons, psychiatric hospitals, and homeless shelters will need to reduce staff because my generation chose to care enough to get involved.
I champion the cause of guiding the next generation: People of faith guiding children of promise through mentoring. Right now I am trying to link a small church with an After School Program. I hope this pilot program will lead into growth into other churches. I am also an intern with The Mentoring Project https://twitter.com/tmproject (shameless plug, I know, but what else is a champion to do?) and I have a small blog on supporting the Mentoring Generation http://mentorgeneration.wordpress.com/ (shameless).
Thanks for this great post that got me thinking about what I am championing!


10 years ago

James, thanks for sharing your dream! I agree, mentoring can play a HUGE role in the success of the next generation. Thanks for making a difference. Please let me know how I can serve you in the future.


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