🌎 A preview to the preview

Quinn Emmett
January 6, 2023
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At INI, we help people contextualize the most defining issues of our time, and then take action on them.

We’re even more focused on helping you do that this year (more on that soon), but it’s safe to say you’re probably here because you’ve asked, “What can I do?”

There’s really no bad moment to make like Teddy, take a look around, and go:

Teddy Roosevelt Time to Get Shit Done

And 2023 isn’t an exception.

My annual preview will hit your inbox tomorrow, but before we dive in, let’s re-visit how to frame your thinking.

If there’s any one mantra that sums up my work here and the past few years, it’s “All you can do is all you can do.”

Let’s break that down into two parts:

“All you can do…” — Understand and act on whatever is within your purview. The only way out is through. The obstacle is the way. With great power comes great responsibility. Leave it all on the field. You get the point.

“…is all you can do.” — Let go of the rest. You can do a million things to fight climate change, but you can’t actually control the weather, you know? It is what it is. You can’t be all things to all people. Whatever happens, happens. Come what may. Again, you get the idea.

If you want to be effective, and if you also want to not burn out, it's really really important you understand the difference between these two functions, but also — I can’t do it for you.

As you consider my 2023 preview tomorrow, as you read or listen to the news, as you organize with neighbors, as you conduct your business, make new investments, or talk to your family about home electrification or wastewater or passkeys, you need to make a real effort to identify where you can be truly impactful, and where you can’t.

It usually goes like this:

  1. Find and choose a headline about recent climate impacts, COVID, public health, food, air, water, clean energy, medicine, or something similar. A big-time, "existential", make or break issue.
  2. Imagine a better future. No, even better, for more people.
  3. Now get more specific. What’s better about that issue in your future, in particular? And how?
  4. Take a hard look at the headline again, read the article, and then build a picture of where we are today
  5. Conceptualize the difference between that future and now. Detail it out however you need to.
  6. Take a deep breath and understand getting from one to the other will be a fucking journey
  7. Take a step back and understand that in many areas we’ve actually come a long ass way
  8. Understand that we’re only where we are today because millions of other people have imagined a better future, put in the work, and made those journeys, often because they absolutely fucking had to
  9. Understand that action compounds over time and across people, it's science
  10. Understand compounded action is how we fix that headline
  11. Define your very special set of skills. Are you a doctor? Scientist? Farmer? Senator? Student? Banker? Marketer? VC? Movie producer? Data analyst? Engineer? Are you in advertising? Textiles? HVAC installations? Cleaning products? IT? Nursing?
  12. Find people and organizations already doing the work, preferably ones directly affected by the issue, and ask how you can help.
  13. Identify places where other Shit Givers in your life can contribute
  14. Get to fucking work, and be grateful as hell you are alive today, when, together, we can put the maximum dent in the universe.

If you're ready to go deeper like right now, you can join the INI Membership here.

See you tomorrow.

— Quinn


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