As usual, the most interesting comments on my subject came not from me but from you.
From Chris: In reference to volunteerism, I, too, have no illusions about achieving the sort of social relevance of a Ben Franklin. But I have pursued volunteerism for the past 18 years at an average of perhaps 5-7 hours per week in a manner most probably atypical.
I have found that good intentions are not enough to maintain long-term efforts. The persistent assaults of irritation, inconvenience and other demands on one’s time eventually overwhelm motivation based only in good intentions. There needs to be something more.
A local university has a program for undergraduates to learn about small satellite design and construction from local volunteer mentors-from-industry who come in and donate their time. The time is spent doing something the mentors find interesting and rewarding from a “techie” perspective, and simultaneously passing along knowledge kids could never receive from academe alone. I helped found the program and have stayed with it since. Thus far, we’ve managed to get two of the satellites launched, and one is still operating in orbit.
When I mention this to folks, I often see a double-take and then a smile. They will usually say something like “I’ve always thought of volunteer work as spending hours ladling soup at a homeless shelter. I never thought of it as rocket science.”
It can be anything. But if you want it to be long-term, don’t rely on just your nobility. Pick something that will keep you coming back even on days you feel less than noble.
And this from Travis Wilson: “The real trick, especially among those of us with yet a long way to go, is finding a way to get rich usefully.”
Quote of the Day
The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.~H. L. Mencken
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