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  • Writer's pictureRichard Plumpton | ii |

Why Do Some People Obsess About Utopia?

 [Image: Utopia – Life in the Year 2100 | © Greg School]

When it comes to societal change, my philosophy is a pretty straightforward one. Work out roughly what change you want to see and how you want to it happen, then just get started.

I've seen too many over-complex plans and theories of change that look to manage every detail before even getting to the start line. Plans that invariably never get anywhere near their lofty, world-changing goals.

Change is hard, messy and requires a rustic mix of ideas, hard work and luck to make reality. Trying to define and then aim for utopia is a fool's game when it comes to trying to make the world a little bit better, yet I keep seeing people and organisations following this approach, and making very little progress, very slowly.

I'm all for terrifying ambition and boundless optimism when planning change, but I'm also all about making sure you take the first step as quickly as possible.

That roadmap you create on a scrap of paper on day 1 might look beautiful by the time you've workshopped and re-drafted it countless times by day 200, but it doesn't really have any greater chance of success than if you'd just started moving on day 2.

Set a rough direction, start heading that way, and then expect to course correct countless times as the path unfolds.

Because the very act of setting out will see you meet others on the path. People who will bring ideas that take you a slightly different way than you thought was best. Who will help you get around and over the bumps that always need to be got around and over. Who will help you see a vision that you couldn't quite bring into focus before. Who will push you to go further, faster than you ever intended to go.

That's not to say you can't create utopia at the end of it all. Just that utopia isn't really somewhere you build brick by brick to a blueprint, but rather somewhere you stumble upon along the journey and only realise where you are after you're halfway out the other side.


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