Here’s an observation – I’ve noticed that those full time “calling out” probably never built anything. Not an institution or a city or a building or a business … I’m not as patient as I once was.
Sometimes listening to critics makes me want to say “get back to me after you’ve tried to build something better.” Because if you ever built anything you know it won’t be perfect – before the ink is dry or the last nail is in, you’re thinking about all that could have been better, or fairer, or more effective, or more innovative or more sustainable. You’ve made all the dreadful and painful choices required if anything is to be accomplished.
The reason builders don’t end up critics and “out-callers” is because we figure the people who built it probably know better than we do what could be better, what great scenes and structures fell to the floor as they steered over and around every obstacle and constraint. Building stuff is humbling. Facing our own limitations and imperfections in order to get stuff done. When you’re done, and looking back, you’re probably toasting with a cocktail of relief, satisfaction and mortification.
Permission to evolve. Allowing ourselves to be right and wrong, on track and off, iterate and practice – there’s really no other way to improve how we build…I fear sometimes we are falling into a culture of critics and commenters because it’s somehow safer to be there. If you never build anything you won’t ever have to face flaws and limitations.
Critics – just flying over the landscape like a drone pointing out flaws and injustices – firing away at those below from a safe distance. Risking nothing.
I wrote this for all the people taking risks, trying to build something better, more innovative, more just – and for myself – toasting.
Photo by Hayley Seibel on Unsplash