Posted & filed under Blog

The Labor Day Manifesto Of the Passionate Creative Worker by John Hagel

This inspiring, visionary post is reblogged from John Hagel’s  website “Edge Perspectives with John Hagel”:  This is a concise introduction to what he and John Seely Brown call “edge thinking” and “the power of pull” (check out their book of the same title):



[Three years ago today I posted A Labor Day Manifesto for a New World. In classic Hagelian fashion it was long and complicated.  With the help of a few edge collaborators (Christopher Gong, Sarah Scharf and John Seely Brown), we’ve managed to simplify the Manifesto into some powerful imperatives that can and should guide our daily lives.  On this important day, let us reflect on what we each can do to make our work more meaningful and have greater impact. These are indeed exciting times, full of promise and potential. Let’s seize the day.]

* * *

We are living in a modern renaissance. Like the printing press during its time, our new tools have the capacity to spread knowledge faster and farther ever before, resulting in an unparalleled and ever increasing rate of progress and change. As we consider the free information and universal connectivity that is now available, we are struck by the potential that each individual has to impact the world. And as we reflect on our past progress and the opportunities still ahead, we recognize that the most valuable resource we have is the human creativity and ingenuity innate in every person.

On this Labor Day, we celebrate the passionate and dedicated individuals in all fields who have both led us to where we are now, and are creating and shaping the future. They are explorers, pushing back the limits of our current understanding. They pioneer new ideas, discover new truths, and tirelessly innovate. They actively seek out new challenges and connect broadly with others to solve them. Though they come from every occupation and background, they are unified by the sincere belief that they can leave the world a better place than they found it.

To commemorate Labor Day, we think of those who inspire us through their example, and rededicate ourselves to living life passionately. We strive to:

1. Live our lives, and not someone else’s. We are the arbiters of meaning in our own lives; no one else, no matter how wise, rich, or well intentioned, can decide how we should spend our lives. Our passions serve as our compass as we seek out that which is beautiful, enriching, and meaningful to build our lives and the future.

2. Blaze new trails. There is no established path to greatness; we will need to step off the well-trodden trail and blaze our own. We commit to diligently exploring and creating new ideas, perspectives, methods, relationships, etc. We challenge the status quo, and in turn, seek out things that challenge us.

3. Prioritize learning over efficiency. We are focused on trajectories that lead us toward excellence and progress. We know that to reach our highest potential, we must never compromise growth for short term efficiencies, and we support others on their own learning paths. Mistakes, while the enemy of efficiency, are the fuel for learning.

4. Share knowledge freely. As we find better ways to share and exchange knowledge, each new discovery we make individually has the potential to benefit everyone collectively. We see each person’s enormous potential to contribute to our global knowledge base, and we are committed to moving from a zero sum mentality to one of collaboration and increasing returns.

5. Recognize that institutions exist to serve people.  We don’t exist for institutions, they exist for us. We create and participate in them to cultivate and pursue our passions and to develop more rapidly than we can on our own. We expect those we charge with leading our institutions to do everything possible to foster the growth of those they serve.

6. Quit jobs that we hate. There are too many interesting things to do in this life to waste time on things that don’t matter. In a time when jobs are in short supply for many, those of us who have jobs may be tempted to hold on to them because we have become comfortable with a certain lifestyle. We pledge to give up the corner office, fancy car or anything else of little consequence that may be holding us back from pursuing our passions.

7. Escape the trap of wasting time by being busy. Being overscheduled, even with the best things, will cause us to miss the important things that can’t be planned, and will rob us of the most valuable opportunities of our lives. In a world with so many meaningful things to do, we strive to master the delicate art of deciding what’s not most important to us and letting them go.

8. Live life for the adventure. Life is as amazing as we make it. When considering different opportunities, we ask, “When I look back in five years, which of these options will make the better story,” because no one ever regrets taking the path that leads to the better story.

9. Stay on the edge. The people who change the world are out at the edge of their field, pushing back the boundaries of the unknown. Though exhausting and sometimes risky, that is where we belong. Over and over we have found that the edge is not a cliff, but a fertile field awaiting our exploration.

10. Continually reinvent ourselves. We know that passion is the key to personal growth; it compels us to take risks, overcome fears, and attempt things never done before. And as a result, passion transforms the passionate. Only as we continually reinvent ourselves can we start to discover and reach our full potential.

11. Never settle. Never. Ever. Not even once.

We all have the potential to become passionate creative workers.  Let us join forces and help each other along the way to become better, far better, than we ever could alone. And, let’s have a hell of a time along the way.

* * *

If this Manifesto speaks to you, we ask that you become a “signatory” by indicating your support in the comment section below.  We’re in the process of creating an online gathering spot for those who share these convictions. Let’s join forces.

Leave a Reply

(will not be published)
Cathy N. Davidson

Cathy N. Davidson

Follow Cathy