There is a special, productive relationship between evolution and revolution. In preparing for this post I was surprised to find that a number of articles argue the opposite – that revolution and evolution are diametrically opposed. Technocrats, theologians and even anarchists agree that the benefits of evolution contradict the benefits of revolution, and vice versa. Realizing that each person will come to their own conclusions, this post is dedicated to those willing to consider revolutionary evolution as a path to great achievement.
Evolution is defined as, ‘the development of something from a simple to a complex form.’ Evolution is a slow, steady change agent that seeks continual improvement. Consider your daily routine as an example. With each new life change, our daily routines are impacted and we suffer a period of transition: a change of season, a new job, a new child, etc. Few sit down and create a plan to account for the changes. Instead, we trust that a new routine will evolve naturally over time. Evolution is the guarantee that perseverance will yield improvement.
Revolution is defined as, ‘a forcible overthrow in favor of a new system.’ Unlike evolution, revolution is the deliberate choice to pursue something new. When we find ourselves in a situation that we do not want, where we do not thrive, or where we feel confined, we always have the option to revolt. Similarly, if we find a new system that we prefer (new job, new partner, new place) we also have the option to revolt and leave the old behind. Whether expressed as words, actions or both, revolution is the promise of freedom.
The partnership of both concepts together gives us the confidence to persist (evolution) and the freedom to change course (revolution). While conventional thought dictates that we must choose between the two, the greatest success awaits those who can leverage both. Nowhere is this truth more apparent than in goal setting.
Too often, the journey of goal setting is neutered down to simple pass-fail criteria; Meet the goal = pass, Miss the goal = fail. I argue that goal setting is revolutionary evolution at its best! A person makes a New Year’s resolution to lose 30 pounds. During their weight loss routine, they discover a passion for running – EVOLUTION! Their passion connects them to a new group of friends and inspires a new healthy lifestyle – REVOLUTION! One year later, the person’s body has been transformed to support their fitness but they only lost 20 lbs. Pass-fail criteria has no place among great achievements.
In 1968, an engineer named Spencer Silver was ridiculed when he did not meet his goal to create a powerful new adhesive. Despite repeated demonstrations that his new adhesive had value, his career and reputation suffered because others judged his goal to be a failure. Six years later, a colleague named Art Fry attended one of Spencer’s demonstrations and realized the importance of Spencer’s new invention. It was immediately patented and trademarked as The Post-It Note. That ‘failure’ now earns the company 3M $1 billion a year.
Evolution will bring revolution, and revolution lays the foundation for new evolution. Trust your journey and seek out those who recognize the value of your effort. Failure is a simple concept for simple thinking; it does not account for growth, challenge, or impact. Me.Now. has launched a revolution against simple thinking. All are welcome to evolve with us.