Monday, December 31, 2007

Some thoughts on a new year ....

First of all, let me thank all of you who have made the Long Island Idea Factory site a success beyond anything I'd imagined it could be. We're off to a good start but we have a lot more work to do if any of these ideas are to become a reality.

Secondly, we're entering into an important year as we pick a new President. We'll hear a lot of talk about leadership, legacy and change.

To me, leadership is about ideas and how to work collaboratively to implement those ideas. Leadership is not about "idol worship." Idol worship only makes the population lazy in that we expect our "leaders" to do most of the work for us and, surprise, surprise, we are almost always disappointed in the results.

One of the overriding hopes for our One Long Island series of projects is that we create an environment wherein our leaders play a part in the progress of Long Island, but are not expected to shoulder the whole load. That is an unfair and impracticable burden to place upon anyone in a "representative democracy" and leads to a cycle of disappointment and stagnation.

We all have an important part to play. The key is to play the part at the right time and "in tune." If we can achieve a different and more creative dynamic here on Long Island with all its organizational diversity, there is no reason why our ideas can not be exported to other regions. As we've stated previously, Long Island has some of the best talent on the planet. We just need the tools and mindset to achieve great things.

Legacy is an overused and sometimes embarrassing word. I mean, other than family and close friends, who really cares about an individual legacy? Even then, they look at who you are and how you conduct your life rather than what you've "accomplished."

You live in the moment, plan for the future, continually seek knowledge and do the best job you know how. Metaphorically speaking, to have a pigeon use your statue as a lavatory 100 years from now is sort of irrelevant to the process of making a better life for your fellow Long Islanders. Do good work and move on.

If what you've done has helped in some way, great. That's really all you should expect out of it. Concern about individual legacy often times leads to poor decision-making based upon personal expediency rather than the long term common good.

The dust bin of history is littered with those who thought they would be immortal.

Change comes from good ideas, good organization and collaboration. It is easy to work with someone when you agree with them. It is obviously more difficult to work together when you disagree.

I always make it a point to try to find a way to build bridges with whomever I meet. Believe me, sometimes it would be much easier not to try!

But in the interest of being honest with myself and putting my words into practice, it is essential to make the effort.

So, I hope everyone out there has a happy and healthy New Year. I look forward to continuing the progress we've started and more importantly I look forward to meeting new people with new ideas who want to work collaboratively for a better Long Island and a better America.

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