World Domination and Other Extracurricular Activities
I think it may take some time to fully digest this weekend. #WDS2013— Trev Harmon (@trev_harmon) July 8, 2013
If you happen to follow my Twitter feed, this last weekend you would have noticed a large number of posts tagged with #WDS2013. While you may be tempted to think I was at the World Dog Show, you would be incorrect. That WDS was actually held back in May in Budapest, Hungary (though I was in Budapest a few weeks before it did happen‚€“but, that‚€™s a different story). As Chris Guillebeau put it in one of the opening sessions, they kindly moved their show out of our way.
As much as I love dogs, I don‚€™t think they would have moved me in quite the same way. I was at the World Domination Summit.
What‚€™s all this about world domination?
Just because attendees are known as an army and we have our own ambassadors, it doesn‚€™t mean we are trying to take over the world‚€¶
Not one little bit?
Nope, not one little bit‚€¶ well‚€¶ er‚€¶ maybe, just a bit‚€¶ a small, tiny bit.
Really, it‚€™s all about ideas. Explaining what WDS is to someone who hasn‚€™t every gone is a bit difficult. Actually, it‚€™s pretty darn near impossible. The reason for this difficulty springs from the fact everyone gets something different from the event. Traveling the world attending trade shows, I don‚€™t think I‚€™ve ever met such a disparate group of individuals who naturally form such a cohesive group for an event.
People come together to share, trade and cherish different ideas, or should I say dreams. They learn of each others and encourage and support each other in the attainment thereof. Some of the dreams were small. Some of them big‚€“destined to change the world. But, size doesn‚€™t matter. What does matter is seeing them through to fruition. So, if there is going to be any world domination going on here, it‚€™s going to be accomplished through the dreams. The dreams and ideas will then rule the world, not the people who spawned them.
Now, I‚€™m not going to try and capture or encapsulate the weekend and all of the ancillary meet-ups and events. Others have done so, and Mike Rohde‚€˜s Sketchnotes are a fantastic way to see the highlights of the general sessions. Instead, let‚€™s look at WDS‚€™s core values:
Whether it is Switzerland‚€™s Unus pro omnibus, omnes pro uno, Dumas‚€˜ ‚€œAll for one and one for all, united we stand divided we fall‚€ or Ubuntu, the message is all the same: community matters. In fact, we each several different ‚€œcommunities‚€ of which we are a part. We have a family, a neighborhood, a city, a nation, a workplace, a globe and all of the online communities with which we interact. Like thrown-pebble ripples in a still pond, what we do, in some small (or big) way, effects everyone else. The effects will propagate themselves.
One generation plants the trees, and another gets the shade.
So, our individual and group actions matter today and in the future. One of the best things we can do is to build our communities. Communities are built one person at a time, through the nourishment and attention to the relationship.
One thing I really found amazing about WDS was first of all the number of attendee-created/managed meet-ups. Even though the official summit was only part of Friday and all day Saturday and Sunday, the first unofficial meet-up was early Thursday morning and the last wasn‚€™t until Tuesday afternoon. In the interim, they were pretty much constant. There‚€™s a good reason there was a Highly-Sensitive Person Lounge.
Basically, WDS attendees form a community, as well, whether it is through breaking a world record together or simply by supporting one another in the attempt to make all the other communities to which we belong better.
Nothing quite sums it up as well as Jen Lee‚€˜s quote in her documentary Indie Kindred that had its first public screening at WDS: ‚€œDo it yourself doesn‚€™t mean do it alone.‚€
A support group based on friendship and love is necessary to do great things.
Living a remarkable life, is one of the goals of all those who attend WDS. Exactly how that is defined is left up to the individual, but many times it involves adventure in its purist forms. One thing one notices at WDS is there are a number of ‚€œsub-cultures‚€ for lack of a better term, as mentioned before. For example, one such sub-group is the Nomads. Just as in days of yore, these modern day nomads roam the planet search for‚€¶ well, whatever it is they are searching for. The wanderlust drives them onward, and we all benefit from their stories, like the true-story movie Janapar that was screened this year.
Now, some of the adventures discussed were grand, epic even. Others were simple, local and intimate. Adventure is about getting outside of one‚€™s self, one‚€™s comfort zone. It is about growth and progress. It is about coming to better understand the world and people around us. One of my favorite travel quotes of all time is by Mark Twain. Granted, it is specifically about travel, but there are many ways in which it can be applied.
Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one‚€™s lifetime.
Finally we get to service, which, in many ways grows out of Community. If we care about our community, whether it is the local city or the world at large, there is a desire to help. This service may be in big group projects or simply through random acts of kindness.
So, for this one, I simply invite you to ask yourself the following question each night before retiring to a sleepy repose: have I done any good in the world today?
Answering ‚€œYes‚€ to that question is a key to both a happy and a remarkable life.
At this point, I‚€™ve probably rambled on a bit too long about what WDS is, while providing comparably little of what happened there this year (though you may certainly disagree, dear reader). As I said at the beginning of the post in my tweet, in many ways I‚€™m still trying to process my first experience at WDS. In the coming days, I‚€™m sure a number of the articles here will reflect things I learned, people I met and projects I discovered. The World Domination Summit really touches on the purpose (and name) of this blog: Dream ‚€“ Learn ‚€“ Discover.
One final quote from our friend, Mark Twain:
Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn‚€™t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.
All of the pictures in this post were kindly provided under Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial license. A very special thank you to Chris Guillebeau and volunteers for a great extended weekend.
You can see the whole photo stream at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/chrisguillebeau/sets/72157634510088202/