Society should not change

Society should not change. It could change. And it is changing.

That’s how the most effective change agents think. “Should” is the language of expectations. And expectation poisons everything.

When we fail to meet our expectations for change quickly enough, we get despondent and even outraged. It’s a proof of an injustice done to us, that the universe is working against us. It gives us an excuse to become cynical and give up.

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When we do meet our expectation for change, the power and significance of our accomplishments are lost on us. We’ve simply realized what ought to have happened in the first place. We miss that we have now created something that has never existed before, that we are pioneers, that we are fucking geniuses. We deny ourselves the vital fuel we need to keep going, to keep driving change.

Change agents see possibility for what could be. From this mindset, we get strategic and effective. We see what could change and what is changing and we press on them hard so that they change more, in the way that we want. When change doesn’t come quick ly enough, we don’t get disheartened, we get curious. What stopped the flow of change? How do we get it unstuck?

The world that should be will never exist. But the world that could be is coming into focus right now.


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Peter Schulte

Peter Schulte is the founder and editor of Kindling. Before Kindling, Peter was Senior Research Associate for the Pacific Institute's Corporate Sustainability Program and the UN Global Compact's CEO Water Mandate, conducting research that supports companies' sustainable water practices. Peter holds a B.S. in Conservation and Resource Studies and a B.A. in Comparative Literature from University of California, Berkeley, and an M.B.A. in Sustainable Systems from Pinchot University. He lives in Bellingham with his partner Sara and cat Winnie.


Kindling is a catalog of humanity's evolution. By showing how humanity has grown consistently more conscious, capable, and connected through time, Kindling sparks possibility for a new, more sustainable, more just, more purposeful way of doing and being.


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