Publisher’s Perspective
Publisher’s Perspective
Publisher’s Perspective
Pragmatic Idealism

Change is eternal, our need to adapt perpetual. Uncertainty and angst are the order of the day. No one is immune, and every person and organization is recalibrating mission and purpose with the urgency of the displaced.

For the past 25 years, I have been an entrepreneur and small business owner navigating the torrent of change and upheaval that defines the technology sector. Simultaneously, like many, my business has been buffeted by the same random, extreme, and unpredictable life forces that have tested us all. Along the away, I learned and adopted an important survival philosophy that has kept me motivated and committed to the positive and the constructive, while preserving my sense of purpose as well as my sanity. I call it pragmatic idealism.

Although the phrase appears paradoxical, I assure you it is not. Instead, the two terms represent complementary components that form a personal navigation system, a philosophical and moral GPS that provides both bearing and destination. The pair serve to keep me on mission when events large and small obscure and/or obstruct the path originally selected. They orient and stabilize the voyage into the future.

Pragmatism is the daily process that instructs the journey. It’s the approach that identifies the most efficient and navigable route and defines the necessary waypoints that guide the stages that lead toward the chosen destination, the ideal. Idealism represents the constant of the pair, the goal. The ideal is what we would aspire to and achieve if our best efforts and highest intentions were realized.

The winds of change are fickle, indifferent, and often fierce. Their force and ephemeral nature frequently blow the less purposeful into unfamiliar waters, only to set them adrift with an abrupt shift direction. Today’s change horizon promises to be both daunting and complex—it is unlikely to disappoint. In response, we must adopt an approach that will act as a personal stabilizer, an outrigger to offset the torrent of disruption ahead. This stabilizer is the pursuit of our ideals.

Our highest aspirations for the future are far less transient. We may become discouraged by life’s unforeseen and unavoidable setbacks, but rarely when we set our sights on the great and daring things we might achieve do these events cause us to become disoriented to the point that we lose our way.

It may sound counterintuitive to commit to the pursuit of a long-term ideal when the present is so unsettled; however, that is exactly what these times demand. This is because the commitment to undertake the audacious provides not only the meaning needed to fuel our daily efforts, but a North Star of consistence amid the chaos.

A noble pursuit is a powerful force. It extends our vision beyond our daily struggles and our desires beyond the immediate. Chasing an ideal not only makes us better, it also makes those around us better by inspiring them to believe in greater possibilities.

Pragmatic idealism has been at the core of STRIVE’s mission since its founding six years ago, its essence imbued within every story shared. Regardless of the cause that initiated their journey, whether inspirational or tragic, each author is an example of the courage and tenacity required to chart a course beyond current circumstance and toward their personal North Star in a quest to create something better. We invite you to join the pursuit.

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Rick Thomas

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