This is a sensible phrase to cover a sensible strategy.
Go your own way.
Do your own thing.
Carve out a little niche in the complex world and then be happy and content in that niche.
Being worried about the rest of the world is too futile and too difficult a task.
Let those who are motivated to change the world work on that task.
The world will always last long enough to see out your lifetime.
I am not going to disagree with this point of view but to side-step it in order to write for those who know that they are inseparably part of the world in which they live: their own internal world, the local community world and the world at large.
Let the others munch contentedly like cows in the field—happy that there is grass today.
My concern has always been with human thinking because this seems to me to play so central a role in human happiness and development both from moment to moment and also over the longer term.
I believe that we have done relatively little about thinking but have been content with a fluency of argument and the ability to attack and defend positions.
This sort of thinking unfortunately lacks the creative, constructive and design energies that we really need in order to go forward.
Indeed, our absurd emphasis on negativity seriously impedes such progress.
This particular book is not, however, about thinking habits and methods.
This book is about the fundamental background and setting in which we would use our thinking skills.
If we are disposed to be negative then our thinking skills will help us to be negative.
If we are disposed to be positive then our thinking skills will take us in that direction.
This is more than a moment to moment emotional bias—it is the fundamental attitude of our being.
There are far too many people who believe that natural evolution controlled by critical negativity will form the ideas that we need—just as Darwinian evolution perfected a variety of life forms.
This is a dangerous fallacy.
Evolution is very slow, very messy, very wasteful and is incapable of making the best use of available resources.
Inadequate—but not disastrous—ideas and institutions will survive, perfect and defend themselves thus preventing the more effective use of resources.
That has always been the logical basis for revolution.
This book is intended for those who see this logical need.
There is a useful place for negativity in changing values: in providing shaping pressures; in curbing excesses; in removing defects in order to improve an idea; and in forming the conscience of society.
But the constructive and creative energies have to be there in order to get the steady, step by step progress that is the basis of the positive revolution.
How we generate these constructive energies is what the positive revolution is about.
In order to make concrete the values of the positive revolution we need to name categories of behaviour.
Once we have these named categories we can talk about them and think about them.
We can set up nine categories of behaviour.
People who show a certain type of behaviour can be perceived as being in one of these categories.
There are four positive, four negative and one neutral category.
CATEGORY ONE: Behaviour that is constructive but also very effective.
The effective part is very important.
A person who is a leader and organizer.
Taken all together this is a person who can make things happen in a positive and constructive way.
Because of these qualities this is a person who contributes.
If a person has all these qualities but is not in a position to contribute at this moment, we might say 'potential category one'.
Find "contribution" in What do you want to be remembered for?
CATEGORY TWO: This is a person who is actually contributing a great deal at this moment.
Such a person may have none of the qualities of category one but nevertheless is contributing.
For example, a rich man who has inherited money may give a lot of money to help the poor.
A talented artist may use his or her talents to contribute to society.
A famous sports star may use his or her talents to contribute.
The contribution is great but the qualities of category one are not present.
CATEGORY THREE: This is someone who is hardworking, cooperative, helpful and also effective.
The difference between category one and category three is that in category one there are also the qualities of leadership, organizing ability and constructive initiative.
Someone in category three might be very good in a project team or when the task has been defined for him or her.
CATEGORY FOUR: This person is positive, agreeable, pleasant and cheerful.
This person does the job he or she is doing just well enough.
This person is nice to have around but is not very effective.
CATEGORY FIVE: Behaviour that is neutral, behaviour that is passive.
You cannot say anything positive about this person but you cannot say anything negative either.
A person who is apathetic and content to drift from moment to moment with no sense of involvement and no sense of control over destiny.
This is the neutral category.
CATEGORY SIX: This behaviour is critical, negative and destructive.
The person may be highly intelligent but uses that intelligence not to build but to destroy.
In a group this person does not make proposals but attacks the proposals of others.
In attitude this person may be gloomy or depressed or may not.
Some negative people enjoy being negative so much that they are not gloomy.
Category six people still believe that negativity is the best way towards progress.
CATEGORY SEVEN: Behaviour that is totally selfish.
Behaviour that is exploitative or corrupt.
There is a wide range of behaviour from simple selfishness to extreme corruption.
This person is not seeking to hurt others and may be within the law.
The characteristic of category seven behaviour is that it is totally selfish.
Category seven behaviour is the exact opposite of contribution.
CATEGORY EIGHT: This is the behaviour of the bully.
This is the behaviour of the person who seeks to get what he or she wants by demanding it from others.
The category eight person uses force to get his or her own way.
Both category seven and category eight people may be exploiters but in the case of category eight it is a deliberate exploitation of other people and the use of force to achieve that.
CATEGORY NINE: This is the behaviour of the outlaw.
This is the behaviour of the person who has no respect at all for other people or the rights of other people.
This is the criminal who has no conscience and no morals.
This is the sort of person who would murder for a small sum of money.
Note that category eight people may acknowledge the rights of others but are capable of infringing those rights from time to time.
Category nine people acknowledge no rights at all except their own intentions.
In time there may arise a name for each category.
For example the behaviour of category seven is parasitic so we might call such people 'cockroaches'.
The behaviour of category six is to draw their energy from others so we might call them 'ticks' or 'leeches' that live on the blood they suck.
There could be competitions for people to find the best names for these categories.
We can use the categories right away without special names.
'He's a category four person.
He is nice enough but he won't get anything done.'
'He is not really category one.
He does contribute but that is because of his position, not his constructive energy.
He is more category two—but that is very valuable.'
'I have heard that he is definitely category seven so we shall have to keep an eye on him.'
'You would not think so to look at her, she is so small and frail, but she is definitely category one.'
'We need to find a lot more category three people in order to get this project moving.
We are not short of ideas but we need action.'
'Don't invite her—she is pure category six.'
Once the categories are there we can use them to praise and reward behaviour.
We can use them to encourage behaviour because if someone knows that he or she is regarded as being in a certain category then that person will try to live up to a good image.
We can use the categories to blame people and to point out to them their failings.
We can use the categories to let people know what other people feel about them.
We can use the categories to encourage people to try to move upwards out of the category in which they are placed.
In moving upwards you do not have to move only to the category above.
For example, a category six person could jump to category three immediately.
The categories provide a language in which the members of the positive revolution can value the behaviour of other people.
It is important to make clear that the person is not locked into the category for ever.
These are categories of behaviour, not of character.
So we should really say: 'You behave like a category six person.'
There is always the option of change.
If a person shows no inclination to change then we perceive that person as within his or her category and treat that person accordingly.
By virtue of their positions teachers, doctors and journalists could be category two people because they are in a position to make significant contributions.
But a teacher may be category four or even category five.
Many journalists are category six.
The heroes and villains of the positive revolution are defined according to the values of the categories.
So people who are selfish are villains.
People who are constructive and effective are heroes.
The vices and virtues of the positive revolution are also defined by the categories taken together with the basic principles.
Being negative is a vice, so is being passive and apathetic (even though this is neutral on the category list).
Being effective is a virtue.
Being positive is a virtue but not as high a virtue as being positive and also effective.
A person need not be entirely within a category.
For example, you might say: 'Sometimes he shows category eight behaviour.' In this way the categories also become adjectives.
Could there be more categories?
Yes, and in time there may be.
For the moment it is enough to become familiar with nine.
There is a need for new words to describe particular situations so that we can perceive these situations more easily and refer to them more readily.
The examples given here are only an indication of what is needed.
'I don't like you and you don't like me and we disagree on most things but it is in both our interests that we work together effectively on this matter.'
We need a single word to cover the pragmatism of this arrangement.
We need a word to bridge the friend / enemy division given us by normal perception and language.
In English we might just say 'frenemy' by combining friend and enemy.
'In this situation any sensible politician would have to make these necessary public noises.
They do not mean anything but are full of the right sounds.'
We need a single word which acknowledges the necessity for certain political noises.
Such a word would make it easier to distinguish between serious political statements and routine noise.
We might say 'n.p.n.' for necessary public noises.
'Knowing what to do is not enough.
There is a skill in designing how something can be done and in carrying it out.
There is a skill in making something happen.'
Some time ago I invented the word 'operacy' to cover the specific skill of doing.