Be Interesting (this may require ridiculousness)

By writing these words (technically, about 40 words from now) I’m contradicting one of my most important career messages, which is: be more interested than interesting. For the record, it can also look like this: interesting interested.

The message about showing interest still stands – because people should always try to impress others by knowing the most about them, not by showing off self-congratulating coolness – however, Friend of the Blog (FOB), David Singh, recently shared an Inc.com article by Jeff Haden called “The Six Habits of Truly Memorable People” and, well, the author made a compelling case for having fun and living a richer, fuller and more exciting life by being interesting.

Here are Haden’s six steps:

  1. Don’t see. Do.
  2. Do something unusual.
  3. Embark on a worthless mission.
  4. Embrace a cause.
  5. Let others spread the word.
  6. Get over yourself.

The last two points were what sold me. One becomes memorable – if not a legend – by collecting stories so compelling that others spread the word on your behalf. Which is what I will do right now for another FOB, Zac Whyte, whose Road to Sparta campaign represents a story worth telling about an unusual character bent on ridiculousness (re: causes/missions) who has clearly gotten over himself. Zac, like so many members of our Get to Know Your Community, um, community, have stories worth spreading and I encourage you to share his within the Twitterverse with some clever Facebookery.

Zac Whyte / Day 66 on The Road to Sparta

I’ll wrap it up with a gem of a closer by Haden – here’s all you need to know about why being memorable transcends resumes, value propositions, and even perfection to build and sustain powerful relationships:

Personally and professionally, you feel compelled to maintain your all-knowing, all-achieving, all conquering image.

And you’re not a person. You’re a resume.

Stop trying to seem perfect. Accept your faults. Make mistakes. Hang yourself out there. Try and fail.

Then be gracious when you fail.

Remember, you are a person. Whether for personal or professional reasons, you build relationships with people to make change. And people like stories. So make sure that yours are interesting ones.

Thanks to the good people at zacwhyte.com (Zac is the best people) for sharing the photos – send Zac some encouragement as he embarks on the Road to Sparta.

Zac Whyte – Teaching the World to HEAL

Who are you?

I’m a professional multimedia producer, storyteller, and activist. I spend my days in schools, colleges and universities educating people about current events, environmental and global development issues. I’m a domestic daddy giant interested in connecting with inspired people and businesses who aren’t afraid to wear it on their sleeve and do their part to develop a more compassionate world.

What do you do for fun?

Although I’m psycho busy with work, school and my family life it’s all fun – everything is fun. I design and implement holistic non-profit initiatives that engage all ages of my community and help people or attack issues that resonate with me or are deemed “impossible” by the general public. I have a new project in pre-production called The HEAL Project that supports Romeo Dallaire’s Child Soldiers Initiative and War Child. This project goes from May 2011 to February 2012 and if everything lines up and I do my job well – it’s going to be big. I engage all of my strengths in developing and leading awareness/fundraising projects and I can’t think of anything more fulfilling than watching people come together and make our world a better place. I also love travelling, taking pictures and acquiring knowledge or creatively presenting things I’m inspired by. If I’m looking for cheap thrills I socialize on Facebook or write blogs that are colloquial, and about half as sexy as anything on the Daily Gumboot – that is catharsis right there.

What is your favorite community?

Earth – there is no other community quite as beautifully twisted or self absorbed as the people on earth. More specifically, I love my fellow media production junkies, John Stewart types and idealists. I thrive on the feeling you get when people understand your jargon and the basis of your assertions before you open your mouth. You can get more accomplished in less time so can use the extra hours to kick back, play guitar and drink some Nelson Paddywhacks or Greg Norman Cab together.

What is your superpower?

Compounding energy. I’m an extroverted hypomanic ENTJ. I get my juice from ideas, people or both so when I get up in the morning I’m groggy but throughout the day I build energy. This superpower helps me connect with people in groups and pushes my mind and body to their potential. Coffee and sugar are not good for my powers.

How do you use it to build community?

When it comes to directing world scale change in a relatively short amount of time you need a good amount of sustainable energy. Being a family man and working on initiatives like The HEAL Project are my life’s purpose and I have all my energy available for those things. I’m thankful to have a gift that connects me with so many amazing people who want to achieve their own enlightened journey through the work we do together. You can never have too many friends so count me as one of them.

My Three Favourite Things About Zac are…

1. He’s of Good Island Stock. My friend Zac lives in the town of Courtenay on Vancouver Island. Good people come from this place, as it is a model of community-building-awesomeness. The Island also exports compound energy to the world through people like Zac Whyte. And it’s a beautiful thing when Zac takes his island mentality on the road and shares his values, energy, ideas, and big hugs with the global community.

2. Digital Innovation. One need only check out these hot links to get a sense of Zac’s impact in, on, around, over, and beyond the Internets. There’s his supercool website. The HEAL Project. Warchild.ca. And Child Soldiers Initiative. I love how Zac has taken his refined technical toolkit and transformed said skills into powerful means of changing the world one classroom at a time. His stuff is ambitious, touching, and very edutaining. Follow him on Twitter, Like him on Facebook, and enagage his blog.

3. Collaboratively Cool. People love working with Zac because he’s really, really nice and a really, really fun to work with. If you haven’t already, look him up and see what he can do to help your cause, sure – but also check out what you can do to help him and the people whose lives he is changing for good.

Special Bonus Favourite Thing!

TEDx Isfeld. “Facing the Fear of my Success” is the title of Zac’s TED Talk in the Comox Valley. If you live on the island be sure to check it out, as it promises to be a life changing presentation by one of my favourite people out there making positive things happen in the from local to global community. Good luck, Zac!

Guest Shot: Zac Whyte Talks Water and Rights

Editor’s Note: Zac Whyte (www.zacwhyte.com) is a gentleman and a scholar. He also wrote a fantastically scathing piece about Canada’s recent stance-taking around water, specifically how it is not a human right. And, being a good pirate, I have stolen Zac’s article and posted it here. Also, fun fact about water and bottled water sucking: Bishop’s University is the first university in Quebec to ban the selling of bottled water on campus. Yet another reason why Kurt and my alma mater is a leader of tomorrow, no matter what McLean’s says! But I digress. On to you, Zac.

If you’ve ever been stuck somewhere without access to clean, fresh water than you know what it feels like for over 1.5 billion people on the planet every single day. I’ve been thirsty plenty of times but I’ve only faced the feeling of dangerous desperation for water once in my life. That’s because when it comes to water, Canada is the king. Our country has about 7% of the world’s renewable fresh water and it only represents about 0.5% of the world’s population. We’ve collectively done our best to burn through oil, wipe out forests and fill our oceans with plastic but the future holds some big decisions for Canada that we’re going to need to think about. The world is looking at us with parched smiles of helplessness as desertification and drought sweep over lands where forests use to stand, pollution fills streams that were once laden with fish, and aquifers that supply entire cities are running dry. Yes, as Canadians we have some questions to answer. As a human, how much do I matter? As humans, how much do humans matter?

The bottled water industry in North America is a festering tumor. I watch people pass taps and buy water out of vending machines. They crack the Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) lid, massage the Polyethylene label with their thumb and take a big swig of water that has traveled 3000km by truck before it even hit’s their lips. They don’t even give the cleaner, tastier water flowing for free out of the bathroom tap a synapse of thought. Here’s the bizarre part. There is a successful water bottling plant about 20km from my house that uses the same water we drink out of our taps for the water it sends in bottles to China. Now, have you ever asked yourself what way the toilet flushes on the equator? Well it spins any way you want depending on the design of the toilet but right now our planet is the turd that is about to go down the hole sideways. We built this consumer based toilet and sure as shit we better stop flushing it.

As long as the United States holds the highest per capita water use record in the world and Las Vegas exists, I doubt Canadians will take my questions seriously. If you asked Canadians if they would be ok selling water for the fountains in Vegas for $8 a Liter, and I’m playing Prime Minister here, we’d say “hell ya, fleece the bastards.” But what if it wasn’t fountains that we were filling and it was water for people who were literally dieing of thirst on our doorsteps? Would we sell it then, or would we share it willingly? I would hope, as a Canadian, as a human, that we would share our water. The people on our doorstep have a natural right to water – as humans our bodies are made of it.

In 2009 I was in Kampala, Uganda without water for an entire day because the taps ran dry and the stores sold out of bottled water before 10am. I started to feel what being outside of Canada really meant. After $15 in cabs, hours of driving to stores and shelling out big bucks on the black market to get 3 Liters of bottled water, things really hit home for me. If I just paid $8 a Liter for water, what are the rest of the people in the city doing? They are averaging about $2 a day or about 250 milliliters of water before rent, clothes and food costs for their entire family. Privatization of water did this and it happens all of the time in the developing world.

As Canadians we need to start respecting our taps. There’s good water coming out of them for now but if we forget about protecting our stainless – we will lose it. I’m not talking about pollution or rusty pipes, I’m talking about corporate interests buying it up from our (that’s us) government. This is a serious reality that we will need to face as a country and we need to figure it out before it just slips on an election banana peel and plugs the pipes for good.

“There are some things we should consider,” our government will say. “We need to protect our water and keep it as perfect and pristine and clear as it was when it fell from the sky and melted off our almost extinct glaciers. The only way we can afford to do this is by creating a division of Environment Canada called Canadian Water and we’ll sell shares to the Canadian people, and other people too, that aren’t Canadian but should be.” And on it will go. I already own the most precious shares that Canada could ever offer me. It’s called a VOTE and it gives me the rights I was born with in this country. You want to give me a share worth $2 a Liter and sell me water for $8 a Litre? I don’t think so punk.

If you believe that water is a human right that all Canadians deserve – great – drink tap and vote. If you believe water is a human right for all human beings around the world even if we will have a little less for ourselves – amazing, you are a champion of human rights – drink tap and vote. If you are thinking of having kids, growing old and sitting in your rocking chair long from now with a glass of ice cold, perfect tap water – you are a leader – cheers, let’s go vote.

- Zac Whyte