umair haque – betterness


[need to clean this up.. will soon]

mediocre vs breathtaking
status quo vs brilliance

living lives that matter in human terms.

we’ve been measuring the wrong things.. no?
Why is the generally accepted definition of prosperity the growth of industrial output, not the emotional, social, intellectual, physical, or ethical growth ofhumans?

grazie Umair – perfect timing.. was hoping for a succinct invite/summary of your book –betterness [$2.69 on kindle, kindle app free] –
and here it is – in your july 4 post on beingradical.


book links to amazon


recent post: wanting meaningful work is not a first world problem

and how_to_create_your_reason

 a reason is not a corporate mission statement (“To leverage my educational assets and optimize my career path!!”): it is the very opposite: a radically simple statement of why your life matters enough to you to fully, dangerously live it…past the edge.

The point here is not to create arbitrary divisions between which reasons are valid and which are lacking. The point is to start asking yourself, really: what is your reason?

Reason is rebellion. It is through the creation of reasons to live fully that we rebel — and ignite lives worth living, instead of merely resigning ourselves to those that feel as if they aren’t.

And that is what a life that feels burstingly whole, achingly full, timelessly true, is really all about: the power to love.


ramblings from us – because of Umair’s inspiration:

what i’m experiencing, is these incredible one-on-one convos with people.. and in essence, what they all keep asking is.. is it legal for me to think for myself? 
this is huge.. but i don’t think it’s about getting more people to out right ask that.. it’s about helping people realize – that that is the question they are already asking.. if they just listen to themselves.

if people would realize that.. that the (one of the) question(s) is – is it legal for me to think for myself, talk to myself…
their gut will see how ridiculous it is… where have we come to that we need even ask that.

i believe that realization will create the boldness – the radicalness – needed for this quiet revolution.

by the way.. i’m thinking.. that most kids get this. they are growing up in a timewhere they can find out whatever they want whenever they want.. they can connect to whoever, whenever.
they are actually being very polite in still playing the – go to a school building 7 hours a day – and then do what i choose after hours.. or after i graduate.. because they know and use and live more options.

we just keep (with good intent) changing up our verbiage, and believing that things will be different. beefing up our work-load, our expectations, and believing that things will be different.

what if.. the core of what we are changing the verbiage about and beefing up our workload for – isn’t what we need – isn’t what we (our souls) are really after..

we need to pause long enough to figure out what we are really after first. [sit on the blue car like millman in the way of the peaceful warrior] i think most will find out – that our obsession with better test scores [which is how many determine teacher salary – how we have been spending most of our 7 hours a day in the classroom – how we have been spending most of our edreform-ish funding – and what we are molding or selling to the human spirit – et al] – is not really what they want to pursue.

there is no safety in the organizational structure of our current [even the current edreformed version] measuring/labeling/credentialing system. that assumed safety net – that that’s how we’ve always done things.. let’s just start doing it better – is a myth. we have so much research that creativity, curiosity, that people knowing what to do when they don’t know what to do, is what is needed, is what will make us indispensable.
today especially, how we’ve been doing things, even beefed up and verbiagely cleaned up, is the greater risk.

umair haque (@umairh)
7/5/12 6:03 AM
Remember when I was like “Unless we fix stuff, kiss the future goodbye” and the punditocracy was like “whatever”? Yeah.

via @umairh The future will be created by kids in slums and garages. The past, protected by suits at conferences.

a big disruptor in ed – how/why/should we prove things. 
first we need to decide if it’s really about proving, or about improving. and if it’s about improving, what things like cheating and grades even mean toward that.
so i would push a little on Debbie’s 2nd incredible post i read today: competency-based-learning/ – do we need the badges.. the ways to measure, in the first place..?
i do really like her practical suggestions of what we can be doing now, today, in readiness for this disruption:

What Educators Need-to-KnowWhat does this mean for educators? What are the implications? There are several. First, the obvious, that there is much pressure on higher ed institutions from many stakeholders to justify the price of tuition and show value to students and parents. Though this is out of most educators control, below are the need-to-know or need-to-dos for educators:

  • Define competencies or learning outcomes for instruction provided, whether online or face-to-face classes (in anticipation of this ‘potential’ requirement in the future).
  • Define what students should be able to do, after a given course is complete – beyond the final assessment – the practical applications.
  • Learn how MOOCs work – take a course through Coursera or MIT Opencourseware other provider to find out how MOOCs operate. They are free – and give educators another perspective on education, as the ‘student’.
  • Be prepared for the competency-based learning discussion – being aware of how it works, and who is doing it, allows for constructive dialogue and discussion.

the only way we can change the world – is if you change – if i change..
that will require that each one of us starts thinking for themselves, talking to themselves.
as is – most of us aren’t even asking the right questions.. we aren’t asking the questions that matter to us.

are we alive today for mediocre, for standardization, for doing what we’re told?
or are we interested in becoming breathtakingly indispensable..

be you. be us. – breathtaking rather than mediocre.
game is on.

disruption will happen, best to disrupt yourself (personal, local, global) .. no?


The unhappiest people I know are the ones who made all the right decisions.”—Umair Haque


project with Jimmy Greer:

how to fix the world


umair 5 dirty

Where will the money come from? Dirty secret number three: It doesn’t matter. Print it. Borrow it. Tax it from the super-rich, in whose coffers it’s merely sitting idly. It does not matter one bit. It’s a second order question. If the U.S. doesn’t invest in public goods, it will not prosper; and if it doesn’t prosper, it cannot pay off the debts it already has. Conversely, if it does invest in public goods, and creates millions of decent jobs, the source of investment will matter little; for the economy will have grown and people will be prosperous. We can debate until kingdom come whether to borrow; print; tax; and we should. But we are having a fake “debate” if we pretend that we cannot invest in society first; andthen wring our hands that society is falling apart.

why don’t the pundits want you to know any of that? Duh. Because if you did, well, then theymight be out of jobs.

You know all the dirty secrets now. Live like they weren’t.


none of us are free


june 2014:

stop fighting over fistfuls of dust, and decide to plant another field instead.


july 2011:

Let’s go somewhere that matters — not just somewhere that glitters.


how to dream

But the fact is: living our lives as perfect optimizers, we are not dreamers anymore — we are cautious, timid janitors of desire, diligently scrubbing away the dangerous stains of our dreams — not defiant captains of the human spirit.

Until, at last, having settled comfortably into the ample delights of rational empiricist materialism, we ourselves come to regard our dreams as dangerous fantasies to our own happiness. We are sensible now, civilized, socialized, our sharp edges dulled — and also, perhaps, anesthetized.

Here is my tiny theory. We have been vaccinated against dreaming. That is why we dream poorly, and how we came to forget the lost art of dreaming well.


the paradox of this Age of Broken Dreams is this. We’re encouraged and exhorted at every turn, ten thousand times a day, to dream. And so we work at dreams as diligently as if they were jobs. Follow your Dreams! Dream Big! Dream, goddamit, dream! Big Passion Is Watching You — Better Not Slack off and Stop Dreaming! And yet. Though dreams have never been more ubiquitous, are we really dreaming? Consider. It is easy to idly say, in a job interview, or during a presentation, something like: “I dream of world peace!” But that is not a dream. It is merely something we utter, to win our desires.

I think that the fact is this. We are admonished and encouraged to dream — so long as our dreams are not really dreams at all. We are told to dream — as long as our dreams are to be middle managers, administrators, bureaucrats, tycoons, impresarios, celebrities.

most of us have dreams that are barely worthy of the word. What are they — if we are to drop our pretenses and admit the truth? ..Advertisements for the lives we have been told to want.


Fulfillment lies hidden where it has always been — not in the world, but in our selves as they may fully be. Those are our truest selves. It is not in rationally optimizing material payoffs, but in awakening those selves. And it is only dreams that can awaken them.


And that we do not learn the art of dreaming well is perhaps why we so often living lives that do not feel like our own. Because they are founded upon dreams which are not our own.


We do not merely dream when we are asleep. We do not awaken unless we dream.


The dreamers’ dilemma is this. Every person must ask themselves the Greatest Question. But to truly answer it, each must suffer. It is a great dilemma. Composed of two undesirable options. If a person asks the question, they must face the pain of renouncing who they believe themselves to be. And yet, if they do not ask it, they will suffer. The pain of never having become who they truly are.


I am suggesting that every man’s freedom is critical to each man’s fulfillment.


A dream must do more than console us, caress us, or calm us. A dream is not merely a song we sing to ourselves, when we are sad. It is not just a book we read to ourselves, when we wish to fantasize. A dream must consume us. We must live our dreams. And not just in a trivial way. To the point that we are burnt right down to ashes by them. We must give all we have to our dreams; risk all we are for our dreams; defy all we are destined to be and reach for our dreams. If we wish our dreams to evoke in us all that we may become.


Anyone may idly dream of world peace. Fewer still can dream of constructing the institutions of a world where all can live in peace. Fewer still can dream how to lead people to choose such institutions in the first place. And fewer still than that, just a tiny handful, can devote their very lives to the endeavor — and begin their dream with themselves.


money ness


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