Barack Obama on Keeping Contradictory Ideas in Your Head At Once

I watched the interview below today, with Barack Obama sitting down with Dave Eggers and discussing their paths from success to starting organizations focused on important change. One of the most impactful points President Obama makes is that in order to change the world, you have to keep two seemingly contradictory ideas in your head at the same time:

  1. You should be extraordinarily impatient about the injustices and nonsense and foolishness you see around you. You should be finding opportunities at every juncture to challenge those things.

  2. Keep in your mind that societies are incredibly complex, organic things that you can’t turn switches on. They evolve and shift and change and move in unexpected ways. Sometimes you’ll go forward for a good period of times and sometimes you’ll take a detour.

These are important to keep in mind as you chip away at progress but change doesn’t happen as fast as you’d always want. They are points I connect with deeply, and think are most important for high-performers looking to make an impact on the world.

Keep pushing. Keep your expectations high. Be prepared to be in it for the long haul.