I recently discovered I was an idealist. Well, I’ve always been passionate about many aspects of life. I’ve always volunteered and worked with many non profit groups to make my community a better place. Yet it wasn’t until recently that someone labeled me as an idealist.
Webster says an idealist is “one guided by ideals; especially one that places ideals before practical considerations.” It leads that an idealist is “an adherent of a philosophical theory of idealism; an artist or author who advocates or practices idealism in art or writing.”
So is being labeled an idealist a bad thing? I suppose it depends on what your ideals are. For me, I care about the community I live in. I want to make it a better place. It’s interesting to note, that the Google Ads on the dictionary page leads off with Not for Profit Jobs. Do idealists all work for NPOs or is there a place in the corporate world for people who are passionate about what they do? An interesting footnote.
Labels often do more harm than good, especially when we use them to marginalize people. In the political world the two parties want to stick everyone into just two groups: liberal or conservative, Democrat or Republican. None of these words mean anything anymore. They’re nonsense.
In the real world, I’m not liberal and I’m not conservative, yet I am and I am. But you can’t group any two people in the same two groups on anything. And you can’t group the population of the United States into two neat categories. The biggest problem we face is that we no longer debate issues. And issues are the only thing that matters.
What you are idealistic about is what defines idealism. And when both big parties fail to work together on issues, we see a house divided. America needs to refocus on issues. We need to work together locally, with people who care and want to work for a brighter tomorrow.
Chatting with Felix Kramer at Calcars.org, an organization committed to bringing 100mpg plug in hybrids to everyone in America, again made me realize I was an idealist–I think he is too, btw. Today’s news relates that “GM is now speeding up hybrid production”. I think we’re seeing the impact of his organization. He pointed me to an interesting website for people like me, called idealist.org.
Idealist.org is a website that facilitates connections between individuals and institutions that are interested in improving their communities. Over 57,000 nonprofit organizations from more than 180 countries have created profiles on Idealist.org. They use these profiles to list information about their missions, programs, services, and opportunities. Action Without Borders is a nonprofit organization headquartered in New York City. Among other programs, Action Without Borders runs the website Idealist.org and has been around since 1995.
Visit their site and network with others like you, to volunteer, pass your contact info or find a gig with an organization making a positive difference.