Revolutionary Character is a space to explore rather than adhere to any specific dogma or ideology beyond basic humanism. Each individual is expected to be their own arbiter of the truth, for the good of the individual and community. No ideology should be swallowed whole, individuals must build their own truths experientially with a clear-eyed view to what works for them. Revolutionary Character provides the space to do so, and a starting point in terms of ideas and models. However, ideas, innovations and growth stem from dissent - from identifying differences between our internal and external realities, and capitalizing on them, from building on different worldviews constructively, and enriching both the common discourse and our own paradigms by way of debate, questioning self-reflection, and subsequent integration.

For this to happen, an open mindset is needed as well as the self-awareness and clarity to abstract ourselves from our own mental models. To evolve as individuals, organizations, and society, we must be able to strike a balance between

i) being very self-aware, yet knowing we have blind spots that are only visible to others;

ii) being able to defend our own ideas, yet being open-minded enough to know we are not always right, and that there’s always more than one truth to the same issue;

iii) being comfortable in our skin, yet wanting to transcend ourselves;

iv) being conscious of the direct impact of our actions; yet acknowledging that there are higher-order effects which must be also considered in order to operate as part of a larger system.

These principles aim at establishing a foundation from which to operate, from which to debate within Revolutionary Characters sessions, and from which to grow and better ourselves as a result of that debate. To this end, a few principles provide guidelines for building Revolutionary Character:

  1. We practice Radical Candor

    • We care personally

    • We challenge directly

  2. Ideas are egoless

    • We seek higher truths together, not consensus

    • We exist in a hierarchy of ideas rather than people

    • Hierarchy ≠ ownership of the truth

    • Everything can be questioned

    • No questions are stupid

  3. We do not simply trade in ideas, we seek those ideas that motivate practical change over mountains of theory

  4. We engage in second order thinking

  5. Autonomy = Freedom = Accountability

  6. We are not afraid to be ourselves

    • We don’t hide behind labels

    • We are humble

    • Being different ≠ being wrong

  7. We acknowledge that progress towards our ideals is not linear or binary and we support others when they stumble

  8. We empower ourselves and others

    • We are not afraid of mistakes

    • A step back could mean a breakthrough

    • Learning and training enhance development

  9. We do not avoid the difficult

“There is nothing that gets in the way of success more than avoidance. We avoid hard conversations. We avoid certain people. We avoid hard decisions. We avoid evidence that contradicts what we think. We avoid starting a project until we're certain of the outcome.

To justify our avoidance, we lie to ourselves. We tell ourselves that we’re noble — we don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings. We tell ourselves we don’t want to offend others. We tell ourselves that things will get better. We tell ourselves that things will get easier. We tell ourselves that we can avoid the real issue without any impact. We tell ourselves we'll start when the time is right.

Sometimes we muster up half the courage. We have half the conversation we wanted to have. We do half the hard thing. We acknowledge the evidence but convince ourselves this time is different. We see the person we’re avoiding but don’t really talk to them. We start but don't commit to the project.

And here’s the interesting thing. Half-efforts tend to make things worse, not better. When things don’t get better, it only reinforces that we shouldn’t have said anything in the first place. Avoiding isn’t better, it’s just easier. Not only does avoiding today make the future harder, but it also almost always makes the present harder. Avoiding puts you on a hair-trigger, anything will set you off. We all do this. Who hasn’t entirely avoided a hard conversation with their partner about something only to find themselves in an insignificant argument over something trivial? Of course, the petty fight isn’t about the trivial thing, it’s about avoiding the hard thing. Everything becomes harder until we stop avoiding what's getting in the way. The longer you wait the higher the cost.”

- Farnam Street Blog

Sounds interesting? Click here to apply or here to learn about the course material and its theoretical foundations.