Mr. Madison and Mr. Morgan’s brand of change

Dan Morgan, some Ugandan friends and a vintage mixer

How to mix real change

Recently I was in touch with Daniel Morgan (’10) who is one of our Be the Change Madisonians.  Daniel came to our attention after he thought of, invented, arranged to build, and managed to deliver an innovative concrete mixer to Uganda.  It was no small feat.

The other day I was thinking about President James Madison and Daniel.  Both were in the right place at the right time to see a change that needed to be made.  What distinguishes both Mr. Madison and Daniel is that they saw what needed to be done, but they didn’t sit back, stroke their chins and say, “Hmmmm, somebody should do something about that.” Instead, they became that somebody.  So I asked Daniel (since I can’t ask Mr. Madison), just what does it take to change a little — or a big part — of the world.  Here’s what Daniel had to say…

There seem to be two main components to changing anything.  The first is finding the opportunity for a change.  If it’s a social change that usually requires traveling outside of our comfort zones, be it working in a soup kitchen, at a kids’ camp, at a nursing home, in a developing country, etc.  One setting is no better than the other; the important thing is that we are experiencing life from different perspectives.  We need to see and experience the problem first of all, before we can begin to think about improving it.

So assume that the need for a change is found.  What does it take to change opportunity into action?  I believe the second component is passion.  By its nature, change is harder work than the absence of change so you should never expect it to be easy or fast. And if you are going to spend a lot of time on something that is difficult, you need to have your whole heart in it

President James Madison served as the second R...

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, you need to enjoy doing this work so you can fully invest above and beyond the necessary time and effort.  It is not about what you are GOOD at, but rather, what you LOVE doing.  If you love doing something you should naturally just keep working on it until you become good at it.

Don’t worry about comparing yourself to others doing similar things, one of the most detrimental thoughts is, “Someone else could do that better than I.” Don’t make yourself take on a project to suffer through it, but find a place to apply yourself, doing something that you love and be courageous! GO FOR IT!  You don’t need to be a seasoned professional to help out with a problem.  Of course you will make mistakes but you just look at those as little lessons.  But do seek the help of those seasoned professionals, or anyone else who might be interested in helping your cause.  Stay humble, getting help from others is crucial.  Collaboration is a beautiful thing.  Not only will your result be better, given that more minds are applied to the task, but you are involving other hearts and souls in the project, you are passing your passion on to them and who knows?  Maybe they will pass that passion on to other people, or maybe they have a project of their own that you could inspire them to pursue.  Be courageous, be tenacious and be humble and ask for help as many times as possible.

Well this is all coming from someone probably too young or inexperienced to be giving advice, but that’s my two cents anyways! — Daniel

I wonder if Mr. Madison had a similar philosophy; I suspect he would heartily endorse Daniel’s philosophy.

Read more about Daniel Morgan’s mixer at: http://www.jmu.edu/bethechange/people/morgan-daniel.shtml

And here’s a link to a full length story by JMU staff writer Janet Smith, with pictures and video: http://www.jmu.edu/news/madisonscholar/DanielMorgan.shtml


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About James Madison University
This blog is about the people of James Madison University — a caring, committed and engaged community spread all over the world, making lives better and brighter, healthier and safer, kinder and bolder. As Gandhi suggested, we are taking steps to BE the CHANGE we wish to see in the world. And these are our stories....

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