Buckminster Fuller has been a major mentor for me, ever since encountering his work in the early 70s and running away from home to spend a month at his intensive World Game Workshop. Bucky’s Self-Disciplines offer a useful and powerful perspective for innovators and change agents:
I decided that Nature might support a man who was doing what Nature wanted to be done and concluded that I would be informed by Nature if I proceeded in the following manner:
1. Use myself as an experiment to see what, if anything, a healthy, young male human of average size, experience, and capability with an economically dependent wife and new born child, starting without capital or any kind of wealth, cash savings, credit or university degree could effectively do that could not be done by great nations or great private enterprise to lastingly improve the physical protection and support of all human lives.
2. Commit all of my productivity toward dealing only with the whole planet Earth and all its resources and cumulative know-how. Observation of my life to date shows that the larger the number for whom I work, the more positively effective I become. Thus, it is obvious that if I work always and only for all humanity, I will be optimally effective.
3. Seek to do my own thinking, confining it to only experientially gained information.
4. Seek to accomplish whatever is to be attained in such a manner that the advantage attained would never be secured at the cost of another or others.
5. Seek to cope with all humanly unfavorable conditions by searching for the family of relevant physical principles involved.
6. Reduce my inventions to physically working models and must never talk about the inventions until physically proved or disproved.
7. Seek to reform the environment, not the humans. I am determined never to try to persuade humanity to alter its customs and viewpoints.
8. Never promote or sell either my ideas or artifacts or pay others to do so. All support must be spontaneously engendered by evolutions integrating of my inventions with the total evolution of human affairs.
9. Assume that nature has its own gestation rates, not only for the birth of each new biological component, but also for each inanimate technological artifact.
10. Seek to develop my artifacts with ample anticipatory time margins so that they will be ready for use by society when society discoversÐthrough evolutionary emergenciesÐa need for them.
11. Seek to learn the most from my mistakes.
12. Seek to decrease time wasted in worried procrastination and to increase time invested in discovery of technological effectiveness.
13. Seek to document my development in the official records of humanity by applying for and being granted government patents.
14. Above all, seek to comprehend the principles of eternally regenerative universe and discover how humans function in these principles.
15. Seek to educate myself comprehensively regarding natures inventory of chemical elements, their weights, performance characteristics, relative abundance’s, geographical whereabouts, metallurgical alloys, and chemical associabilities and disassociabilities.
16. Seek to comprehend the full gamut of production tool capabilities, energy resources, and all relevant geological, meteorological, demographic, and economic data.
17. Seek to operate only on a do-it-yourself basis and only on the basis of intuition.
18. Plan for my design science strategies to advantage the new life to be born on Earth, life born unencumbered with the conditioned reflexes so prevalent today.
19. Commit whole-heartedly to the above and pay no attention to “earning a living” in humanity’s established economic system, yet find that my family’s and my needs are provided for by seemingly pure happenstance and always only in the nick of time.