What One Act of Kindness Taught Me About Sustainable Learning – Thrive Global

Long, long ago when dinosaurs used to roam the Earth, us humans had only one trustworthy source of navigation to get from point A to point B: Mapquest. Okay maybe I’m exaggerating just a little bit; it was at least a few millennia after dinosaurs, but either way – without these pre-printed static directions, our species would be almost at a complete loss in finding our way. It was during this time period that I took a road trip with a close friend of mine from Boston to Quebec, Canada. Now for those of you who predate Mapquest, imagine a website where you could enter your starting point and destination and it would output a series of directions you would need to print out and bring with you on your travels, while you simultaneously send a quick prayer that the streets and highways listed were correct and still even existed. 

During this seven hour road trip into Canada, somewhere my friend and I made a wrong turn. Quite honestly, it’s possible we made a few wrong turns, but with nothing but a pre-printed set of directions, we were a bit up a creek without a paddle so they say. Luckily we made it into Canada, but were not sure how to get to our final destination in Quebec. After a few hours of confused circling, we were able to flag down some nice Canadians who we hoped could help us right our course. Unfortunately, we were in the French-speaking province of Canada, and as two English-speakers, found ourselves at a bit of an impasse. 

Finally, after a few attempts we were able to find a gentleman who spoke enough English to help us get back on track and successfully reach our destination. To this day I remain grateful to this man who was able to guide us from a place of misdirection into a place of understanding.

Now for this chapter, I will finally pay forward that act of kindness, and act as your guide in this journey of sustainable learning. Luckily, we have some better tools today that we didn’t have all those years ago (thank you Google Maps) that are able to move more dynamically with us and course correct in live time, instead of relying on the kindness of strangers. So let’s dive in and explore the importance of sustainable learning, and the navigational challenges one will face without a proper dynamic roadmap.

Excerpted from The Inclusive Organization: Real Solutions, Impactful Change, and Meaningful Diversity, by Netta Jenkins. Wiley; 1st edition (June 14, 2023)