Despite the human longing in each of us… that longing to pursue freedom, hope, and happiness, the true course for which our hearts yearn must be adjusted. Often. But as often as the course of human history seems presently mislaid, there are always those who steer us right. Mentors. Trouble-makers. Teachers. Trim tabs.
Enya, Orinoco Flow
What is a trim tab?
Trim tabs are not the high flying, bright colored banners that ripple and snap in the winds of change and folly. They are not the sails that carry a ship with speed or lull. Yet trim tabs are still important.
A trim tab is a small flap on the trailing edge of the main rudder. Trim tabs increase the ease of a course adjustment. Without the trim tab, much energy is required to employ the rudders to change the direction of a moving ship.
Trim tabs alter the course which we travel.
Buckminster Fuller referred to the function of a trim tab as a metaphor for how individuals can make a difference in the world and potentially change the course of humanity – or, at least, those in their sphere of influence and relationship.
Who is Buckminster Fuller?
An American author, architect, designer, environmentalist, humanist, and inventor, Bucky sought to change the world and, more importantly, to be of great and lasting service to all humanity.
In I Seem To Be a Verb, Bucky wrote:
I live on Earth at present, and I don’t know what I am. I know that I am not a category. I am not a thing — a noun. I seem to be a verb, an evolutionary process — an integral function of the universe.
Fuller felt strongly that the unthinking use of obsolete scientific ideas detracts from and misleads intuition. For example, “World-around”, Fuller believed, should replace the obsolete term “worldwide”. According to Fuller, the general belief in a flat Earth that supposedly had died out in Classical antiquity was still persistent in our language. Such anachronism, he argued, continues to limit our understanding and deceive us. In fact, the Earth is a spheroidal surface with area as Bucky asserts. It has no width.
Bucky was a trim tab.
Why do trim tabs matter?
Writes Rebel Brown, “Trim tabs empower you to dynamically adjust your course with small, incremental changes based on real-time changes in your [environment] and your own forward progress.”
On another level, trim tabs serve human history by changing the course of humanity. Because those fine adjustments to the course of human history plot an arc of consequence that leads to greater boons.
Trim tabs steer us to our destiny by altering the course of our will. Quietly, gently, and, so often, without notice and fanfare.
For more inspiration about leadership and service, follow Servant Hearts on Facebook.
1 July, 2011
About Stan Faryna
Mr. Faryna is the founder and co-founder of several technology, design and communication companies in the United States and Europe including Faryna & Associates, Inc., Halo Interactive, and others.
Stan Faryna served as a Global Voices author and translator. Global Voices is a non-profit global citizens’ media project founded at Harvard Law School’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society, a research think-tank focused on the Internet’s impact on society.
His political, scholarly, social and technical opinions have appeared in The Chicago Defender, Jurnalul National, The Washington Times, Sagar, Saptamana Financiara, Social Justice Review, and other publications.
Mr. Faryna also served as editor-in-chief of Black and Right (Praeger Press, 1996), a landmark collection of socio-political essays by important American thinkers including U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.
Copyright 1996 to 2012 by Stan Faryna.
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