You may have noticed the two words that I have written across various parts of my website. “Think.Do.” My definition of the two words are as follows. Think: “use your brain to formulate ideas and thoughts. Do: “take action and turn those thoughts into reality.” Both are amazingly simple functions that most people in the world have learned how to do between the ages of 3-6, but rarely do people truly master both. I myself am included in this bucket.
It is like choosing a car route from one part of the city to the other. Think about it so you don’t get lost, but if you think too much you will never start your car. Then there are those in this world that do without thinking. They see something exciting and bright and shiny and chase it like a dog after a car. They might not catch it and forget and immediately chase another unrelated object, claiming they only ever loved that second thing. Then they find yet another. Many end up chasing the wrong car down the wrong freeway, and end up at the completely opposite side of town from where they wanted to go. Some don’t even realize it. But sometimes, doing without thinking is not the worst. There are those that do without thinking, and end up exactly (or close to) where they wanted to go.
The best-case scenario is to first think, but not excessively, and then carry through and do a lot.
One of the greatest things about working at Google last summer was being surrounded by super passionate people that THOUGHT a lot and DID amazingly more. Michael Tubbs is a perfect example. I pulled an excerpt of his biography from one is his projects, Stanford University Phoenix Project: “Born to a 16 year old mother and an incarcerated father, Michael Tubbs has truly risen like a phoenix from the ashes of race, single parenthood, and low socioeconomic status. As a member of the International Baccalaureate program at Franklin High School, Michael faced counselors and teachers who told him not to apply to elite universities as no one from his school had ever garnered those type of college offers. He refused to listen, however, and found mentors to help him navigate the college admissions process. He was honored as a Coca-Cola National Scholar and singled out (from an applicant pool of 90,000) as the inaugural “Alumni Legacy Scholar”. In addition, his college admissions essay earned him first place in the Alice Walker essay contest and was published in the San Francisco Chronicle. He has also been honored as a Ronald McDonald Future African-American Achiever, Elks Lodge Most Valuable Student, QuestBridge College Match Finalist, Morehouse College President’s Scholarship awardee, University of Southern California Presidential Scholar, American University Frederick Douglass Scholar, UCLA Academic Achievement Scholarship awardee , honorable mention as one of Ebony Magazine’s Top Black High School Seniors, the cover story of Quest magazine, Martin Luther King Youth of the Yea California Youth Ambassador, profiled in the Los Angeles Times, named an Architect of Peace in his hometown of Stockton, California, awarded “Freshman of the Year” by the Black Community Services Center at Stanford University, and crowned the inaugural NAACP National Great Debate Champion, where he debated health care reform before President Obama. As a first-generation student at Stanford University, he serves as a motivational speaker with both the Inspiring Speaker’s Bureau and the Great Black Speaker’s Bureau…”
I was impressed when I first saw it. All of these awards merely applaud his true passion and his actions. Michael Tubbs not only thinks, but also has a very acute sense of what exactly he is, what he stands for, and what he wants to get done. He doesn’t only shake his head at racial inequality with education; he tells the world and creates the SU Phoenix Project.
Again, forgive the plagiarism, but I copied an excerpt that describes their purpose: “Through robust year-round mentorship and college admissions consulting The Phoenix Project makes sure that every student who wants to matriculate to college can –and can afford to do so too.”
Last year I remember Michael saying there were about 50 or 60 mentees. The other day Michael mentioned this year there are around 230. And I think Michael started another summer program recently. I think this is amazing. This isn’t just blind action; this isn’t a dog chasing cars. This is intentional, purposeful, concentrated action backed by clear purpose and reason. Michael is changing and impacting the world. Go read up on his stuff and support Michael Tubbs. Think, and Do.