Discover more from Superpowers for Good
The Real Superhero Is the SuperCrowd
What We Can Do Together Far Exceeds the Superpower of Any Individual
For years now, I’ve been writing and talking about superpowers in the context of social impact. The world’s most significant people are devoting themselves to solving the biggest problems. One key thing I’ve learned from the guests on my show is that teamwork is the ultimate superpower.
The risk in profiling people, as I do here, is that we see an individual as a superhero. Seeing someone that way could cause us to do two things that could be counterproductive.
First, we may be tempted to rely on the superheroes among us. Knowing that someone genuinely wonderful is working to address a problem—think climate change, for example—could cause us individually to do less than we could or should.
If I see Bill Gates, who was on the show a few years ago, investing and donating billions to address climate change and decide that he’s got this, I could feel allowed to do more climate damage. I’d never think of it that way, but if I stop donating to climate change nonprofits and choose not to invest my paltry sums in climate solutions, drive and fly farther and more often, you can see that my carbon footprint would grow.
As wealthy and powerful as Bill Gates is, he can’t solve climate change for us. It’s a team sport. We all need to be doing everything we reasonably (some will argue that I should strike that word) can to address the climate crisis before it becomes intolerable.
A second problem with seeing my guests as superheroes is that it emphasizes the role of an individual. There is a tendency that many of us fight, that is, seeing ourselves as heroes. Folks with the sort of privilege I’ve been given are especially susceptible to what is sometimes called the “white savior” mentality.
When folks who look like me visit places where most people have a different complexion and more challenging circumstances, we are prone to seeing ourselves as rescuers who bring resources and expertise. I’m grateful for effective role models who are teaching me to see those I hope to serve as the experts and leaders I have the opportunity to support and learn from.
When we see others as superheroes, we may be tempted to aspire to be like them for the wrong reasons—to be lauded and admired—rather than for the impact we could have on the world. I fight this all the time in myself. I strive to celebrate others and their contributions above my own.
To see the world’s population as a great community of people in which we, as individuals, play critical, valuable roles is healthier for everyone.
While it is true that a tiny fraction of the world’s population controls as much wealth as the bottom 60 percent, the reverse is true. In aggregate, the world’s poor control as much wealth as—and do far more work than, and comprise orders of magnitude more voters than—the world’s billionaires.
All human beings matter. Together, our power and influence are infinite.
Real change can be made only when we come together. I think of Greta Thunberg as a young teenager sitting outside the Swedish Parliament with her little climate strike sign. Alone, she would have made no difference and would have had no impact. She got universal attention only because her friends—and ultimately millions of young people around the world—joined her.
Who has had more influence on climate change? Greta Thunberg or Bill Gates?
We could argue about that all day, but that simple observation proves the point. It is not the wealth or power of an individual that matters; instead, it is the power of the crowd behind them that counts.
The Superpowers for Good community is growing. Our collective influence is expanding. With the show now playing on television with the e360tv app on streaming devices of all sorts, more people than ever are participating.
As you know, I love to talk about crowdfunding. It is such a powerful example of the ability of the crowd to make a difference. Dozens of companies in recent years have raised at least $4 million using crowdfunding. For most companies, especially startups, that’s a lot of money!
How does that happen? It works when the company has an excited and engaged community that invests and shares the opportunity to invest with their friends. Everyone in that cycle makes a difference.
Yesterday, I shared the story of The Climate Action Fund led by Lynn Heller. It is the best example I’ve seen yet of an opportunity to invest in climate justice. I was proud to participate as an investor.
The offering raised enough to enable over 100 low-income households to access solar power at rates below their current utility bills! Not only that, but the investors will receive a 5.5 percent interest rate on their money for 15 years. It isn’t risk-free, but I would argue the social impact offsets the risk.
Lynn led that effort. She deserves credit for that. Not to take anything away from her, but the crowd came together to support her. Alone, she would accomplish little. With a crowd, her potential impact is infinite.
Thank you for being part of the SuperCrowd! As we work to grow this community, have more impact and do more good, I’ll always remember that I’m nothing without you! Together, our potential is infinite. Now, let’s do some good!
Join us for the SuperCrowdHour with Lea Bouhelier-Gatreau of KingsCrowd as she explains how you can start investing for impact with just $100 on August 16 at 1:00 Eastern/10 Pacific. Register at half-price here.
Léa is a Sr. Investment Analyst at KingsCrowd who writes the company’s impact investing monthly article, providing investors with the best impact investing deals and market insights. She previously worked for Stanford’s accelerator, StartX, and led the first award-winning study on the Malawian startup ecosystem. She holds a degree in Anthropology from France and is currently enrolled in the UC Davis MBA program.