Unreasonable Yearning

Unreasonable Yearning

“If you want to build a ship,
don’t drum up the men
to gather wood, divide the
work and give orders.

Instead, teach them to yearn
for the vast and endless sea.”

Antoine de Saint Exupery

Speaking of yearning, I’ve just heard about a rather exciting voyage.  For a few years, the Unreasonable Institute has been bringing together groups of twenty five entrepreneurs, in Boulder, Colorado, for an intensive bootcamp.  Once in Boulder, the organisers leave no stone unturned in finding some of the world’s best mentors to join the party.

Here is the pitch:

“Imagine if the likes of Richard Branson, Mother Theresa, Muhammad Yunus, Henry Ford, Albert Einstein, and Rosa Parks came together to develop solutions to the world’s most pressing problems. Now stop imagining. That’s what we do with 25 of the world’s most promising entrepreneurs at our 6-week Institute. Our secret sauce? Everyone, including visiting mentors and capital partners, lives under the same roof and helps build their ventures together

I think you’ll agree,  Boulder sounds like it rocks…

As George Bernard Shaw observed, progress depends on the unreasonable man.  Therefore, in the spirit of gathering no moss, the Unreasonable men and women have decided to throw off their Coloradan shackles and take the project somewhere that even the more imaginative entrepreneurs might not have guessed;

Onto a boat.

teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea

Yes, Unreasonable at Sea is brilliantly simple;

“20 Mentors. 100 days. 1 ship. 14 countries. 10 ventures. 1 belief that entrepreneurship will change the world”.

Yes, it sounds amazing.

Applications close on June 22nd.


Andrew St George knows a thing or two about a life on the ocean waves.  After three years of research, he has just published his book, Royal Navy Way of Leadership.

It’s well worth a read, and one of my favourite sections is one in which he lists twelve leadership qualities.  These have been gleaned from literally hundreds of interviews with serving and retired members of the armed forces.  At the very least, they are inspiring food for thought;

1) Capacity for Judgement and Decision Making (“the ability to judge, decide and convey that decision succinctly and persuasively depends on high levels of thoughtfulness and intellect, and the ability to decide and to act fast”)

2) Cheerfulness (“no one follows a pessimist and sense of humour is part of Royal Navy ethos”)

3) Clarity and Vision (“the key aim of any leader is clarity of intent so that people know where they stand”)

4) Communication Skills (“great leaders communicate in all ways: by the way they stand, speak, write and work. However, great leaders are also great listeners”)

5) Confidence (“in oneself and in others”)

6) Humanity and Humility (“the other leadership qualities cannot display themsleves without this quality”)

7) Innovation (“being creative, resourceful, agile and sometimes lateral rather than direct”)

8 ) Integrity (“integrity and trustworthiness are important moral standards.  They are conveyed and tested with every decision and every action”)

9) Moral and Physical Courage (“a rare quality, and essential for leadership”)

10) Professional Knowledge (“all other leadership qualities depend on this foundation”)

11) Stamina (“most great leaders have stamina, both physical and moral, which makes them highly resilient as individuals”)

12) Trust (“the ability to trut and be trusted as an individual, a team or a unit”)

I recommend Andrew’s book – buy it for yourself, or for someone you think might enjoy reading it.

“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”  George Bernard Shaw

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