Updated: May 25, 2021
Uncertainty is all around us, never more so than today. Global media has created a heightened awareness of serious issues that threaten our health and livelihoods. This uncertainty can create stress, anxiety, and feelings of powerlessness that can drain our energy and leave us wondering, "who's going to fix all these problems?"
In 2019, the nonprofit organization 80,000 hours produced a list of what, exactly, are the world's biggest problems. Their list comprised complex and multifactorial issues, such as climate change, global catastrophic biological risks and threats from future disease, artificial intelligence, physical and mental health (especially in developing countries and communities), education and access to opportunity, voting reform, science policy and infrastructure, illicit drugs (and their influence on governments and individuals), economic growth, and religious and political conflicts.
Addressing issues like these is the intent of the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals. Getting traction on any of these issues will require cooperation between multidisciplinary teams. Many players who have the power to move the dial may not have the specific information or knowledge base to make informed decisions on a plan of action. Leaders need trusted experts to provide them with relatable, reliable, valid, and astute assessments of current conditions and background data. That is where we see ourselves as problem solvers facilitating action.
Lily Tomlin once quipped, "I always wondered why somebody doesn't do something about that. Then I realized I was somebody."
We are somebody. We have skills. How can we best use them to help solve the world's most pressing problems? We can't sit by and wait for someone else to solve critical issues; we feel driven to do something. Like the father of scouting Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powell suggested, we desire to "try and leave this world a little better than [we] found it."
We assembled a hive mind of exceptional leaders and masterminds to create a think-tank capable of addressing the most pressing issues facing the world today; this is the Gordian Knot Society. The phrase "Gordian Knot" serves as a metaphor for an intractable problem that is solved by finding an approach that renders moot its perceived constraints. We take an active role in problem-solving by focusing on the aspects of that problem over which we can have an impact and then lending our intellectual capital and professional expertise to making a difference.
Mediocrity is not our thing. Each of the founding members is an exceptional talent. They are dedicated, accomplished, determined, innovative, intuitive, and passionate leaders in their respective fields who want to leave their mark on our world, and they know they are not alone. Like Batman assembling the Justice League, they created the Gordian Knot Society as a platform to attract other like-minded individuals.
While we feel a collective duty to altruism, each member has a particular issue or concern of focus. We collaborate on constructive solutions to provide support internally on individual efforts, and externally to other organizations, corporations, and political entities. These efforts to help others make us feel better about ourselves and provide a sense of purpose in our lives while serving as an antidote for stress, anxiety, and feelings of powerlessness derived from life in uncertain times.
We may not save the whole world, but we're certainly going to try.