Critical Path

By Darice Page, Cohort 8, Groundswell Build

Each week, a participant in Groundswell’s Build program shares reflections, learnings, and experiences from their journey of building a social venture. See current and past participant posts in the Student Blog.


I find much inspiration in the work of Buckminster Fuller and feel that his wisdom will resonate for many who are connected to Groundswell. Whether this is an initial introduction to ‘Bucky’ or a reminder to those who are familiar, his response to an inquisitive ten year old is a refreshing read. As we heed entrepreneurial advice to do the work, to show the love, to just keep going, to be the change, to let go of certainty, to defy fear- these insightful words can be a grounding place to return to on the journey.


February 16, 1970

Dear Michael,

Thank you very much for your recent letter concerning “thinkers and doers.”

The things to do are the things that need doing: that you see need to be done, and that no one else seems to see need to be done. Then you will conceive your own way of doing that which needs to be done—that no one else has told you how to do or how to do it. This will bring out the real you that often gets buried inside a character that has acquired a superficial array of behaviours induced or imposed by others on the individual.

Try making experiments of anything you conceive and are intensely interested in. Don’t be disappointed if something doesn’t work. That is what you want to know—the truth about everything—and then the truth about combinations of things. Some combinations have such logic and integrity that they can work coherently despite non-working elements embraced by their system.

Whenever you come to a word with which you are not familiar, find it in the dictionary and write a sentence which uses that new word. Words are tools—and once you have learned how to use a tool you will never forget it. Just looking for the meaning of the word is not enough. If your vocabulary is comprehensive, you can comprehend both fine and large patterns of experience.

You have the most important thing in life—initiative. Because of it, you wrote to me. I am answering to the best of my capability. You will find the world responding to your earnest initiative.

Sincerely yours,
Buckminster Fuller