Over 2 billion people in the world live without access to toilets and clean sanitation. Serial entrepreneur Jack Sim has made it his life’s work to address this problem, starting the World Toilet Organization and helping instate World Toilet Day, raising awareness, and making change happen. Today, we hear from Jack about how he began this conversation and breaking down the taboo and silence on the subject.
In today’s episode, Jack explains his model of ‘mutual exploitation’ as a way of creating change, as well as how he created a movement built out of millions of heroes, rather than one central figure. Jack shares his thoughts on finding big problems to work on, his approach to change, and the fulfillment that is possible when we aim for the seemingly impossible. Our guest is a firm believer in the mission over the person, and argues that we should all be unimportant next to the cause we are fighting for.
For Jack, the meaning of life is found in your usefulness and service to the rest of the planet and he is such a great example of helping people and inspiring change around him. Listeners can expect to gain insight into a worldview that prioritizes hope and positivity in the face of adversity, so tune in to hear from a wonderful voice of impact, with a great sense of humanity and humor! Be sure to check out this wise and hilarious conversation about life, toilets and movements:
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Key Points From This Episode:
Leverage the Media to Create Change.
If you can tell a powerful story of change, possibility and transformation — you can bring the media on your side. Once you have the media in your court to legitimize your movement, you can leverage that to start influencing politicians, bureaucrats, celebrities, academics, NGOs, and corporations.
Be the instigator, not the hero.
In a movement, you don’t want to be a hero. You want to be in a position where you can make millions of heroes — so that they can take ownership of the change they wish to see in their own local communities.
The four rules to having unlimited resources
Internal resources will always be limited — regardless of the size of your organization. To truly have unlimited resources, you need to leverage the desires of others. Jack’s four rules, inspired by Tom Sawyer’s fence painting strategy are:
- You can achieve anything as long as you can motivate others to do it
- You must pre-qualify people to ensure that they are really interested in working and not just coming for fun.
- These people should pay you to do the work for you
- You should get rewarded by someone else
Plant seeds of serendipity
Never hold your breath waiting for somebody or something to come through. Have 40–50 projects going on simultaneously by planting idea seeds with multiple parties at the same time. When the time is right, serendipity will come knocking.
Cultivate your inner child
The moment you become an adult, you also become insecure, fearful and crave recognition. When you remain a child, you can hold onto your sense of authenticity, awe and wonder.
“Whenever problems exist, you have to be relentless until the problem disappears.” — Jack Sim [0:06:41]
“We never endorse products. We are not beholden to companies. We are not beholden to governments or anybody. We can say whatever shit we want to say, but we say it honestly.” — Jack Sim [0:10:36]
“People are constipated about toilets, in their mind. All we have to do is give them permission to talk about the subject.” — Jack Sim [0:11:24]
“In a movement, you don’t want to be the hero, you want to create millions of heroes.” — Jack Sim [0:14:55]
Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:
Benjamin Von Wong
Mr. Toilet: The World’s #2 Man
Jack Sim Email
Jack Sim on LinkedIn
Jack Sim on Facebook
World Toilet Organization
Prime Minister Modi
President Xi Jinping
University of Singapore
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
Coming Up Next
Tune in next week to hear from Graham Ross, co-founder of BlockTexx — a clean-tech startup that patented a brand new technology capable of infinitely recycling Cotton + Polyester blends. Graham lives on the intersection of worlds and has an inspiring story of how he broke into the sustainable fashion world! Be sure to subscribe here so you don’t miss an episode, and feel free to share or leave a review here so we can keep providing more content like this. See you next week!