Learning to realise dreams

Every struggle entails a victory on one side and a defeat on the other.

Country Grigory Avetov

 

Every struggle entails a victory on one side and a defeat on the other. Prizes and sacrifices. But it so happens that in the winner’s stockpile, there are both. This is because bringing a dream into existence necessarily involves both gains and losses. As Lev Gumilev put it, «for great achievements, it’s necessary there be a fuse that impels people into self-sacrificial service of an ideal». Adhering to this theory is Grigory Avetov, creator of the most ambitious business forum in Russia.

Humanity, throughout the whole of its existence, has fought for happiness. Personal, societal. When it comes to the latter, it is important to understand that belief in societal progress is vital for individuals of a certain type: passionarians. In the 20th century, Russia lost a vast number of these to several large waves of emigration, when many clever, ambitious and talented people fled the country. The main mission of the Synergy Global Forum is to bring about a recovery, a revival, of this passionarian population.

As a child, I attended bilingual lectures at the Polytechnical Museum in the Kitai Gorod area of Moscow. Then, at around eighteen, I began to conduct lectures of my own, on politics, journalism, philosophy. Later, I discovered TED Talks, and realized they were essentially the same sort of thing, only for twenty million people. It was insulting, because I was doing the same work, only for an audience one hundred thousand times smaller. Prior to that, I’d also dreamt of increasing the number of entrepreneurs in Russia. So I settled on the goal of creating a global educational business forum. This initially seemed a utopian vision: and until our first forum commenced, it was fueled more by prayers than by confidence that it would actually come to fruition. But everything worked out. Today, we’re holding our forum at Olympic Stadium, and are expecting twice the turnout of Helsinki’s Nordic Business Forum, a forum we were equal with when we created ours.

Our project has two main tasks. The first is to assist those who already work in business, to bolster their effectiveness. Let’s say you have a business, but you don’t have the tools to take advantage of all your entrepreneurial opportunities. Our aim is to provide you with the toolbox you need to help your business grow tenfold. And the second task is to prepare entrepreneurs who aren’t yet on the market, to help those who are just starting out. We reach out to such people through things they’re already familiar with.

We have students who’ve come to us because they’ve just been constantly watching crap on Youtube, day and night. And they’ll come to us because the star of one of the channels they watched, speaking of us, told them, «dude, read this». So they’ll buy the book, read it, and they’ll like it. Then they’ll become one of our regular students, and a powerful shift happens — the person begins to realise: «I can do more than what I’ve been doing; I want to change the world». It all builds up, and then at some point he becomes an entrepreneur. It doesn’t have anything to do with competence. You can give people all the tools in the world, and they’ll just leave them unused. There has to be a change of consciousness, an internal choice made. It happens to different people at different times. They need a jolt, and we give them the necessary number of pulses.

At these events, you see eyes full of intelligence. This sort of audience is strikingly different from the fifteen thousand people you see on your daily commute, in the subway, at the movie theatre, or on the street. It’s a different air, a different energy. You sit shoulder to shoulder with these other people, and it’s a powerful congregation. And this is the sort of community that we want to recreate in Russia. For this, inspiration is no less important than knowledge. So the Synergy Global Forum is an event that, along with educational resources, gives people the motivation to improve their lives and the world around them.

When I was a kid, I was inspired by Grigory Pechorin. Of course! Lermontov’s hero had a powerful intellectual foundation, an analytical mind, and was in constant reflection and introspection, which is a typical indicator of an intelligent person. And his self-inquiry is very well projected onto the reader — when you read him, you also seek yourself. And I did find myself, to some extent, but my pursuit for new aspects of myself continues.

Today, I’m inspired by almost all the guests of our forum: I’m a fan of Richard Branson; I’m a fan of Mike Tyson, his aggression, his power, his brand, which he created in the ring; I was enthralled by Nassim Taleb, from the moment I read his book The Black Swan. These speakers have the ability, through the example they set, to spur a huge number of people to get up and go, seek and do. I’m inspired by many Russian leaders and businessmen, my friends, and all the meetings that I spend with them are a great source of nourishment for me — they are, as a rule, faster and further along than I am, and this is a great tool with which to provoke my competitive spirit — it’s important to be on a team that is faster and stronger than you are.

But can those who strive for societal progress attain happiness in their personal lives as well? Such efforts can turn you into a victim of your aspirations; they’ll often demand great sacrifices, including inner happiness and peace. Thus Genghis Khan, Alexander the Great and many other passionarians were unhappy. Although Goethe wrote, «Freedom and life are earned by those alone who conquer them each day anew». But almost always the path to a better world will pass through the ruins of people’s inner peace. Passionarians consciously make this sacrifice, as a tribute to Utopia’s coming into being.