All roads lead to Rome

All roads lead to Rome - Velites blog on implementation, interaction & leadership

All roads lead to Rome

The European E-roads were developed based on the ideal to connect the previous enemies after World War II. The idea was that when you connect countries with each other, it will promote peace. However, Europe is still separated. Shouldn’t our idealism be replaced by realism?

From a positive perspective, an idealist is someone who pursues certain ideals. From a negative perspective, an idealist is seen as someone who is naïve, un-realistic and a dreamer. But no matter which definition you do prefer, the word idea is part of idealism. As an idealist you’re providing ideas to talk about things like peace, poverty or the environment. And the good thing of it, you won’t have limitations in thinking about solutions because of practical issues. Everything is possible.

David T. Wolf said: ‘idealism is what precedes experience’. Without ideals you have an empty life and big changes won’t come. However, idealism is also not the solution for everything. The route 66 in the USA is seen as a clear symbol. However, for the E-roads this is not the case. But where would we be without this ideal? Would our European road network still be as good as it is nowadays? Would we be able to move from country to country that easily?

Idealism brings us further. It gives us the courage to give everything we have in order to pursue our ideals. We are going the extra mile and let people show things that were seen as impossible. Without idealism some companies didn’t even exist. Think about Boyan Slat who is going for a plastic-free ocean. Or think about Eosta who wants to introduce a fair price for food and a fair salary for producers.

However, there are also examples of businesses based on idealism that are not that successful. WakaWaka, a company that wanted access to solar energy for everybody in the world, just went bankrupt. Financially they couldn’t survive. Would a little bit of realism prevent them for a bankruptcy? And what if Oxfam directly stopped dreaming when they discovered child sex abuse? Without idealism no progress. But it doesn’t hurt some now and then to look with a realistic view on how things are going.

Back to the European roads. Can we get a same kind of status for our E-roads as route 66 has? This in order to get closer to one Europe? I don’t think so, but I also know that all roads lead to Rome. Roads that are mapped out by idealists, but that are carried out by realists. The realist and the idealist: who are you?