Values and Philosophy
Ford, McDonald's, Coke, and Disney all had inspiring beginnings. Their values and ideals were strong, and they wanted make the lives of Americans better, through convenience, taste, and passive entertainment. They were successful, and are among the predominant forces in American culture. The generations of engineers, food preparers, artists and executives that built these forces should be appreciated and respected as individuals.
However, virtually anything in excess, even the best of intentions, ultimately leads to harm. Aristotle described this concept thousands of years ago; he said moderation was the key. This is true on almost all plains, from basic biochemistry to the balanced life of the healthy individual to moderation in cultural norms.
As technological innovations and large corporations have provided easier access to convenience, better taste and attractive entertainment, the individuals of modernized nations have lost a sense of self. Self-responsibility has decreased, and along with it, feelings of self-worth, self-education, and self-care. Most people realize it, but do they take the red pill, or the blue pill-the metaphor laid out ironically, in the hit movie, The Matrix. Is their really even a choice anymore? With such convenience and short-term pleasures laid before us, is it possible to deny some of them to plan for balanced health and happiness, across one's own lifespan, or beginning with the lives of our youth?
We'd like to think so. With the same success in social change as a Fortune 100 company like the ones previously mentioned, we'd like to help people to live healthier, happier lifestyles, in part by delivering another message from The Matrix: Temei Dosce, or Know Thyself. Youth can be inspired, and we want to help them discover self-responsibility--self-worth--by helping them, a lot of them, to individually plan and partake in their health and lifestyle.
The problems of excess in modern nations seem in focus at present: obesity, depression and violence epidemics, to name a few. By facilitating healthy physical activity, nutrition, relaxation, sleep and drug awareness, Fitness Forward hopes to reduce the incidence of these problems. However, we do not want to swing the pendulum too far in the opposite direction, and increase the incidence of anorexia, for example. Henry Ford did not account for the impact of cars on our environment and our daily lives. It was probably hard for him to imagine that driving in America would one day contribute to the obesity epidemic now at hand. He might wanted to have adapted the organization over time, but, with so many invested in a company, it is hard to save for the future by moving away from the bread and butter product line of today. Many are quick to blame large corporations for our individual problems, another example of the decline in self-responsibility. But, as fast as they are at moving product, large companies are slow moving giants when it comes to change. They care though too-balancing shareholder demands with social responsibility, even Ford, McDonald's, Coke and Disney are carefully developing or selling hybrid cars, premium salads, bottled water and more 'active' entertainment. Hopefully, organized science, new technology, forward-thinking executives, empowered customers and Fitness Forward will help to make such businesses even more rapidly responsive to social concerns.
It may sound ridiculous for such a young organization to be thinking about the history of such large organizations. But, the same can be said of any startup organization. We'd like to use history as our guide, and there is no point in ignoring it now. We want to remain dynamic, and hold true to our mission of healthy lifestyles in youth, not to our programs or products, which may no longer be relevant or provide the utility that they do today, in the future. We want to meet the needs of our constituents, of our youth, with the compassion of a grassroots non-profit, but the reliability and presence of many large corporations.
Furthermore, we harness our vitality from our youth. Our creativity, excitement and productivity, and idealistic honesty rest on the youth of those that started, and still play an active role in the organization. Fitness Forward's youth is tempered by its reputable and senior scientific advisory group and future Board of Directors. Such guidance allows Fitness Forward to translate empathy and into effective cooperation and partnership with communities and individuals, to achieve our healthy lifestyles mission. In achieving our mission, we also hope to showcase the often underutilized capabilities of young leaders, intermingled with senior wisdom, to effect positive change.