Among the vast options every day, how does one choose well? Should I observe guardrails and steer down the center of the easy path? If I can see guardrails which are clearly “that would be, or create, a true problem” and “that would be a quagmire of ongoing struggle”, why would I ever want to not steer down the middle of that path?
And finally, some problems get better if we’re willing to talk about them. Some situations, on the other hand, simply get worse when we focus our energy and community on them.
Competence is how good you are when there is something to gain. Character is how good you are when there is nothing to gain. People will reward you for competence. But people will only love you for your character.
This caught my eye on a bright sunny day, as we approach the cold of winter (here in the Northern Hemisphere.) Sure, the blue of the sky and the orange of the leaf is a nice found-composition. But what I really like is the implication of the leaf being captured by the already-dead whatever-that-plant-was. As always: questions, connections, and open loops to ponder; no clear conclusions though.
I’m deep into NO!vember and of course the biggest reduction in overload is the practice of not adding more things. But I’m finding some snowball effect too: As I see the pile evaporating… as I’m not adding more things… I’m feeling more inspired and motivated to pick off one or two problem things.
One thing I will say about these lists: they are written as a way of fortune and future-telling and anticipating what a technology might do. But you often don’t know the answers to a lot of the questions until you adopt the technology.
Kleon’s post is a significant collection of things (people who’ve dug into technology, lists of questions as way to evaluate technology, and more) for evaluating technology. But this point he makes at the very end is critical: Sometimes, you just can’t tell until you try it.
I hate that about technology. In fact, I use it as a key test of my own. If I cant’ tell without trying it, then it’s not worth my time trying.
Hayley Chilvers joins Craig Constantine to dissect the essence of movement, and to unravel the intricate balance between self-expression and engaging with others.
Hayley and Craig talk about movement and podcasting, and the fine balance between personal authenticity and audience engagement. They explore challenges of remaining true to oneself while considering the audience’s experience. Hayley draws from her recent business development experience, emphasizing the importance of authenticity in establishing sustainable ventures.
[…] you can’t build something, I think, sustainably off something that isn’t authentic. I think it needs to be an extension of yourself, especially if it’s you that you’re essentially selling… [if it’s] your, sort of, craft or your skill. That’s something that I find really interesting: The balance between what actually is good practice and what actually is just uniquely you.
~ Hayley Chilvers from 21:30
The conversation navigates the complexities of podcasting for hosts and guests, contemplating how the recording environment shapes the natural flow of conversation. Throughout, they ponder the dichotomy between creating solely for oneself and tailoring content for an audience, with Hayley emphasizing the responsibility one holds when connecting with listeners or viewers.
Movement and Personal Growth: The essence of movement as a means of personal growth, highlighting concepts of freedom, growth, and connection within movement practices.
Entrepreneurial Authenticity: The importance of authenticity in entrepreneurial ventures, pointing out that sustainable business development hinges on aligning personal authenticity with the brand’s essence.
Authenticity in Podcasting: Balancing personal authenticity with engaging the audience was discussed, emphasizing the importance of being genuine while considering the listener’s experience.
These perspectives are not just useful literary devices. They are core practical perspectives that we adopt toward the world and our place in it. As we pursue our projects and pleasures, interact with others, and share public institutions and meanings, we are constantly shifting back and forth among these three practical perspectives, each bringing different elements of a situation to salience and highlighting different features of the world and our place in it as good or bad.
Am I happy? Am I generous? Am I contributing to the world? The moral struggle we face is finding a way to honestly and accurately answer ‘Yes’ to all three of these questions at once, over the course of a life that presents us with many obstacles to doing so.
Just yesterday, in a conversation for a podcast, I was responding to a guest who asked my opinion… I don’t think I’ve ever expressed what I said so clearly, when I suggested balancing the first-person and second-person points of view. And here I am one day later staring at something I originally read months ago, crafting a blog post… and *POW* this quite philosophical essay is talking about balancing the three perspectives of the first-, second-, and third-person. But, sorry, now I’ve buried the lead.
Am I happy? Am I generous? Am I contributing to the world? This group of 3 questions is clearly yet another guiding principle straight from the How to Be a Human manual. (Which I feel compelled to point out I’m certain exists despite my never having received a copy upon arrival in this human form.)
It matters that I start something. I don’t have to start everything; That’d be tragic. I don’t have to start many things, nor even more than one thing. But it matters that I start something. The knowledge is in the doing of that something. It matters that I go through contemplation (choosing just the right something), then into commitment, and then… that’s where I often struggle.
I’d like to propose a different view: that struggle is the place of growth, learning, curiosity, love, creativity. Struggle is an incredible opportunity for being creative.
I struggle when there’s a huge gap between the know-naught starting point, and my being one of those effortless creatives who get stuff done. Those who get stuff done well and demonstrate craftsmanship and care and pride and joy! (Gazing at the horizon,) there’s the thing. I know what it can be. I see how to begin, but I see hills and I know there will be challenges. Don’t turn away. (Gazing at the horizon,) if there’s somewhere I want to be, I need to start walking.
Soisci Porchetta joins Craig Constantine to discuss the significance of the unexpected, creative expression, and faith in transformative practices.
[…] as a student, [you] cannot be spending 90% of your time with me […] for the majority of people, I really am this— like a supplement. Take these organic fresh herbs and go and thrive. But you have to go and hunt your own meat and vegetables and forage and, you know, have your own thing.
~ Soisci around 23:52
Soisci Porchetta and Craig Constantine range from movement practices to the philosophy of learning and the importance of embracing a generalist approach. Soisci shares insights into her experiences with various physical practices, such as Brazilian jiu-jitsu and handstands, highlighting the significance of embodied knowledge and the value of a beginner’s mindset.
It’s really going full circle from: We ditched chairs and, [we] open up the hips and the spine and the ankles and the knees and squat and elongate positions… And I do a lot of stuff on the floor. I’m most comfortable on the floor. But I think, like, if I can’t sit comfortably in a chair, something is not right as well!
~ Soisci Porchetta around 34:14
The conversation gets to the idea of cycles in one’s journey, drawing parallels between the first love for a particular practice and subsequent explorations. Soisci emphasizes the importance of observation, creativity, and faith in navigating diverse practices, providing anecdotes that underscore the transformative power of such perspectives. Their conversation wanders through the intricacies of movement, meditation, and the paradoxes of learning.
Importance of Embodied Knowledge: Soisci underscores the significance of embodied knowledge, drawing parallels between movement practices like Brazilian jiu-jitsu and handstands to highlight the depth that comes from physical engagement rather than mere intellectual understanding.
The Beginner’s Mindset: The conversation emphasizes the value of maintaining a beginner’s mindset, exploring how approaching new practices with openness and curiosity allows for continual growth and prevents the pitfalls of dogmatism.
Observation as a Practice: Soisci advocates for the practice of keen observation, extending beyond the physical to encompass thoughts, feelings, and the environment. The ability to observe is presented as a foundational element in understanding oneself and the world.
The Role of Faith: Faith is discussed not in a religious context but as a trust in the process of learning. Soisci expresses faith in the capacity to learn and adapt, guided by a belief that a path will unfold with observant exploration.
Expression in Movement: Soisci introduces the idea of creative expression within movement practices, emphasizing that creativity is increasingly becoming a vital aspect of their approach to various disciplines.
“I wonder what would happen if I created a daily podcast, and did nothing else— if I didn’t tell anyone, didn’t share on social media, nothing. Just publish the thing every day.” So I went and made it happen, over 1,300 times. The answer to “what if?” is: I would receive a cornucopia of benefits simply from doing the work, even if no one heard a single one of them. I received: practice speaking extemporaneously, lessons in dramatic reading, countless tiny lessons of microphone technique, countless nuanced insights of physiology, and much much more.
Unfortunately, over the years, I became fixated on the least-important part of my original question: Daily.
I think this dynamic, to one degree or another, impacts anyone who has been fortunate enough to experience some success in their field. Doing important work matters and sometimes this requires sacrifices. But there’s also a deep part of our humanity that responds to these successes — and the positive feedback they generate — by pushing us to seek this high at ever-increasing frequencies.
[A]s I write I think about all sorts of things. I don’t necessarily write down what I’m thinking; It’s just that as I write I think about things. As I write, I arrange my thoughts. And rewriting and revising takes my thinking down even deeper paths. No matter how much I write, though, I never reach a conclusion. And no matter how much I rewrite, I never reach the destination. Even after decades of writing, the same still holds true.
There are only two things which seem to work for me: Plain old discipline, and regular, high-intensity exercise. Make a plan. Work the plan. Follow through. I don’t have to finish it all. (That used to be a huge problem too.) Each day, make a plan. And yes, some days the plan is, “today there’s no plan just follow your nose.” Where the mental freedom to believe that’s a good plan is banked during the days with a more plan-looking plan. The exercise acts as a baseline reset.
The result? An inevitable sense of disappointment. A sense that other people are doing better than us. We feel guilt. We feel pressure. We think “Oh, if only I had more money, or a better job, or lived in France where the child care benefits were different, if I had more custody, then things would be good…”
Slowly, daily, my false sense of urgency ratchets up. It’s not healthy, but going out and doing something high intensity resets my personal brand of insanity. Every time I’m in the worst of moods, all I have to do is head out and just start running like I hate myself. (This is rare, but frequent enough that it’s useful to have a strategy ready.) I can go just a couple minutes running like I stole something, and then my crazy-brain starts bargaining… okay, uh, if we can just slow down a bit, I promise to stop acting crazy. I’m pretty sure that’s not the best way to deal with things, but it’s definitely a coping strategy that works well. And the side effects are awesome.
Basically, when you get to my age, you’ll really measure your success in life by how many of the people you want to have love you actually do love you. I know people who have a lot of money, and they get testimonial dinners and they get hospital wings named after them. But the truth is that nobody in the world loves them. If you get to my age in life and nobody thinks well of you, I don’t care how big your bank account is, your life is a disaster.
Sometimes I sit in a chair on the patio in the afternoon sun. If I’m just the right combination of tired, relaxed, and comfortable, and if the wind, sun, temperature, and soundscape are just so, I can drift into a trance. Time passes. After which, I have no clear sense of whether it was a moment, or ten minutes. It doesn’t seem that time had stopped, rather it feels like time had ceased to affect me. Did I breath? Did I move? Did I even think in that time?
It’s not only that our experiences of space are different. Our experiences of time are likely different, too. We think about the passage of time through our terrestrial experience of unidirectional motion through space – our metaphors of time are almost all grounded in the way our bodies move forward through the environment. Given this fact, how would an octopus, who can easily see and move in all directions, conceptualise time?
Sometimes I find things on the Internet and there’s a clear takeaway for me, or a clear new-to-me idea or connection. This isn’t one of those times. Instead, I dipped into this article one day, came out the other end aware that it had to be included in a post.