Step 2

People – especially really smart people – have a tendency to attempt solving big problems (like earning a profit) without first solving more basic ones (like how you’ll get there). This is why the “Step 1, Step 3” joke resonates. And it’s why understanding the hierarchy of earning profit is so important.

~ Morgan Housel from, https://www.collaborativefund.com/blog/the-hierarchy-of-earning-profit/

Oh, crikey! That’d be me. I too–frequently get frustrated when my “awesome idea” isn’t received the way I’d like it to be. I think it’s exactly the same step–two problem that Housel points out. I’m jumping over step 2. But in cases where I try to figure out step 2… *crickets* It occurs to me that there’s another way to address the issue: Stop chasing ideas that solve a problem that I have, and instead try to chase an idea that solves a problem someone else has.

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The gap

The Wrights’ story shows something more common than we realize: There’s often a big gap between changing the world and convincing people that you changed the world.

~ Morgan Housel from, http://www.collaborativefund.com/blog/when-you-change-the-world-and-no-one-notices/

On one hand, we could simply define “changed the world” to be when people have actually noticed, or when the change is wide-spread. On the other hand, it’d be much more interesting to acknowledge that the change happens at the moment of the advance—the moment the Wright Brothers figured out controlled, powered flight. (It’s the “controlled” part that really made them first.) The challenge for us creatives… for those of us out trying to change the world… is how do we act during the gap. Do we keep working, quietly changing the world further? Do we stop working and start marketing? Or… something else? To quote William Gibson: “The future is here, it’s just not evenly distributed yet.”

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Cyclical?

In some fields our knowledge and discoveries are seamlessly passed down across generations. In others, it’s fleeting. Knowledge in some fields is cumulative. In other fields it’s cyclical (at best).

There are occasional periods when society learns that debt can be dangerous, greed backfires, and more money won’t solve all your problems. But it quickly forgets and moves on. Again and again. Generation after generation.

I think there are a few reasons this happens, and what it means we have to accept.

~ Morgan Housel from, https://collabfund.com/blog/cumulative-vs-cyclical-knowledge/

I spend significant time worrying about how to learn from all the experiences I have. Worrying, of course, is not good. When I stop and honestly assess however, I realize that I do a really good job closing loops and bringing what I’ve learned forward into my ongoing work and life.

And then I read pieces like this. If humanity keeps making these cyclical reset-lurches, forgetting hard-won and important lessons, does that bode well for my ability to keep learning and improving? Or is the problem the inter-personal, or inter-generational learning?

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slip:4a123.

73 years in 5,000 words

If you fell asleep in 1945 and woke up in 2018 you would not recognize the world around you. The amount of growth that took place during that period is virtually unprecedented. […] And if you tried to think of a reasonable narrative of how it all happened, my guess is you’d be totally wrong. Because it isn’t intuitive, and it wasn’t foreseeable 73 years ago.

~ Morgan Housel from, http://www.collaborativefund.com/blog/how-this-all-happened/

The story this tells is one I’d never seen woven together this clearly. Over many years I’d heard each of the pieces which are included, and this lays out a coherent story that looks like a Chutes and Ladders playing board. (To my astonishment, I just learned that the beloved children’s board game I’ve mentioned is a dumbed-down version of a very old game called Snakes and Ladders.) If history is any teacher—and it is, because history rhymes—I will certainly be unable to imagine the actual story of the coming years writ large. That’s not a bad thing! Be sure you at least scroll to the bottom of that article as the author is optimistic. As am I.

In a completely different vein, as I was adding tags to this post I made an interesting discovery. I always create a tag for the person who wrote whatever-it-is that I’m referencing. I was surprised to find out that I already have a tag for Housel despite my not recognizing the name. Click the tag below, as it turns out there’s another gem from 2018.

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Sometimes things happen

People’s lives are a reflection of the experiences they’ve had and the people they’ve met, a lot of which are driven by luck, accident, and chance. The line between bold and reckless is thinner than people think, and you cannot believe in risk without believing in luck, because they are two sides of the same coin. They are both the simple idea that sometimes things happen that influence outcomes more than effort alone can achieve.

~ Morgan Housel from, http://www.collaborativefund.com/blog/the-psychology-of-money/

This is a long read. It was worth every minute that it took me to read it twice.

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