Step Into "What's Next" with Integrity and Intention
Art transforms culture. Art elevates and enhances generations. Philosophy and jazz are just two examples of art that changed the culture in which they were born.
Yet when these arts were dragged into the halls of academia to be dissected and disseminated, they died. Sure, you can argue that within the halls of academia philosophy and jazz are on life support. But in the popular context, they are all but extinguished.
This isn't a rant against teachers. Teachers matter. In fact, teachers are vital. If you want to learn anything worth doing, you must learn from those who already do it. But you don't have to go get schooled in an academic institution to learn about the art of living or how to swing.
In fact, I'm asserting you shouldn't.
In order to systematize, institutionalize, and monetize a subject, academics take it apart, prioritize the pieces, and codify them into a curriculum. They put the subject under glass. Nothing thrives under glass or this kind of...
Contemplating life's big questions can make you really uncomfortable. But if you seek meaning and significance, it's worth it.
Here are some that I've asked myself many times:
And the answers I arrive at are never final. They change with the situations, the scenery, and the souls I'm surrounded by through each season of my life.
Here's a process you may find helpful for assessing your current level of satisfaction with important aspects of your life and how well balanced it currently is.
There are questions worth asking yourself and processes worth considering.
What questions are you asking yourself today? What process are you using to answer them?
Keep Flying Higher!
BTW, in my upcoming book, Endeavor: Step Into What's Next with Integrity and Intention, I begin with these three questions:
In the game of life, are you playing a finite game or an infinite game?
James Carse's short book about this is worth tracking down and reading.
The Finite Game Approach to Life
A finite game has clear rules and ends with clear winners and clear losers.
Winning a finite game of life means following the rules. Do as you're told, get schooled, get a job, get promoted, get married, have kids, get a big house, buy a lot of stuff, etc. This game ends in fortune and status.
That is if you win.
But in order for you and your "team" to win, others and their team must lose.
You know people who are playing the finite game of life. Are they the happiest, healthiest, and most human folks you know?
A finite game isn't very satisfying because it's out of alignment with our natural impulse to present, grateful, and serve others.
A Different Approach - The Infinite Game of Life
An infinite game has a different intent, to be able to keep playing. This can only happen if...
What's your relationship with adversity? What's your posture when faced with a problem? How about your mindset when misfortune comes to call?
I say, "Bring it!"
Seriously, life's inevitable trials and tribulations are opportunities.
"It is difficulties that show what people are." - Epictetus
Having trouble finding your virtue? Your moral compass? Need to get back to first principles and your guiding values? Struggle and trouble reveal who you really are, and help inform the better you. Even in defeat or failure, you can cultivate character and resilience.
"You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it." - Maya Angelou
Don't flee or hide from tough or trying times. Seek them out. Embrace them.
"Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better." - Samuel Beckett
You may well...
Is a sure thing worth pursuing?
What dream or desire would you pursue if its achievement was guaranteed? Go ahead, dream big. Tap your deepest desire.
Now, would an assurance really guarantee your pursuit of that dream or desire? I don't think so.
Work that's worth it can't come with a guarantee because it's the striving that infuses it with meaning and value. Leaning into the work with curiosity and courage helps you forge meaning. Leaping into the arena builds character and resiliency.
Facing fear and uncertainty sharpens the focus and cuts through the noise. The struggle matters because it measures the worth of the work and helps you build its (and your), identity.
You don't need a guarantee, you need to get going. What's stopping you? I guarantee it's not a lack of assurance.
Keep flying higher!
In any endeavor that matters, it's one of the most important questions you must ask yourself. "Is this worth it?"
When do you hang on? When is the right time to let go? These are big, hairy, wicked questions to which there is no absolute answer and rarely a clear one. Turns out, however, that an answer lies in your attachment to your work and the stories you tell yourself about it.
Creative’s of all stripes (and you are a creative), struggle with attachment. You love your work and those you do it with and for. You can’t help but fall in love with both the work and the people.
Which makes it really hard to quit and walk away, even when doing so will serve both your best interests and those of the people you work with and for. Seth Godin speaks frequently to these issues. His advice? "Ignore sunk costs" and "Recognize the Dip."
Sunk Costs are investments made in the past that were poorly conceived, are outdated, or aren’t serving you or your...
It's a big, bold, hairy, wicked question. "What are you doing to save the world?"
My guess is that most would answer with something like, "Me? You're asking me? What can I possibly do to save the planet?"
So, I asked the question on my Facebook Profile last Wednesday. I must say, I'm really surprised, and heartened, by the answers so far!
Most of the responses reveal that people are doing what they can. Small, significant acts that are making a difference. What's more, their not "random acts of kindness." They're intentional choices made with empathy and done with generosity.
I assert that this is one of our deepest inherent human impulses, to serve others and the world at large.
We're not the thoughtless, selfish, narcissistic creatures corporate media and marketers treat us as. There's plenty of ancient wisdom that supports this assertion.
"What injures the hive injures the bee." - Marcus Aurelius, Meditations 6.54
"Do unto others as you would have them do...
Certainty and confidence are over-rated and the enemies of creativity. I take some flak for asserting this, but I stand by that assertion.
Here's the deal. Creativity is about change. Creativity is about innovation. Creativity is about risk. Creativity is an act of faith driven by an impulse that things can be improved.
Creative acts are executed with the understanding that they might not work. Failure is a distinct and real possibility. And yet, you, creative being that you are, generously lean in and bravely leap into a possibility "as if" there's a better way.
Creative requires courage. The courage of conviction and the courage to step into and influence what happens next. Curiosity, coupled with courage, creates change.
Certainty and confidence, on the other hand, are tied in the tried and true and the status quo. Certainty and confidence are earned by mastering information, systems, and structures that are firmly established.
But far too often...
I can't remember which book Seth Godin references cruft, but the metaphor is compelling,
Cruft Hall is a building on the campus of Harvard University that housed the Physics Department's radar lab during World War II. As late as the early 1990s, unused technical equipment could be seen stacked in front of the windows of Cruft Hall.
"Cruft" became a term coders use to describe outdated, unnecessary, and useless code that accumulates as new features are added to existing features are modified within the software. It slows down and diminishes the efficiency of the software's function by making it more difficult and time-consuming for the code to execute its purpose.
The thing about cruft is that it happens slowly and over time. You don't notice it from update to update. But at some point, you realize that your computer or device just isn't performing like it used to.
Creeping cruft is an insidious and frustrating problem that needs to be addressed in our lives and work as often,...
"Lead someone to the truth and you will find that they can follow." - Epictetus
Lead or follow? It's actually not an either/or choice. We can do one or the other in various roles and circumstances or we can do both simultaneously. The essential thing is to do so with a clear motivation, intention, and aspiration.
Whether you are leading, following (or both), here are some considerations:
Leaders need followers and followers need leaders. Leadership isn't based on authority and followership isn't based on subordination. Both are active roles based on trust, shared ideas, and mutual...