Primary and secondary questions

Life only has a couple of primary questions we must answer. For example:

Who are you?

Where do I come from?

Why am I here?

Where am I going?

What am I suppose to accomplish?

And then there are infinite number of secondary questions:

How do I provide for my family?

What makes me happy?

Where will I go to school?

Who do I vote for?

Should I vaccinate my kids?

Should marijuana be legalized? 

Answering the primary questions can help guide us in the never-ending string of secondary questions. But it doesn’t mean you will be able to answer everything question that comes your way.

In fact, secondary questions will sometimes contradict primary answers.

That is tension that each of us has to learn to live with. We are all a walking contradiction.

If you want to build a house, build a strong foundation. Strong foundations are built by asking and answering life’s most pressing questions.

Is ego really the problem?

Sometimes.

Sometimes it can get in the way.

The thing is, everyone walks out the door with an ego. It takes ego to make an assertion, to see a problem and say “I’m going to change this.”

Because who are you to decide? Who put you in charge?

The problem with ego is when it begins to effect the relationships around us.

Steve Jobs is considered by many a genius. A once in a generation. He had the vision to change the way we think of well designed products. The iPhone is only ten years old and look how it has drastically changed the way we live.

And he was at times extremely mean, rude, wrong, unworkable, fallible…all can be contributed to an ego.

Ego is a useful tool until it isn’t.

Ego helps us strain the boundaries of what we think is possible. Ego helps us innovate, to take chances, to make change happen. Ego helps us challenge the status-quo.

And…

Ego keeps us from listening to feedback. Ego is what causes divorce, or to cheat on our partner, or continues to justify our addictions. Ego makes us believe that our first world emergencies are actually full of risk.

Ego is our friend. Ego is our enemy. Ego is a double edge sword.

Fuel

At the beginning, especially in our youth, carrying a chip on your shoulder can be extremely useful. It can get you pretty far, pretty fast.

It can also give you that edge you need to stand up eight times after being knocked down seven.

But overtime, that fuel doesn’t burn so cleanly.

It begins to affect the relationships around us. Which is a problem when you share your life with someone.”Me against the world” doesn’t allow enough space for people to come in.

So, when the going gets tough, you lump the people who actually care about you with the rest of the world.

“They must not be with me, therefore they must be against me.”

This is incredibly short-sighted. Because, as it turns out, not everyone is seeking your demise. Not everyone wants to see you fail.

Once you decide that this journey is worth sharing, it’s time to switch gears.

Become passionate

They say to go find something to be passionate about then you’ll never have to work a day in your life.

But what if instead of looking for a passion, decide to be passionate about the work you do and then it won’t feel like work.

Because if you are waiting to find something to be passionate about before you begin, you’ll be waiting for a very long time.

Don’t wait for passion. Passion isn’t waiting you.

The way that good conquers evil

All that evil seeks to do is to destroy agency.

Human trafficking, government corruption, addiction, segregation, denying education, debt, genocide, war, terrorism…all limit our ability to choose.

For good to conquer evil, we must be willing to preserve our agency. We do this by exercising it. By putting the fear to the side and doing things that matter.

When someone chooses to raise their status-quo (or someone else’s), when someone chooses to create rather than destroy, with every act of generosity…the arc bends a little further towards justice, dignity, opportunity, respect.

And as the arc bends, good conquers evil a little more.

The benefit of more reps

The biggest advantage you have for going unnoticed is that you get to continue to improve your craft.

If no one read this blog, then at least I can say I had the guts to publish. At least I can say, that writer’s block is a myth. If it doesn’t work, I can publish again and make it better.

Google when it first started didn’t want too many users. Because they knew with more time it got better.

There is no promise that the work you do will eventually be noticed, that you’ll eventually be able to pay the bills with your craft…but with intentional practice over a long period of time (let’s say ten years) you can get better than you are today.

But will you get so much better that you’ll eventually get published? Is it for all for nothing then to devote ten years and never get published, never make the NY Times Bestseller list, to never have it pay the bills? We can’t expect these types of outcomes with more practice.

Instead of saying With practice I’ll get better, what if instead we say, With practice I’ll feel better.

No matter the results, you can point to another rep.

If what you do is done for love you will always find a way to do it.

Why do you insist on keeping these limitations?

“Well, I’m not good enough.”

No one ever is.

Jackson Pollock literally threw paint on a canvas.

Marcel Duchamp ignited the Dada movement and flipped the art world upside down with Fountain—a urinal with the words R. Mutt written on the side of it.

Bob Dylan still can’t sing after 60 years of practice.

Brene Brown sought after therapy before coming the world expert in shame.

Scott Harrison was a night club promoter (and a drug addict) before starting Charity:water.

All great artists have great flaws.

For us? We hold onto these limitations because we believe it keeps us off the hook.

It’s never quite the right time, it’s never quite the right moment, we always feel unprepared, we’re uncomfortable with the responsibility, we lack the training and know-how…

What if instead we decided to just do it anyway. Do it because it must be done.

Don’t wait for limitations to go away before you begin. Create despite your limitations.

If not you, then who?