Tuning

Tuned guitars sound so much better than ones out of tune.

Every guitar has to be routinely tuned. It isn’t the default setting for a guitar to stay tuned. You have to make slight turns to the strings as you play.

The more you play, the more you tune.

Musicians are always making slight adjustments again and again and again. You’re not surprised or caught of guard by this. It is expected.

Choose your metaphor here.

Guts

I loved this performance from Edward Snowden. Whether you agree with what he did or not in the past, this is the type of guts we need to see more in our culture.

Bravery can be jumping in front of a bullet. But more often than not, it is pushing back against the waive of injustice that is all around us.

Speaking up to voice inequality isn’t a gift. It is a skill. Most people, except perhaps psychopaths, can see when someone is hurting. We talk about when no one is watching, will you do the right thing? But I think it is the other way around.

When everyone is watching will you have the voice to speak up?

Finding something to talk about

“That commute this morning was terrible.”

“The internet is out!”

“I overcooked the chicken.”

We find things to talk about so we can have a shared experience. Often the choice is something negative because it’s easy to spot something that is out of place.

The problem though isn’t to find something to talk about. It is finding something that is worth talking about.

Capturing an audience, telling a story that will change the emotion in the room–that is a skill. Talking about the weather isn’t going to get anyone to re-examine their choices.

Godwin’s Law

Godwin’s Law states that the longer an internet conversation goes the more likely someone will make a comparison to Nazi’s or Hitler.

While not scientifically proven it merited an addition to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2012.

If we were to take someone from Nazi Germany and put them in front of a computer and the internet what do you think they would notice?

It’s an interesting thought experiment. But I think we would be surprised to hear them say how much outrage there is. One reaction after another.

Outrage is nothing new but it might be the drug of choice for 2021.

The burden of truth

Theologians confess the toll it takes to be in the world but not of it.

And those on the other end also think that it is their job to save the world too.

Doesn’t matter where you are on the spectrum.

There is always a weight with self-actualization.

Seeing it through

A participant in one of our classes commented, “The trail was harder than the climb.”

The reason wasn’t because the trail was objectively harder. (It wasn’t.) It was because this particular student felt like they had a choice to opt out of the climbing. And for whatever reason felt like they needed to finish the approach.

Of course, it always feels easier when we have a choice to opt out.

Opting out may be a sign of privilege but often we use it as a crutch.

How will you ever know your limits if you are never given the opportunity to explore them?

When is the last time you went to the edge and see if you could step over?

If you are looking to push a limit, it’s worth the time to invest in creating a system that makes it harder to back out.

Not many of us choose the stairs when there is an escalator right in front of us.

Flat tires

I’ve never been stuck in the middle of a snowstorm on the way to Cleveland.

But if I did, I’m sure there would be a story behind it.

In fact, it seems that the most memorable stories we have are not when everything went according to plan. It’s usually when Plan A and B are out the window.

“We’re here. Now, how in the world are we going to get ourselves out of this mess?”

It’s the moments of uncertainty that make us feel most alive. Not reassurance that everything is going to be okay. It’s an adventure.

Streaking

Could you eat at least one vegetable today?

How about tomorrow?

How about for the next 100 days?

The first 100 days is the most difficult in building a streak. But once you do, you will find that it is much easier to maintain.

I’ve been blogging every day for five years straight. Of course I don’t want to break this streak now!

I no longer need to decide every day whether or not to blog. I have already made that decision long ago. It is just part of who I am now.

Life is a series of decisions. One decision can alter the course.

Remember Rule #6.

So what?

No one cares more about your product or service or song or book more than you do.

Period. Full stop.

You are not entitled to a 5-star Google Review or for everyone to like what it is you are selling because you worked hard on a project.

If you are making something remarkable, then it needs to be for someone specific.

Since 2008, Kevin Kelly and Mark Frauenfelder have been posting where to find Cool Tools online. Most of those tools are not for everyone. You may not be interested in buying a 500 page book about tools. But someone is.

Instead of building something and then finding customers to buy it, find a customer and build something for them.

Even better, what kind of story am I telling that will resonate with this person I am trying to serve? What are their wants, passion, dreams, fears? What are their hopes and desires? What do they want to change? How can I create status?

Then you are on your way.

Crisis of faith

I don’t remember the day I was born or taking my first steps or speaking my first words.

Yet, I can be sure it happened.

Because people I trust told me it happened.

We have more faith than what we give ourselves credit for.

So why do we find faith a difficult subject to talk about in our culture? It is faith that helps us build a world that doesn’t exist yet. It’s faith that keeps us going on a project that has a high chance of failure. It is faith that helps pull us through a tragedy.

The problem in our culture today is once we lose faith in our own abilities we will turn to others to make decisions for us.

We need more faith not only in ourselves and our own abilities to solve difficult problems but we also need to put more faith in humanity that we can overcome the problems of the past and future.