Nothing lasts forever

That’s the problem.

We try to make everything that is labeled good or pleasant last forever. We squeeze tighter, hold onto moments longer than we should.

As a result, we fall victim to believing, “Whoa is me! How can such a thing happen? Everything was going so well.”

Intuitively, we know the ups can’t last, and yet, when we fall in love with the attachment of “good” outcomes, the “bad” seems way worse.

Bad isn’t worse because of the suffering, the pain and affliction. No, we make the so-called bad worse because we long for the good.

Paradoxically, those complex challenges are what makes our lives meaningful. It’s not when we are sailing the calm waters but when the torrential storms hit we take action and make memorable experiences.

The good news is the hardships don’t last forever either. Storm clouds always seem to pass.

You can’t solve complex problems with convenient solutions

With every tough decision, the first thing we do as human beings is think What does this look like?

We search for familiarity in an unfamiliar world. We piece together similar scenarios and rehearse in our minds what could possibly happen. All in a hope to create more predictable outcomes.

The problem is, when we begin to believe that problem solving is like choosing off a menu…

Here are your list of options. Now pick. Pick the one that does the least amount of damage or brings the greatest amount of pleasure.

Life isn’t so fixed. There are many choices available with an infinite amount of possibilities and outcomes.

To make things worse, some people will treat their list of options like a dollar menu. Because, Hey, why not pick what is fast, convenient and cheap.

Complex problems need more complex solutions. At least more thought and care than a list of conveniences.

Work and service

I talk about doing the work often on this blog, but what I’m really talking about is service.

Service—not the things you do by the hour for money—no, I’m talking about the kind of acts you do that help bring people closer together.

Jonas Salk freely gave away his cure for polio (worth seven billion dollars today). Salk famously said, “Can you patent the sun?” In that moment, he’s no longer doing work but service.

Each of us can make that shift.

Work is something we have to do. Service, on the other hand, is something we get to do.

How responsibilities grow

Some of us respond to power.

While others by fear.

But how well do we respond to agency?

What’s frightening to think about is the amount of choices each of us have, and yet, we are so quick to pass them along, to let someone else make tough decisions.

Here’s the thing, until you learn how to use the agency you got, the opportunities for more responsibilities are left behind closed doors, untouched.

Responsibilities grow by growing with the responsibilities you got.

We’re all products of our time

600 years ago, Scribes were highly skilled and highly demanded until Gothenburg’s Printing Press made the profession obsolete. The Air Traffic Control Operator didn’t exist until the 1920’s. A Social Media Management degree wasn’t around ten years ago.

No one grew up wishing they could manage internet content six centuries ago. We’re all products of our own generation.

Today, everyone has a chance to be a writer or a producer or an artist.

The road is wide and vast but shrinking. It has never been easier to start your thing. (Tomorrow, may not be the same.)

And yet, with all this freedom, all these choices, all these resources (money, food, tools, supplies), it still isn’t enough.

We choose to be spectators instead of players.

Most scholars will define this generation for the internet but I worry we will become another version of the Lost Generation. Metaphorically, losing ourselves because of the fear of stepping up and standing out.

Learning curves

Skiing isn’t particularly fun the first time you try it. You spend half the day on your back, cold and wet.

And because of this some will say they hate the sport all together.

That maybe true, but for most, the problem is they didn’t stick it out long enough in order to be fun.

It’s not fun when you’re falling every ten feet. It’s fun when you’re skiing fresh powder on a blue bird day.

It’s the same for most adventure sports, jobs, books, new subjects…

The larger the learning the curve the longer it takes to enjoy something.

Echo chambers

After a few clicks, Facebook can remarkably cherry pick specific content that aligns with your worldview. All in a hope to keep you on the hook.

The problem is that it eventually creates an echo chamber. You begin to believe that your feed is a fair representation of what others believe.

The thing is, we all live in some sort of echo chamber.

We rely so heavily on our internal narrative—the story we tell ourselves and how we see the world—because we can’t possibly process it all. All the data, all the facts, all the places, people and things going at the same time.

It’s only natural to create shortcuts.

But after a while those shortcuts backfire. We think that others believe what we believe. We think others will do what we would do. And so, like Facebook, we cherry pick.

[What we choose to see is a reflection of our internal dialogue.]