The problem with everything being relative

One of the biggest traps we see in the culture today is this idea that everything is relative.

It’s dangerous to imply that there isn’t a moral standard or absolute truth for each and every one of us to discover.

Often, we hear the phrase, “It’s all relative,” as some sort of intellectual argument. A way to dismiss other perspectives so we can protect our own world view. It’s a form of hiding.

Hiding because we don’t want to be accountable for the years of mistakes. Hiding because we would have to change. Hiding because we’re afraid. We’re afraid of consequences and shame. Hiding because we would have to say we were wrong.

The moment we abandoned this search for absolute truth—the kind of truth that once was and always has been—we see the degradation of family and culture. While it’s great to learn from your own mistakes. Wisdom is learning from others:

(Note: I’m not talking about those with clinical struggles. That’s a different discussion.)

If we are going to build a culture that we can all be proud of we can’t justify or excuse or dismiss bad behavior by simply saying everything is relative. Not when we’re trying to solve one of the biggest public health crisis in history. We can’t live in a world where everyone gets to pick their own truth. All it does is take us one more step further down the road we don’t want to be on. Making it even more difficult to turn around when the instinct is to keep moving forward. Which perpetuates the cycle of bad decision-making: one bad decision leads to another.

Sure, it’s natural to think that saying ‘no’ is a form of control. People don’t want to have their rights and agency and freedoms infringed upon. But freedom isn’t defined by those who can (or are allowed to or have the right to) pick up a cigarette. No. Freedom is the ability to put it down.

Opinion

Everything has an opinion.

Everything.

Your family, your friends, your co-workers, and even products.

Nowadays, you can’t even buy a sandwich without hearing what its stance is on the economy or the environment or politics.

Some thoughts:

  1. You can have an opinion. But if it’s not for them, it’s not for them. Be okay that not everyone is going to agree with what you have to say. Not everyone is going to get the joke.
  2. If you are going to have an opinion, might as well make it a good one. An educated and informed decision of why you believe what you believe. Reading and writing will help articulate your position. And yeah, you will be judged. But great work never happens without critics criticizing. So stand up and stand out if you believe it’s right.
  3. The good news is living in a digital age you can scroll to the next article. The bad news is maybe you never find anything that will challenge your world view. The kind of stuff that makes you think differently. Where growth can take place.

Constraints

A few years ago, Marcus “Notch” Persson began developing a video game as a side project. While lacking time, money, man-power, hardware, and other resources. What he had an abundance of was vision, imagination, and grit.

With over 70 million copies sold, Minecraft has become the third best-selling video game of all time. In addition, Microsoft purchased the franchise for a whopping $2.5 billion.

How did Minecraft become one of the most successful video game franchises of all time with throwback 90’s graphics?

Marcus Persson, or “Notch”, began developing the game as a side project. Some of the constraints included: scarcity of time (full-time work), money, man power, hardware, and other resources. What he had an abundance of was vision, imagination, and grit.

These constraints were opportunities. The beauty of the game is not because he wanted to be the best in the world in terms of graphics. He focused on being the best in the world by tapping into what all human beings want to experience: to create something new (communities, resources, projects, buildings).

It didn’t matter that the game had throwback 90’s graphics. Too much time is spent these days polishing edges instead of doing the work that matters. While the graphics may be described as “poor” (depending on your view), the experience is rich. The constraints of the blocky graphics have enhanced the game experience not taken away from it.

Notch used what he had available and turned Minecraft into something worth mentioning, something worth experiencing despite the restraints of the project.

100x

We have come so far in the last ten years. If I had to put a number on it, I would say we are 10x. 10x faster, 10x cheaper, 10x better.

But what happens when we add a zero to that number?

Sure. It’s inevitable. But there are many people spending an enormous amount of time fighting the wrong battle. Instead of defending the status-quo—fighting for average jobs for average pay—change it. Let work become more digitized and commoditized. Let work become more efficient and more perfect. Let work be something we do on the clock and get paid by the hour.

It’s a race. A race to the bottom. One that you can’t win. Are you able to out Walmart Walmart? At some point, instant is instant. And you can’t find something cheaper than free.

There is an alternative though. At the same time, a door is opening for entrepreneurs, small business owners, and free lancers. It’s a door for anyone willing to do labor.

Labor can continue to scale. Labor is the human work. The imperfect kind. Labor is about kindness and respect.

And if you find some encouragement in your labor, you might find the strength to keep going. To push through the Dip. And if you can find a tribe and solve interesting problems, you might just get hooked.

The world will always need more passionate people—the ones who are willing to do the human work that a machine can never replace.

That’s a battle worth fighting.

Bigger badges

Leadership doesn’t come after years of waiting to be picked.

Following instructions and following the map doesn’t develop your ability to leap, to stand up, or stand out.

No. It’s about incremental steps of taking responsibility without any authority.

No one cares about the badge you carry. Just whether you are ready to assemble the tribe, take us where we want to go, and getting out-of-the-way.

Casting call

A hero hears the alarm, gets up and says: I am going to go out there and kill it today. Then I am going to drag it back to the cave.

Maybe you are the victim and your first reaction was: Why is this happening to me? I am not a morning person. Leave me alone.

Maybe you are the villain and by an act of self-sabotage you hit the snooze button on your alarm and then you turn it off and maybe you turn off your spouse’s alarm. A villain goes out to break the rules so that others can’t play.

How do you wake up in the morning?

Stand fast

And walk uprightly.

You have more power than you think.

It’s a shame that you didn’t grown up in the best neighborhood or had parents that didn’t take enough interest in your education or that you made mistakes in the past.

But it would be a waste to go another day without living to your full potential.

If you don’t like the way your story is being written, then change it.

Yesterday would have been a good day to start. Since you can’t go back, now would be the next best thing.

The only thing stopping us from learning, improving, and getting better in the developed world is us.

We have more access to more information than ever before. Use it.