Example 1: La trahison des images also known as the The Treachery of Images by René Magritte.
Ceci n’est pas une pipe. Translation: This is not a pipe.
Example 2: Liar’s Paradox
This sentence is false.
I am lying.
Everything I say is false.
Every person is a liar.
If this sentence is true, then the sentence is false, but if the sentence is false, then it must be true…
Example 3: *Zeno’s Paradox
The idea that motion is but an illusion. As Aristotle put it, locomotion must arrive at the halfway stage before it arrives at the goal. Eventually, you are stuck in an infinite loop.
*Thank you Martin Grandjean for the image.
Other examples: Russell’s Paradox, Paradox of Court, The Crocodile Dilemma and a list of others.
The bottom line: There are things in our world that are totally true but cannot be proven. Sometimes we are stuck on difficult problems. Problems that are infinite in length. Instead of being caught in a loop, humans have a special ability to jump out of the system to ask why, to think about contradictions. Mechanical thinking is great for improving yields, crunching big data. Meta-thinking, the idea of thinking about thinking, helps us understand our place in the world, meaning and ultimately why we do the things we do.
And neither have you.
Because you can’t use anger to change the way how others perceive the world.
The recipient will only walk away from the conversation further cementing themselves into believing what they know. They are saying to themselves that they didn’t do a good enough job to get their point across. They’ll say you were being a jerk.
It gets us nowhere.
We are far more likely to have constructive dialogue when we recognize intent that we are all seekers of truth, that we can be persuadable in the face of evidence. Most of the time, we want the same thing.
We may not change someone’s mind (not all at once anyway). At the very least we can become more informed with how other’s see.
You will benefit from the work you do. Your body of work gets stronger. Your posture improves. You get better at overcoming Resistance. You learn to dance with the fear.
Will everyone else?
Until someone can register, there is no benefit. Until we read it online, there is no urgency to act. Until we enroll, there is no change.
No one will benefit from the work you do until you ship it. Someone has to see, enroll, experience in order for change to happen.
You are filled with a lot of ideas. Some are good and many will be awful. But ideas don’t spread until we share them with others.
All at once?
Unlikely. No one is filled drinking water from a fire hose.
The kind of change that usually sticks is small and incremental. Day in and day out. Drip by drip.
Change makers on occasion need to be reminded to lower our expectations. I’m not talking about lowering the bar. No, our job is to help people to see, to break through false limits, to elevate and leap, to help someone change their mind, to help someone do something they never thought they could do.
Sometimes though, we confuse hope with expectations. Fill your heart with hope. Hope is what drives us to a better world. But don’t expect people to care as much as you do. Don’t expect people to follow reason (no matter how much evidence you present). These types of expectations can lead to disappointment. Disappointment derails the work.
Change is a process, not a destination.
To be clear: You are not your career.
What you do outside your job is far more important than what you do inside.
A big one.
You might have messed up again for the second or tenth time.
The thing is…
You are the actor in your play, the writer of your own story. You can choose a different narrative, right now in this instance.
Just because you had one bad chapter, doesn’t mean the story is over.
You’re a human, not a mistake.
Reciprocity is this for that. If I spend this much and you spend that much, we will be even.
Gifts are all about charity and generosity. Gifts leave a void in the recipient, an unequal balance.
The power of a gift is that they stay in motion. But once a gift stops moving, it becomes a commodity.
Commodities are accomplished through work. Work is what we do by the hour. It starts and ends at a specific time. Money is the objective.
Labor, on the other hand, is harder to quantify. Labor is what awakens the soul. It’s emotional and is generously given away.
The best gifts, the ones we remember, are full of labor. That is why your daughter’s picture that she spent hours putting together feels more valuable than a slightly bigger TV.
Gifts are what bring us closer together. They tighten the circle. They change us. Don’t stop today. Keep them moving. Continue to share that spirit. Every day.
Real generosity never goes unnoticed.