The future

Rohan Rajiv made a great point the other day about the story of Moderna.

“Two days after the COVID-19 genetic sequence was released on January 11th, the Moderna vaccine was ready. By the time the first American death from COVID-19 was announced, the vaccine was already manufactured and shipped for its Phase I trial. That vaccine was approved by the FDA today (December 19th). It is a giant leap forward for the Moderna team and for the many scientists and technologists who’ve been championing the potential of biotechnology for over a decade. The future is here.”

Until now, the fastest vaccine ever developed was the Mumps vaccine in four years. The COVID-19 vaccine is already being distributed as this posts and it took a fraction of the time. This pandemic is obviously not over but for many we can imagine a light at the end of the tunnel.

As we close the book to 2020, I just want to thank all of the impresarios making history. Their example has showed us:

When we want to work together, we can solve problems.

I choose to believe (and there is plenty of data to support this) that the future is filled with abundance and the arc bends towards justice. As we look ahead, this won’t be last pandemic we face nor is this the end of a whole slew of challenges that we must face (income inequality, civil injustice, climate change, dark patterns of the internet). And yet…

As time progresses, we also become more efficient at solving problems.

The paradox of ubiquitous

When you have a warm bed, clean drinking water, plenty of food to eat, education, the internet, transportation, it’s easy to forget how much we rely on this stuff when it is so readily available.

Access to abundance causes us to forget that without it our lives are much more difficult.

That is the miracle of capitalism. It has brought so much so fast to the masses. It was only 200 years ago most went without what we enjoy today.

In abundance, we take things for granted. In scarcity, we wish for more.

If you are reading this, you probably have most of the luxuries of this generation. Yet, most of still wish for more. A bigger house, a bigger TV, a better phone because the story we are telling ourselves isn’t one of sufficiency or abundance.

When technology and luxuries are abundant, we seek for scarcity.

What don’t I have?

What do I want?

It’s easy to identify what we want more of and harder to see what we have when we take it for granted.

Everyone tells a story

One of sufficiency or not.

One of possibility or how things are.

If each of us is telling a story about ourselves and the world, then we can tell a better one. Because there is enough evidence to support your worldview. (Regardless of how outlandish it can be.)

If we can improve our story, we can improve our quality of life. Your circumstances don’t even have to change. It’s not like you won the lottery but the difference in perspective is enough to make a difference.

We quit when…

We quit when we are tired.

We quit when we are not in the mood.

We quit when we are out of money.

We quit when it’s convenient.

We quit when there is no end in sight.

We quit when enthusiasm is down.

We quit when we’ve had enough.

We quit when no one expects us to finish.

We quit when the project is too massive to finish.

We quit when we run out of time.

We quit when we run out of motivation.

We quit when we run out of reassurance.

We quit when it gets difficult.

There are infinite amount of wrong reasons to quit but only two times when it’s appropriate:

Quit before you start or when it is finished.

Decide from the get-go if this something you are willing to lean in and commit to. If not, don’t start it at all.

It’s that simple.

Note: Something that didn’t work isn’t the same as quitting.

“We don’t want to see how the sausage is made.”

When we order take out, we are taking ourself one step further from the process of how something is made.

The same goes when we don’t grow our food, or when we don’t cook it, or order groceries on Amazon.

When we disconnect from what is happening, we act differently.

When we don’t understand the effects of our actions, we behave selfishly.

It’s not just with food either.

When hiding behind a screen, it’s easy to criticize someone. We wouldn’t flip off the driver that cut us off if we knew their name.

Think about it.

Could be

They said it was impossible for Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers to improve working conditions and wages for the Latino American community.

They said it was impossible for anyone to break the four-minute mile until Sir Roger Bannister came along and did it.

They said it was impossible to put a person on the moon and we know how that story played out.

Perhaps impossible just means, “this has never been done before.”

The gap between “this is the way things are” and the way things “could be” is massive. Although we distort the two.

Unlikely, uncertain, haven’t seen this done may be a better way to describe the situation before us. Impossible means the gap can’t be closed. Improbable means unlikely to close it.

Not the same thing.

The first step

Every masterpiece begins with an idea.

Not the other way around.

The iPhone, the drinking fountain, your poem, it all begins with a thought that is then committed to paper.

Your first step is to write your ideas down and then go from there.

While there is plenty around the world that is going wrong, there is more we can point to that is going right. Thank you for reading this blog and thank you for showing up again and again. Thank you to all the participants who have trusted us. “Another year over. A new one just begun. Merry Christmas.”

The first time for the last time

The first time you run a marathon is the last time you will run a marathon for the first time.

And the same goes for your first book, podcast, rock climb…

Once we get that out of the way, we can simply choose to do it again.

As we commit to the practice, the needle moves towards better.

Climbing and falling

If you climb enough, you are going to fall. It’s just part of the sport.

However, climbers spend a disproportional amount of time worrying about falling then actually falling.

That’s because falling in the air is done in a matter of seconds. But the time we imagining the worst, only makes the experience that much more terrifying.

In my experience, climbers are not afraid of flying in the air, it is the uncertainty of all of it.

If we knew what would happen next then it wouldn’t be an endeavor worth pursuing.

Love with conditions

Love with strings attached doesn’t work.

On the other hand, the Greeks use a term called Agape which means unconditional love.

The word unconditional means absolute without special terms or conditions.

Meaning…

Love is continued action. Action without the narrative. Action without expectations.

Serve. And let the rest follow.