Money matters when you can’t pay rent. Water matters when you are dehydrated walking across the Mohave. And it is the same for sleep, food, shelter, sex, education…

When you don’t have enough of something, you feel it. On the other hand, sufficiency matters until it doesn’t. Once you have what is sufficient, what then? Chase luxury?

Too much of our culture is driven by this false idea that if we can just get to that parking space or finish that degree or make that paycheck or get that award or title–we finally be happy. What is “enough”? Because it isn’t the same for everyone. Jeff Bezos has more money than anyone ever in the history of the world and yet he still seeks gains because he is chasing something else.

It is a rat race. And too many of us are seduced into believing in a fantasy world instead of enjoying the real one. Here is my rule: If you have enough time to watch one hour of Netflix tonight, you have made it to a level of comfort with enough discretionary time to create the world in the image you see it could be. So go do it.

“The only thing constant is change”

We all see it and experience it. Here is what is predictable in a world in constant flux:

When a thought rises from the ether and takes hold, before we know it, we are wrapped up in hope and fear.

Over and over again, this habitual pattern shows up. We are so used to it, that we don’t even think anymore. We just habitually act and do whatever the default setting is says.

How do you react when someone praises you? What happens when you receive gain? How do you avoid pain? What happens to your ego when someone criticizes you?

When we are thirsty, we instictually react by grabbing a glass of water. Emotions are not different from these other types of experiences–like breathing or scratching an itch–unless we are being mindful. Conscious of the thoughts and patterns, the triggers and cycles.

Addicted to hope

It’s hope that helps us believe in a better future. And it is hope that tells us we can be a better self.

With our eyes focused on being somewhere or someone better, we will never be at peace with where we are and who we are now.

It is this tension that these paradoxes create that humans must wrestle with.

Creating and creations

“Do what you love”


“Love what you do”

What’s the difference?

“Do what you love” doesn’t follow process or genre. It’s about doing what you want at the moment. To be authentic all the time. Our love changes from moment to moment. But an Italian Chef might not feel like making Risotto tonight for customers but still chooses to because…

Because they “love what they do.” They have put in the hard work to become a top chef. To really hone in on their craft to do something only they can do. This is why people flock in the masses to come experience.

The hard truth is you’re not acting like a professional when you are only focused on doing work that makes you happy all the time. The fulfillment comes after you put in the work. Not before. What sustains us for the love of work and process, not the outcomes. All the time is spent in the creating, not the creation.


Christopher Nolan’s film, Memento, is extraordinary. If Nolan would have told the story straightforward, it would have made more sense for the audience. But it wouldn’t have been art. It takes guts–a leap–to try something that might not work. It is why twenty-plus years later, we are still talking about it. (Think of how many films have been made since then?)

Some may say, “Sure. It is easy when you have a big Hollywood budget.” I would argue the stakes couldn’t have been any higher. How many chances do you get to work on a movie in Hollywood? Not many.

The way we arrange the scenes changes the story we like to tell.

A twist

Henry Ford didn’t invent the car, he streamlined the production process. Steve Jobs didn’t invent the computer. He changed the way we thought about computers. He developed a computer for someone with good taste. Harley Davidson did the same thing. They took a bunch of outsiders and made them insiders.

Chances are you won’t make a new invention that we have never heard of or create a whole new field of science or discover a whole new genre of books. And that is okay. Your contribution is a twist on what has been built.

This is good news. You don’t need to invent something we have never heard or seen before. It means you have all the tools to get started. Go.

Generic and exceptional

Generic work is replaceable work. When we look for generic, we are looking for something cheap and convenient. No one agonizes over which type of toothpaste to get when looking at 150 different options. You grab what is there.

Exceptional work, the art we can’t live without, we go out of our way to participate. When U2 is in town, you buy a ticket because they don’t come through every day and you want to have an experience.

Your choice in what kind of work you want to produce. Work that is average or work that is missed when it is gone.

Working together

One-third of the 20,000 different genes that make up the human genome are expressed in the brain. These have a direct effect on the development of tens of billions of neurons. These neurons by themselves are not very smart. There is no consciousness. It is only when these neurons work together and connect do you create the amazing network of our brain. So miraculous and sophisticated this system is, we even have the ability to meta think–jump out of the system and process of our thinking and think about our thinking!

While we still don’t understand consciousness, the mind, and all its complexity, we do know that the sum is greater than the parts. When the network is working together, more can be accomplished than what seems to be possible.

We can’t do this standing alone.

Archaic systems and the abundance of information

For thousands of years, knowledge was conceived as a top-down approach that eventually filtered to the masses. God told the prophets, priests and clergy then it went down to the congregation. The king told his subjects and they obeyed. Creating systems of authority structures in the process.

Then Guttenberg created the printing press at a time when 97% of Europe was illiterate. All of a sudden, you didn’t have to listen to someone else interpret the scriptures or decrees anymore. You could read them yourselves. Of course, it isn’t just ancient texts. Now someone could print the ideas of Copernicus and Galileo and learn we are not the center of the universe. Or read the works of Semmelweis and why it is important to wash your hands (which would later lay the groundwork of germ theory).

Information is no longer linear. It doesn’t emerge from a single source anymore. Information is now abundant because we have the means to share it. Which has changed many things in our culture today:

  1. Because information is so abundant and easily accessible, it no longer is as valuable. Think about all the useless facts out there. What is valuable is the time someone takes to collate information in a way that changes people’s minds.
  2. People’s attitudes towards information have changed because everyone can now find everything. In fact, we have a reverse effect, people often are experiencing cognitive overload and are working to reduce the amount of input. A major shift in the last 500 years. For a long time, information could only travel as fast as a horse can go. You used to starve as you waited weeks to hear what is happening in the world and today it is instant.
  3. Gatekeepers are no longer near as valuable. If you want to be discovered you can post your ebook online. You don’t need a publisher to get it into people’s hands. Yet, while we still live in a complex world full of many people, we still rely on authority structures to govern us. After all, without police, we would eventually just run every red light and no one would get to work on time. So while there are fewer people telling us what to do, we still can’t live without some kind of agreement of governance.
  4. The network effect is real. One person using a fax machine is useless until everyone gets on board. Thanks to things like Wikipedia, we can all give to the network and in turn the network gives us back.

Ultimately, we can only attain a small fraction of the knowledge available. What we don’t know far out ways what we do. What is out there waiting to emerge?