maybe I'm wrong

Mental prompts. Every weekday.

Subscribe via email by spenser

Jumping Ship
Our culture tells us we need to be everything.

What are we good at? What's our passion? Where can we make an impact? What projects, tribes, causes, or organizations can we contribute to?

And so our heads go spinning with the possibilities we jump from ship to ship, attempting to scratch the surface.

Of course, when we try to do everything, we don't go deep enough to truly make a the impact we want. Maybe in our attempt to be everything, when it's all said and done, we'll have been nothing of consequence.
Trust me
Trust is the foundation of efficient and effective relationships. Organizations are the sum of many of individual relationships, so the role of trust becomes exponential.

In a lot of working environments you'll find people spending a lot of their time explaining why and how they did something. Sometimes this is to decimate information, but often it's to verify someone's work is up to snuff - that it's trustworthy.

You'll find critical efficiency in a group when you can look at someone else and say, "you don't need to justify how you've done your work to me," which is to say, "I trust you."

Maybe when we hire folks and build teams, we don't correctly evaluate this critical component. It won't be revealed through a coding challenge or by looking at someone's  credentials, but it's worth finding those people you'll really trust.
Sea of Infinity
How many videos or books or albums or games could you consume right this second?

The answer is, practically, infinity.

Of course, this is a relatively new problem - the modern privilege of infinite choice, enabled by new technologies like the internet, pushes a new form of cognitive effort onto the consumer. Most of the participants and architects of the early internet, like myself, didn’t foresee this. Instead, we saw only the utopia of access and freedom and  inclusivity that came with shattering the keys that the old gatekeepers held dear.

Yet, here I am, watching The Office for the 6th time and downloading emulators to play the games that crafted my childhood.

Technology got us here, but maybe the solution is not a technological one. Removing the expectation to consume everything might live in our culture, but maybe it’s also in our control.

And maybe in seeking out content which is meaningful to us in a sea of infinity gives it more value, not less.
Change of Environment
I've worked over 6 different locations in the last 2 months, and in each location my routine changed. Sometimes due to timezone changes, and sometimes due to what was available for breakfast.

If you want to change your habits, shift your environment. Forcibly break your norms by making them inconvenient or impossible. You'll no doubt find frustration, but maybe you'll find new grooves which feel better.

Regardless what happens, you might be forced to think a little more about why your habits are what they are.
Dogs can respond to what we say, read our social signals, and detect our moods. This, combined with the fact that we don't actually know what's going on inside their heads, make them seem pretty intelligent.

Of course, machines meet a lot of these criteria. Today's apps and devices can hear us, and respond independent of any human assistance. I can ask Siri to list the capitals of every country on earth, and she can do it with ease. And, after all, we don't really know what's going on under those screws.

So what is it that makes us feel a connection to any entity in our lives? Is it the persistence? Is it the breadth of experiences we can share with it? Or is it simply an egoic feeling that something cares about us?

Maybe, sooner rather than later, we'll need to ask ourselves which of these things can be synthesized? Maybe just because something seems smart doesn't make it so - and maybe intelligence is a bad measuring stick for what we're after anyway.
Kids these days
As you get older you catch yourself saying, "kids these days."

Of course, you'll also find yourself thinking, "how can people still think like this?"

Maybe, despite our curmudgeonly tendencies, we'll always the kids to someone.
Entertainment vs. Leisure
They feel similar, but are they?

Maybe during times without endless and instant access to entertainment, the answer would be obvious. It certainly doesn't seem that way anymore.
Speeding Ticket
I speed ahead, moving ever faster, just for show.

Yet, if you ask where I'm headed, I don't know.

I stop and ask a tree, 'where shall I go?'

"Well," she says. "Wherever that wind might blow."
The cohort of people that grew up before access to constant and instantaneous entertainment is shrinking. Our screens (of all shapes and sizes) make it easier to ensure the dull roar of boredom is a faint whisper.

Of course, we've perfected this new kind of mundane self-distraction. We seamlessly shift from one screen to another. Videos, television, podcasts, music, audio books - we ensure that our experience is never empty.

But how many of your fondest memories are forged in this purgatorial state between focus and nothingness? How many of these memories are marked by the uncomfortable shifting to evade the absence of engagement?

Maybe we'll find that the salvation of meaningful experiences creeps in only when we feed it space. Maybe we'll find that clarity and nostalgia are fueled by boredom.
Chaos of Our Thoughts
When we're still, we're calm.
When we're still, we become wiser.

And yet, our minds are opposed to stillness. Our minds perform every trick in the book to ensure we remain active - thinking, worrying, planning, inventing, judging.

But maybe we are made up of two parts. 

An ancient part of us - it clings onto the belief that survival is only warranted through action. And a younger part of us - it understand how to see truth in between the chaos of our thoughts.

Maybe in the stillness we cultivate space for the younger part to take hold, if only for a moment.
Want maybe I'm wrong in your inbox?