maybe I'm wrong

Mental prompts. Every weekday.

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Nostalgia 2.0
Nostalgia seems to be the result of our minds randomly selecting neutral to positive memories and reliving them over an over again through an increasingly wistful lens, all while the core truth of these memories fade (like all do).

This fetishizing of memories compels us to break them down into their component parts, desperately searching for WHY these experiences were so great, and how we can recreate them.

Maybe we've lost all the pertinent information to make that assessment. Maybe what we wish for most is the part of us we once were - a part of us that we no longer have access to.
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They're all like that
They is a word we use to put others into groups. Sometime's it's useful - other times it isn't.

Maybe the problem is that the group is implicit. If we say "they are going to get the pizza," one can make some contextual assumptions about who we're talking about. If we start using they on broader groups, the context get's thin.

Of course, they can be replaced with many other labels, all while retaining the same fundamental flaw. Democrats, europeans, christians, rednecks, white-collar, hippies, new yorkers, elites. As a label becomes more widely-adopted by a culture, the context broadens - reduction and oversimplification occurs.

And if you had to use a word other than they, what would it be? If you had to describe that group of people you're talking about, but couldn't use the label that our culture has trained us to fall back on, what would you use instead?
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The Most Important Thing
What's the most important thing you could be doing?

Of course, it's unknowable. You might meet someone while walking the dog or going grocery shopping that will change your life.

Maybe the word important is where we should direct our focus. Maybe we conflate importance with business.

Maybe if we focused on what brought us value now, and is likely to bring us value tomorrow, we'll get closer.


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Modes of Leadership
There are three operating modes of leading people who create.
 
Mode 1  says, “this is what I want and this is how you should do it.”

Mode 2 says “this is what I want, but you figure out how to do it.”

Mode 3 says “let’s figure out what we can do, together.”


Mode 1 fuels places like Fivver and Upwork. It’s an operating mode that’s shorthand for outsourcing one’s own (real or perceived) expertise. Execution is prioritized over creativity.
 
Mode 2 is the most diverse (and common) among organizations who manage 'skilled workers.' Decisions are made by one arm, and the other arm acts on it. Creativity,  tolerance, and/or pushback may be allowed.

Mode 3 is the most rare, and it's where the magic happens. It’s why game changing groups are founded by folks with diverse and/or rare skillsets. The fear of asking producers to innovate is that they may not stretch the boundaries beyond their experience. More often, though, is that they know where to find gaps in systems where everybody else is being told what to do. They know which corners should be cut, and which shouldn't.

Most importantly, they might just know where those gaps fit into the future.

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How do they see me?
Sometimes we have a lot of control over how others see us - we can meet them, we can talk - we can develop a connection built on trust and nuance.

Other times we don't have control. We are a photo or video or snippet or idea in someone's mind, filtered by bias and imagination.

Maybe the energy we spend worrying about the second group could be better spent on the first. Maybe if the people close to you respect you, the folks far away can't possibly have it right.

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Job Hunt (Haiku)
Don't you want a job?
Show me your experience.
I have none, do you?
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Repeating Towers
Culture shifts as ideas proliferate. Some ideas spread, and some don't. Some ideas are at the right place at the right time. Whether an idea is good, noble, toxic, or dangerous isn't relevant to it's likelihood to proliferate - it's something else.

Maybe it's us.

Because culture doesn't spread without humans to spread it (and the stories associated with it). Maybe we all act like cultural repeating towers, some with signal that reaches further than others. Maybe the culture we choose to engage in amplifies the transmission.

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It isn't perfect
That thing you've been working on - the thing that isn't quite there yet - the thing that isn't quite perfect. The truth is, it'll never be perfect.

And once you spent the next few weeks tweaking it, you'll find more imperfections. Of course, if everyone waited for something to be perfect before showing it to the world, nothing would exist.

Maybe waiting for perfection isn't really what you're doing. Maybe waiting for perfection gives you an out - a way to hide from the fear of what people might think.

Maybe if the world doesn't like what you make, you'll still be ok. Maybe if you don't get the audience you were after, you'll survive.

Maybe it'll be fine.
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Us vs Them
It's a framework that we've likely used since the beginning of humanity. It's convenient because it condenses everything into absolutes. We are good, they are bad.

As our tribes have grown, the vectors through which we label and categorize people become more complicated, but we still try to work it around this simple idea - us vs. them. The groups, the tribes, the teams, can't possibly define others in a realistic manner - but we keep with it, because it's easy.

Maybe if we changed some of the vocabulary we could get past the divides. What would happen if the language about groups removed race, gender, incomes, job titles, political parties, etc.? How exactly would we define who the others are?

Maybe it would get too complicated. But maybe, it would force us to evaluate others through a more nuanced lens. After all, you're a them to someone.
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Do your best
Every day, a little better than the day before. It's really all anyone can expect.
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