The lie of a linear life

“God does not build in straight lines” – Prometheus (2012 Film)

Progressing through life is not linear. It’s a messy, lumpy line that is all over the map.

We have setbacks and leapfrog moments. The trick is not getting knocked when you are sucker punched and capitalising on the good luck moments.

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Time for some overdue change

It is time to make some changes. It’s time to make some big changes that won’t wait any longer.

I’ve been thinking a lot over the last week about the opening to a Robert F Kennedy speech.

Kennedy’s Day of Affirmation Address (known as the “Ripple of Hope” Speech) was given to National Union of South African Students members at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, on June 6, 1966 during the middle of Apartheid.

My father attended the University of Cape Town and listened to the speech in person in Jameson Hall on the university campus. He still talks about it 56 years later.

DAY OF AFFIRMATION ADDRESS

Mr. Chancellor, Mr. Vice Chancellor, Professor Robertson, Mr. Diamond, Mr. Daniel, Ladies and Gentlemen:

I come here this evening because of my deep interest and affection for a land settled by the Dutch in the mid-seventeenth century, then taken over by the British, and at last independent; a land in which the native inhabitants were at first subdued, but relations with whom remain a problem to this day; a land which defined itself on a hostile frontier; a land which has tamed rich natural resources through the energetic application of modern technology; a land which was once the importer of slaves, and now must struggle to wipe out the last traces of that former bondage. I refer, of course, to the United States of America.

Robert F. Kennedy , University of Cape Town, South Africa, June 6, 1966

Please read the or listen to the full speech here

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Do the work

Life is like a video game. You only get to move to the next level when you master the level you are on. Each new level has a higher degree of difficulty. More difficult challenges get thrown at you, and there’s more work and learning. You’ll backslide and get frustrated, but that means you are on the right track. It means you are growing.

To grow, you have to do the work!

In life, doing the work means confronting your anger, fear, and prejudices that are activated when things get hard and the pressure is on.

Anger, fear, and hate are a cover for sadness and trauma. When you are ready, be brave and courageous. Go deep, and explore your anxiety. Seek out the sadness.

Finding sadness is like striking gold. It means you are on the right path. But this path is narrow and full of danger. It will be tempting to run away and hide.

Now comes the paradox. You can’t fix the sadness on your own. So what do you do? The more you try to repair, ignore, distract, and control your grief, the harder it gets.

So, when you are done fighting and running away, when you are exhausted, and at the lowest of the low, then it’s time for the magic. It’s time to surrender and ask for help. It’s like in those martial arts movies where the Kung-fu master breaks down the student until the student forgets what he has been taught and is ready to listen and learn. When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.

The door unlocks when you surrender and stop trying to control everything. That’s when the love and light come in. Love has been there all along, but you need to be willing to open the door.

In that surrender comes the healing. And the way to heal is to love and help others and be in service to the greater good. It doesn’t help sitting on a hill meditating, you’ve got to roll up your sleeves and serve others.

Look for guides, sherpas and teachers along the way. They are waiting for you with signposts and broad shoulders. They know the way up the mountain and have come back down to help you. I’ve had many very patient teachers and guides who helped me in ways I’ve seen and not seen.

Start doing the work and show us the way.

“To love another person is to see the face of God.”

Victor Hugo
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Tinker, build, fiddle, and experiment

Tinker, build, fiddle, and experiment. Get your head out of the theory and into the practical.

Have a bias towards action. You will quickly learn if you like something or not.

Are you thinking of moving to a new neighborhood or town? Get an Airbnb and stay the weekend and walk through the main street.

Are you thinking about buying a new car? See if you can rent one for the weekend and give it a proper test drive.

Are you thinking about starting a new hobby like cycling, surfing, kiteboarding, fishing, or golf? Rent some equipment and give it a spin.

Once you’ve scratched the itch, you’ll get some authentic feedback, and you’ll know if you want to commit more time and money. The trick is starting small with a low commitment. It’s less intimidating, and it gets you going and saves you time if it’s not for you.

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The Times They Are A Changing

The Times They Are A Changing

Come writers and critics
Who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide
The chance won’t come again
And don’t speak too soon
For the wheel’s still in spin
And there’s no tellin’ who
That it’s namin’
For the loser now
Will be later to win
For the times they are a-changin’

Come gather ’round, people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You’ll be drenched to the bone
If your time to you is worth savin’
And you better start swimmin’
Or you’ll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin’

Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don’t stand in the doorway
Don’t block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
The battle outside ragin’
Will soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls…

Bob Dylan

Lightning in a bottle

Dolly Parton wrote ‘Jolene’ and ‘I Will Always Love You’ in one Day in 1972. Brilliance and genius is not a function of hours behind a desk, it’s about catching lightening in a bottle when it strikes.

Find a job or career, where you don’t have to pretend to be busy. On some days you might have to crank the whole day, and other days might be filled with a lot of space and nothingness.

Space and downtime is good because you get to think, listen and commune.

p.s. Dolly Parton is not an overnight success. Writing those songs in one day is a byproduct of hard work, persistence, patience and raw talent. There are no free lunches 🙂

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The illusion of simplicity

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

Arthur C. Clarke

Remember those sci-fi films where an alien ship is discovered on earth but nobody knows how to fly it because the controls and screens aren’t visible. The intrepid explorer climbs into the ship and then the door automatically closes and the cockpit lights up. The cockpit looks simple and clean from the outside, but we all know there is a some serious alien technology under the hood.

Carl Sagan had the same idea when he wrote the book Contact which later become a movie starring Jodie Foster. The pod that NASA engineers built according to the alien’s directions had no controls or even a seat. All the technology was unseen.

When I look at the SpaceX Dragon cockpit and compare it to the NASA Shuttle it’s like I’m living in a Science Fiction Novel.

What will spaceships look like 50 years from today?

Feb. 3, 1995, Astronaut Eileen Collins at the Pilot’s Station on Shuttle Discovery via https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/shuttle/images
NASA astronauts Doug Hurley (foreground) and Bob Behnken (background) participate in a two-day flight simulation. The astronauts are inside a SpaceX flight simulator in this photo. Credit: SpaceX