Set your own agenda. It creates consistency for others and is habit forming. If you aren’t on your own agenda then you are on someone else’s. Stick to your plan.
You’ll find yourself saying no more than yes…that means it’s working.
Be careful of maybes. A quick no is better than a slow maybe and clears the way for a yes.
Have you ever visited a place or spent time with a friend where you leave feeling invigorated and energized? Next time take a pause and reverse the flow. Ask yourself what you can offer instead of what you can take away. If it’s a place then be aware of how you keep it beautiful and pristine. If it’s a friend remember to ask how you can help or just keep quiet and listen.
Places and people that are permanently sucked on wither away, feel desolate and are tired. You can feel this with certain national parks. Well used parks are used over and over again and there’s zero stewardship going on. It’s super transactional. Take take take. Me me me.
Places and people have great energy because they are stewarded over time. It’s a give and take relationship. Places feel sacred for a reason. Giving is more energizing than taking.
Physical pilgrimages are important. I used to think that viewing something digitally was enough and that being there physically didn’t matter, but I’ve learned through traveling that being there physically can accelerate a connection to people and places.
Smells, sounds, people and places all trigger feelings that should be acknowledged and processed. There are places where the energy is palpable like airport arrival halls, Yosemite National Park or returning to the town I was born. In other places the energy needs to be stewarded, nurtured or repaired..maybe it’s been drained or sucked on by too many people or it’s been a place of suffering or pain. It’s hard to feel it without physically being there.
It can’t be experienced remotely via digital doors like Facebook, FaceTime and Skype. Digital connections build relationships and we are more compassionate and connected because of them, but physically being in the place is a different level. It’s about resonating with the frequency of the place and in turn having it resonate with you.
Carve out the time and travel. It stimulates growth in you, and in the people and places you visit.
One of the joys in life is running into old friends in a strange and new place. They know who you are and where you come from. Magic & calming
There are certain towns and cities that are welcoming and growing. The place immediately hits the right notes and I feel a familiar frequency resonate through my bones.
These places have a common theme: the citizens have chosen to live there or move there. There’s an abundance mindset and an air of optimism. The assumption is that people are default good and there’s more than enough to go round. I can almost hear them saying ‘Come on in, the water is great!’ Uprooting their lives and moving to a new place takes guts…it’s scary. A trait among newcomers is that they overcame the fear of the unknown and took the plunge. Those are the kinds of gutsy, courageous and welcoming people I encounter.
The opposite are places where people feel trapped or locked in. There’s a scarcity mindset. People are holding on tight to what they’ve got, its unwelcoming and unfriendly. Strangers aren’t welcome and the default assumption is that new people are here to take and not contribute. I suppose that dying or failing companies are the same way.
It’s a consistent pattern wherever I go. Are people living or working there because they choose to, or are they trapped or too fearful to leave?
Listen to your gut. The next time you get the scarcity mindset feeling, it’s worth exploring. It’s a big red flag about the core constituency of any place.
Oak trees in the wild are messy things. Before I knew this I thought that oaks were these lone wolf sculpted trees with long clean trunks and a large canopy of round green foliage…kind of like the ones you see on a fancy wine bottle label. In reality a wild oak tree’s branches hang low and rest on the ground, sprawled out like a giant octopus. From a distance it looks like a big untidy bush and bramble. It’s all over the place. What I’ve since learned is that those tentacle like branches act as anchors for the tree and stabilize it in storms and heavy winds. That messy support structure is the reason it’s still standing and means it’s healthy. The human pruned, lone oak trees in the middle of a green field may look beautiful and statuesque, but they have a much high failure rate because they lack the stabilizing octopus support network.
It’s the same for humans. We are more resilient and stronger with a messy support network. Together we are stronger. Put down roots, build a community, lean on people, be vulnerable even if it’s messy. It’ll sustain you in the long run and it’s healthy.
My take on Bill Gates’ tweet storm advice:
Intelligence comes in many forms
Always be learning
Be aware of inequity in the world and be the change you want to see. Do it locally or globally.
Measure happiness by whether people close to you are happy
Make a positive difference in other peoples lives
Spend time with people that push you to be a better person
The world is getting better, but there’s more work to do, start now.
It is an amazing time to be alive
Simple ➡️ Complex ➡️ Simple ➡️ Complex ➡️ Simple
Most things look simple from a distance. But until you understand the complexity, you can’t fully appreciate the simplicity. Go deep, get detailed and immerse yourself. There is simplicity and beauty on the other side of complexity.
These lines in the NYT Michael Bloomberg interview resonated with me. It covers what I think is important. Persistence, compassion and hard work.
Who Gets the Job
What disturbs me is you talk to kids applying today and they invariably say, “I cured cancer, I brought peace to the Mideast.” Spare me. How about, “My father never existed, my mother is a convicted drug dealer. I worked three shifts at McDonald’s.” That’s the kind of kid I want — with an ethic of taking care of his family — because then he’ll take care of others. Some of us don’t have much prenatal intelligence, but nevertheless go out and try and have a decent chance of surviving. I’m not the smartest guy in the room, but nobody’s going to outwork me.
And he doesn’t look in the rear view mirror.
What I Would Have Done Differently
Given the way things turned out, nothing.
It’s a great interview. Read the rest here.
Work with clever people who are kind. Look for them, stay close to them, and learn from them.
Be weary of clever people who are unkind. Keep your distance and handle with caution.
Clever and kind people nurture and grow powerful communities of trusted friends who in turn connect and amplify those connections. Be part of that community. It’s powered by kindness and it’s evergreen.