I used to think that when it came to time spent with friends and family that quality trumped quantity, but since having kids and losing more discretionary time I’m changed my mind.
Quality moments are hidden in time spent together. Little, daily routines like taking the kids to school or a trip to the supermarket sometimes create fresh memories. Maybe it’s a fire engine rushing past on the way to school drop off, or sharing a joke in the check out queue with my mom. The same principle applies to friends. Don’t wait for the right moment to hang out like a special dinner or a birthday celebration. Pick up the phone and pop in for a catch-up. ‘Popping in’ is underrated in the US, partly because people have walled themselves off in suburbia. Break out of the trance and start spending time with each other again.
Over time many small moments will be like the mortar between the bricks of a well-built house.
Christianity is an excellent example of how a message or record of events can go viral. A charismatic founder who beats death, an inspirational message filled with hope about life after death, forgiveness, betrayal, early adopter evangelists who spread the word and convert new users. The key to growth was the distribution channel called the Roman Empire. The Roman Empire had an efficient postal system and Roman roads which connected communities with information. It was the postal and transportation system that spread the word.
It still works like that today with what we are call Fake News:
A compelling story that people want to believe. Rabid believers spread the word with clicks, likes, retweets and forwards. Instead of Roman roads, we have Facebook and Twitter that is then turbocharged with paid advertising. Social media doesn’t create the lies, but the platforms have made falsehoods more prolific.
15 years ago it was the FWD FWD FWD FWD email you received from a second cousin’s uncle. A quick delete, filter, and block was easy and he message was contained in an email distribution list. In 2018 dishonest content is way better networked via friend connections, and recommendation algorithms than a plain text email from AOL or Hotmail address.
It’s encouraging to see YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook cracking down on bots and false stories. I think the truth will win, but it’s going to need our help.
So what can you do?
- Click with compassion
- Verify the source before you share a story
- Pay for your insights and news, don’t read the free stuff. I recommend the Washington Post
- Don’t click on salacious headlines
- Block and report the trolls
- Don’t feed the daily outrage machine by piling on
Certainty is your enemy and doubt is your friend.
Certainty is healthy, but don’t let it deafen you.
Doubt is your counsel but don’t let it paralyze you.
Don’t be the person who is confident and always wrong. That game won’t last.
People interpret politeness as a weakness.
People interpret bellicosity as strength.
True deep power is inversely proportional to the amount of huffing and puffing you see in a confrontation. Boasting is a manifestation of insecurity.
Move slowly, be gentle, be kind and breath deeply. Still rivers run deep. Don’t let them see you coming.
Follow someone new each week. Preferably someone outside your network. Scratch and peck through replies on a high-quality tweet thread and you’ll find some contrarian views.
Follow people you don’t agree with or who activate you. Their ideas will pop the bubble around you and might learn something new. I’m not talking about the trolls. I mean people who are using evidence-based facts and bringing the receipts.
Follow the authors you enjoy. Most of them tweet these days. The authentic ones control their feed and write their own stuff. Unfollow anyone who has a whiff of a PR shop managing their feed.
Follow directors, producers, and screenwriters of the films you like. That’s where the good stuff is. On the other hand, most actors read lines someone else wrote for them.
Cable news entertainers are not journalists. Stop feeding the beast.
24/7 news covers edge cases and rare events. The rest of everyday life makes up 99% of real life, and that’s the stuff you should pay attention to.
Today’s news doesn’t talk about the 99% of everyday life because it doesn’t sell.
Tune out the breaking news events and read insights instead. Unless it’s about a meteor that will collide with the earth, it can wait.
The dose makes the poison.
Stop reading about international news. Stay hyper-local and plug into your community. Humans aren’t wired to process that a surfer was attacked by a shark in Indonesia or even the minute by minute account of the soccer kids saved from the cave in Thailand. It’s a compelling story, and you should read about it if you are interested…but wait a couple of weeks and then read about it in one sitting. Don’t follow it minute by minute on CNN.
Mute the daily updates about things you can’t control.