Right today wrong tomorrow

The right answer today might not be the right answer tomorrow.

We must constantly re-examine our beliefs as we become aware of new information.

Rapid change means that there is a new sense of urgency for these reconsiderations. Snapchat couldn’t have worked 10 years ago, but now that cell phones have improved and wireless connection is more ubiquitous, it’s wildly successful.

We must engage with a never ending process of feedback and improvement. Luckily, improvement is naturally rewarding. The hard part is taking feedback and channeling it positively.

Seek new perspectives. Seek new information. Question your stance.

Words of the world

The world wasn’t made to be put into words.

This poses a big challenge to humans as we’re constantly trying to communicate to one another. When we use words, we lose nuance, we draw boundaries and we start missing the point.

The words aren’t the point. The feeling is the point. The feeling of vastness, curiosity, excitement, love, oneness is really what the world is saying.

We just have trouble listening.

Fitting in and standing out

There’s an art to knowing when to fit in and when to stand out.

You shouldn’t do either 100% of the time, or even 50% of the time. It’s not a math question.

Pick your moments and know when to go rogue.

That moment before criticism

I had a moment the other day where I was called into a meeting. Given the context, I was about to hear some feedback and criticism.

At first, my stomach dropped. I started thinking of excuses. “I didn’t know how to do it.” “That person told me to do it this way.” etc…

Then I reframed it as an opportunity to learn. I appreciated that there is so much to discover and I can’t possibly know everything right now. That tiny shift in thinking helped me go into the meeting and be open to feedback. Then, when it came, I expected it and ran towards more specific and actionable ideas, rather than getting defensive.

Next time you’re about to receive some criticism, take a moment to be grateful for the opportunity and the learning. It’s a gift.

What are you modeling?

Are you modeling growth mindset? Lifelong learning? Creativity? Navigating ambiguity? Self care?

Are you expecting those things from your students and your team?

Monkey see. Monkey do.

The persistence of habits

Motivation is fleeting. Habits persist.

Whether it’s a habit to eat a lot of chips late at night, or a habit to read for ten minutes when you wake up, they both carry on unless interrupted.

Habits have inertia. They want to stay in motion.

Knowing this, the question isn’t “how do I get motivated to change my behavior?” The question is “how do I set the right habits in place so I don’t need motivation on a daily basis?”

Waste free

Imagine not generating any trash.

It’s unfathomable, really. There are so many wrappers and scraps that come with everything we consume.

But it is possible. There are people who live their lives and generate barely any trash. They bring their own containers to the grocery store. They don’t buy prepackaged foods. There are countless little ways to reduce our trash generation.

You might not get there ever, but it’s an interesting thought experiment. How might you tweak your life to generate less trash?

Slow work

Organizing folders, sorting through old videos, transcribing notes.

These are all slow tasks that don’t require my best energy.

Making decisions, writing, and presenting are the opposite. I want to be on top of my game whenever I’m doing any of those things.

By eating well, sleeping well and taking care of ourselves we can grow the pie of how much good energy we have. We can also be sure not to waste good energy on slow tasks that don’t need it. Know your energy and spend it wisely.

What makes someone productive

Really productive people often just have better heuristics, they make faster decisions and they reflect more. As a result, they try more things, learn faster and get more done.

They are able to translate an abstract idea like “we should collaborate on building a program” into a concrete set of action steps based on past trials and learnings. Therefore, they know to outline roles and responsibilities, create a vision and set the next meeting date.

The first time you see it, you may think that person is superhuman, but really they’ve just done this before. They’re constantly making decisions and judgments based on past experience and new information. It’s not about years experience, it’s about number of cycles and iterations.

More productivity, more cycles, more learning. It’s all exponential.

Splashes of magic

Over the course of a full day, working with 25 students, I saw splashes of magic.

They were like fireworks. Lighting up at different times in different places. Some students loved brainstorming. Others came alive during field research.

In this work, there are very few finales. There aren’t many moments when every student lights up at the same time. It takes time, patience, and lots of experimentation.

Nothing works for everyone, but trying nothing wont help anyone.