Division in the world

Division doesn’t exist. We perceive it into existence.

We don’t see the world. We see our story about the world.

Running towards energy

Sometimes it helps to think of life like Mario Kart. There are speed boosts along the way, and it’s often a good idea to steer towards them.

It’s often unclear why they’re there, or what they mean, but it feels like the right move. Sense that feeling and move with it.

What’s your speed boost and how are you steering towards it?

Everyone is human

It’s a helpful reminder. Celebrities, sports stars, authors, politicians, musicians. They’re all people.

They happen to be really good at something that has gotten them famous. But that doesn’t they’re really good humans. They might be struggling with friendships, romantic relationships, fitness, diet, drinking, drugs, or anything else.

I’m willing to bet, most famous people could learn a lot from YOU if they cared to pay attention.

You don’t need to idolize. People are people and we’re all fighting hidden battles all the time.

Content as refinement

In our education system, content is often a prerequisite. You need to learn computer science 101 before you can go to the advanced class where build a website. This makes sense in many regards. There are definitely some fields where you should have a lot of knowledge before you start building.

But there are two problems with this method:

1. There are many fields where you can build on day one and add the content in later. It would be more engaging and create better learning.

2. What if you never get to the pay off? What if the students who have been absorbing content for 12 years in hopes to finally use it somewhere don’t make it to that somewhere. Now they’ve just absorbed content and don’t know how it applies to anything.

As I teach more, I am trying to not use content as a prerequisite, but as a tool for refinement. Challenge students to design a t-shirt. Then teach them how photo emulsion, screenprinting and color theory works. Challenge students to build a rocket, then talk about aerodynamics, chemical reactions and material science once they’ve seen their first attempt fail.

The work is to come up with your first challenge, then to layer on the content in a way that will make the second challenge more fun.

That is the job

Tim Ferris often retells a story about an amateur filmmaker talking to a pro. The amateur says that he almost made his film, but the timing was off, they ran out of budget, the people weren’t quite ready and a list of more excuses.

The pro responds “that is the job.” Nothing is going to go as planned, and that is what you’re there to do: Find the way.

Everything is a practice

Improvisation, creativity and saying “yes, and” is a practice. These aren’t things you learn once. They’re like going to the gym. You do them each and every day. Slowly you build the muscle of becoming a better, more supportive and productive teaammate.

How are you getting your reps in?

Forks in the road

Choices are often not as binary as we think. The roads diverge, but there are cut-throughs that can get you from path to path and there are new trails to be forged.

Don’t accept what’s given to you. Create your future.

What are you doing?

I don’t know what i’m doing, but I know how to do it.

-Jerry Saltz

There’s something I love about this quote. Maybe it’s the not so subtle emphasis on process rather than product.

When we really think about it, much of our time is spent learning, experimenting and discovering. We don’t know what we’re doing, but if we know how to learn, how to experiment, how to discover, that’s what matters.

You are blocking yourself from success

An interesting reframe and maybe it’s true. Just the possibility of truth is worth considering.

Rather than making failure the default condition and putting the responsibility on your action to succeed, this statement flips that. Success if the default and if you’re not achieving it, it’s not because you’re not doing enough. It’s because you’re getting in the way of your own success.

The logical next step is not “I need to do more to be successful!!” It’s, “what am I doing that’s getting in the way of my success?”

This frame leads to addition by subtraction. Removing the negative to clear the path for your natural success to thrive.

I’d say it’s worth considering.

It teaches you how to think

The classic argument for a liberal arts education is that it teaches you how to think.

Maybe true. But it feels strange to contrast. Does an engineering degree not teach you how to think? Does a earth sciences degree not teach you how to think?

In short, I don’t think knowing how to think has anything to do with the content. I think it has to do with the process of knowledge acquisition and application.

You can teach any content area with a focus on the meta skill of knowing how to think. It’s unfortunate that it isn’t done more.