I’m in the middle of finals, and I haven’t had time to write. I encourage you to check out these fine podcasts in my absence:

  • On Being
  • Startup
  • 99% Invisible
  • Invisibilia
  • The Good Life Project
  • The Tim Ferriss Show
  • Oprah’s Super Soul Conversation
  • Brian Koppelman’s The Moment

 

SELF-DEVELOPMENT

I’m on the verge of significant self-revelations.

I can sense the connections forming that will eventually lead me to a familiar, nearly unnoticeable self-progression.

It’s so subtle, the gentle understanding of what the foreseeable future holds.

In moments where I am compelled to express myself, it feels like confidence.

If feels like self-possession.

It feels like a voice.

I appreciate my evolving individuality. I crave to feed, nurture, and grow my inner artist.

Though, I wish that the process didn’t require so much patience.

“Sometimes it seems as though our disagreements over everything–from politics to business to the designated hitter rule–are more serious and more divisive than ever before. People are making emotional, knee-jerk decisions, then standing by them, sometimes fighting to the death to defend their position. And yet, weʼre optimists.”

That’s the headline for the folks who manage ChangeThis, a project that publishes manifestos. They now have a list of over 60 pages of PDFs whose topics run the gamut: from technological innovation to ending racism with mindfulness to startup revolutions.

This project consists of some of the smartest people in the world laying it all on the line to try to move the needle on progressive ideas. I found it because I searched for The Bootstrapper’s Bible, a book dedicated to – you might have guessed – pulling yourself up from the bootstraps to create a thriving business.

Eventually, I’d like to download all of these. I think they’re that good. Enjoy.

One of my main heroes is Seth Godin.

Seth says that authentic is overrated. I disagree.

He says that to be authentic is to cop out of necessary emotional labor, to be selfish instead of being of service.

I think that you can be authentic and still practice emotional labor.

Music, poetry, and fiction all demonstrate this idea.

Sometimes the usefulness of art isn’t the actionability; it’s the connection.

So it is for authenticity.

Showing up and being a human being saying, “Yeah, I’m terrified, and it’s hard, and it all just sucks right now, but we’re going to do this anyway” – that makes the world better.

I want to be authentic.

And I don’t think that makes me an amateur; I think it makes me human.

A professional is someone disciplined enough to show up when they don’t want to, while a hack is someone who shows up to give the audience what they want to make themselves successful.

There’s no legacy in pandering.

Most pop and country music will die like disco, and Bob Dylan will live on.

By the way, isn’t it ironic one of the only songs from such a distinct era is “Staying Alive”?

My list of heroes is growing, which means I’m discovering what I’d like to do, who I’d like to be, my individuality.

I’m becoming more disciplined, which means the bridge between that ideal individuality and reality is being built.

But the bridge is being built slowly, brick by brick. Almost just a brick a day.

And the blueprints for the bridge keep changing because the architect (me) keeps learning and growing.

It’s like I’m in school to learn how to build bridges and on the first day they said to make a blueprint and every day in class I have to adjust the blueprint as I learn more about good design standards.

Luckily, there’s a good foundation…

And this process is probably as it should be.

Two steps forward, one step back; two steps forward, one step back; two steps forward, one step back; STOP! Hold on! We had to turn left three steps ago; let’s change directions now.

Or to continue the bridge metaphor, we had to use iron support beams, not steel, deconstruct it.

It’s frustrating.

Truths of my life: 

  • My voice (unique perspective/artistic and societal contribution) will take a long time than I think it will to develop;
  • Life along the way will be confusing, uncertain, and at times seem downright impossible;
  • I probably will never reach my self-expectations because there is always room for improvement;
  • The foreseeable future will certainly involve a not-so-delicate balance between being too hard on myself and setting realistic, gentle goals; and
  • Despite everything, I will have to fight for idealism, faith, hope, and optimism, and this is likely going to involve a face marred by dust and sweat and blood and flawed, complex companions, not an idyllic trip through Oz with guileless, magic creatures.

And all that’s okay.

It’s more than okay, actually.

It’s expected to be as perfect as it should be not because I believe in some kind of predestination or destiny, but because this is the path I’ve chosen.

While others take the path of least resistance, I’ve chosen the one with great resistance, because that’s what leaders do.

Leaders are the ones who make hard decisions because they’re the right decisions.

Leaders are the ones who wake up every day and strive to be the example, despite the burden of high self-expectations, because that’s what the world needs.

The world has enough panderers, enough people who are comfortable appealing to the masses and to their own self-interest, enough folks who want money despite global suffering, enough people who just want good gigs.

The world needs people willing to sacrifice themselves to serve something: what’s good, what’s true, what’s hurting, and what’s vulnerable.

So I guess, yeah, my life is hard, but it’ll be worth it in the end.

My favorite music artist is Logic.

A while back he said that “The definition of a gentleman is someone who makes others feel comfortable.”

For a long time, that quote has swirled around in my head.

I wondered what it meant and what it looked like in action.

Now I’m finally learning with John Bridges’s How to Be a Gentleman.

In essence, a gentleman is someone who acts appropriately, thoughtfully, and kindly – putting other peoples’ feelings above their own.

It’s showing up to a funeral, knowing not to overwhelm others with many words.

It’s not bringing your phone out to dinner.

It’s standing up when introduced.

It’s a refreshing and unique kind of emotional labor and empathy.