Be an exception, break through expectations

There is something about noticing exceptions.  When you start to notice exceptions to rules suddenly the rules don’t seem so rigid.  I hadn’t noticed this, at least not explicitly or in this context, until now.

I don’t mean laws.  I don’t mean sneaking an extra cookie. (Although this often holds true in these instances too.)  What I am talking about is in regards to outsiders, innovators, stereotype deifiers. 

I am talking about the times I noticed (sometimes subconsciously) someone doing something I wanted to do but didn’t have the courage, or didn’t know I wanted to do.   Like majoring in one thing, but pursuing a career in something [seemingly] not-so-related.  Or climbing a tree in a public(ish) park because you need a new perspective.  Or eating food out of a dumpster. Or making a batch of black bean brownies for dessert.

But once someone else goes first, once that rigid rule get snapped in your mind, possibilities grow from this crack.

The more times you see exceptions to certain rules, the more rules become guidelines, then misconceptions.  The more you notice people bending and breaking rules, the less you feel like you have to follow them.

The more you might pursue your own non-traditional career path, do handstands on a beach, or blend chickpeas with honey and cinnamon for lunch.

So be a role model, break rules proudly and loudly.

Become who you are

If you do one thing in this life,

Become who you are!

This imperative as expressed by Nietzche* has etched itself in my mind, offering increasingly profound insight the deeper I explore it.

I find this quote best interpreted in conjunction with another truth I have come to believe:

The only constant is change.

There is no standing still.  Our constant evolution is inevitable.   Throughout this process we call life we all face periods of growth, recouping, and shrinking back into ourselves.   But the more I intentionally get to know myself, the easier I find it to become who I am.  I can tell you how I like to spend my time, my favorite ways to interact with others, things that make me angry, what kind of balance I need to be happy.

Through years of self-exploration and discovery I have found a lifestyle that resonates with my soul, allowing me to become more of who I am every day.  I have watched others and myself live false lives; trying to conform or stand out in ways they hope will impress others but disrespect who they truly are.

There is not one way to find you are meant to become, and it appears the best technique is to see yourself and your life in as many ways as possible,

*I came across a discussion of this quote while reading Defining Moments.

That’s me. A synthesis of human nature

Just watched David Brooks TED talk on The Social Animal.  I’d highly recommend watching it, but here are my reflections:

David Brooks appears to be, among many things, a synthesizer (and brilliant).   He’s analyzed many perspectives of human nature old and new and after doing so come to some valuable conclusions about us as a species.  Here’s 3 of them:

  1. The conscious mind writes the narrative of our lives, but the unconscious mind does the overwhelming majority of the work. (But don’t fret our unconscious is very intelligent, perhaps more intelligent than our conscious mind).
  2. Emotions are at the center of our thinking, underlying every decision we make.  Emotions tell us what to value thus becoming the foundation of reason.   Understanding and educating your emotions is one of the central activities of wisdom.  
  3. We are social animals more than we are rational animals.  Sure we have developed logic and critical thinking but primarily our lives consist of the stories of those around us.  We feel the emotions of others, we live their experiences.

He then talks about 4 qualities/skills/states of existence that are signs of social and emotional intelligence.

  1. Mindsight: the ability to see the world as other people do and absorb what they have to offer; aka “hoover up” the knowledge they have to offer.   Do you know how to nurture empathetic relationships with others? 
  2. Equal poise: the serenity to see the biases and failures in your own mind.   Are you aware of your mind’s strengths and weaknesses? Can you be open-minded?  Curious?  Comfortable in the face of ambiguity?
  3. Metis: the ability to pick out patterns in an environment; it enables you to work in groups.  The effectiveness of a group is determined by its ability to communicate (not its collective IQ) so the ability to blend concepts, ideas, and different points of view is necessary for collaboration and progress.  Can you shape your self based on your environment? Can you shape an environment based on your actions? 
  4. Limerence: This drive speaks of the unconscious mind’s hunger for moments of transcendence, for losing the “self” in exchange for union with the world around you.   Mihály Csíkszentmihályi called it flow.  Can you relate to this state of being?  Do you what it takes you to achieve it? 

Two Asides:

1. I am again struck by what a valuable resource TED has become.  One of my personal passions is to synthesize knowledge and make it more accessible, TED has done this remarkably well.

2. I should explain why I bother writing these notes.  Even if no one reads them and instead watches the video they are worth the effort in my mind.  By actively working through the content of the video myself, I learn and remember it much better.  So my suggestion to you is to write your own reflections on videos that truly speak to you.  aka decide why this information is important and connect it to appropriate places in your mind 🙂

create | share | connect

Three simple words, three simple actions.

I began this blog as a way to do each of these better, more broadly, and more intentionally.   Each has become a primary focus of my life right now; intentions I am surrounding myself in.  Looking around, I see a desire and a desperate need for others to do the same.

This space will become a collection of my thoughts, reflections, and creations.  I will archive connections I see as valuable, sharable.

Create :  opportunities inspiration creative habits   : create art

Share :  thoughts time possessions dreams desires :  share your self

Connect : ideas people the dots  : connect every thing

These themes emerged both naturally and intentionally.  They have integrated themselves into my lifestyle so that they are currently the core of what I do, underlying almost everything I devote my mind to.  Its hard to say if this will remain true forever, but for now it feels like I’m right where I need to be.

The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possible can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something.

-Kurt Vonnegut