I’ve spent the last year and a half doing even more introspection and self-examination than usual. That’s led to changes in the way that I think and act.
This post by Ian O’Byrne is a great reminder that we’re often misguided in life:
One of the major stumbling blocks to changing perceptions and awareness of the “truths” that we’ve manufactured is that we do not want to recognize that we are wrong or mistaken. Furthermore, we do not want to admit to others (or ourselves) that these mistaken perceptions have distorted or modified our lives.
To counteract this, it is important to periodically challenge our beliefs and viewpoints. We need to problematize these perspectives and question their validity. We need to question their role and relevance in our lives.
As someone who lives and works openly, I’d like to think that I do hold my hands up and say when I’m wrong. But to do that means that it’s only fair to be honest and point out when other people are also wrong.
I hold myself and others to a high standard, and do not apologise for that.
Before I deleted my LinkedIn account and then created a new one from scratch, I had a bunch of recommendations from people with whom I am no longer in contact.
I vividly remember one such recommendation, however, which described me as an ‘ideas hamster’. This was unexpected, but I saw it as a good thing. I shared that description of myself with a kind of pride. I owned it.
More recently, and particularly in the self-excavation I’ve been doing via therapy, I’ve come to see my constant need to move onto the next thing and work as fast as I can as a form of avoidance. After all, hamsters take exercise in wheels that, ultimately, go nowhere.
But if I’m not an ‘ideas hamster’, then… what am I? If the ability to rapidly generate new ideas is not my USP, then what value do I bring to the world?
Thankfully, the answer has been sitting in front of my the whole time. People regularly allude to my ability to connect together things in new and novel ways.
I’m happy with that. There is nothing, after all, new under the sun, meaning ‘my ideas’ have never been more than connecting together things differently. So it’s in this that I add value to the world, in my ability to synthesise and make sense of the world around me.
You can read my write up of my time in Berlin this week on my conference blog. The short version? Frustrating and expensive, but with some elements I enjoyed. It’s the system, not the people, that’s the problem. I’ve got an allegory in mind that I need to work on that I think highlights some of the ridiculousness.
Pondering the temporary, fragile nature of things
Almost everyone has had, at some point, the experience of an airline losing their luggage. And if you haven’t, your time will come! What it did for me this week, coupled with having to rely on hotel lobby wifi for connectivity and reading Three Cups of Tea, is force me to realise how much of my continued successful existence is built upon systems. These systems are oiled with money in a way that poses little problem for those inside the system playing the game, but huge barriers to entry for those outside the system.
A bit disappointed with myself
Although sometimes not completely consciously, I’ve allowed myself to be dragged into the subtle swamp of self-aggrandisement this week. I’ve concentrated on the journey instead of the destination and the surface of the water without realising it was a puddle. It’s time to re-energise, re-think and re-focus.