Be a Weed

Weeds grow strong.
Weeds grow wherever they please.
Weeds are hard to kill.
You pull them out, and they grow back – time and time again.
Weeds come in all shapes and sizes.
Weeds can prosper in nearly any environment.

Weeds are independent thinkers:

Jeff Bezos
Warren Buffet
Karl Benz
Marting Luther King, Jr.
Johannes Gutenberg
Seth Godin
Noam Chomsky
Dr. Phil Valentine
Yuval Noah Harari
Alan Watts
Joseph Campbell
Ray Dalio
Alain de Botton
Lewis Hyde

To name a few.

What do these individuals have in common?
Each of them are weeds in societies garden of ignorance.
They refuse to let popular opinion govern their decisions.
They consider the facts, as they are currently known, and make a decision. When the facts change, they are willing to change their point of view to meet the current dimensions of reality.

Our culture needs more weeds.
Weeds are natures support corps and are vital to a healthy universe.
They are a reaction to the myriad of deficiencies in our culture.

Most importantly, weeds perform a vital job in our ecosystem: they quickly establish, protect, and restore the humanity that has been left exposed by natural and human-caused disturbances.

Be a Weed.

What’s at The End of The Rainbow…?

There is no pot of gold.

There is no race.

No end destination.

However, our culture treats life as such.

As if life’s main objective is to achieve something.

That “one job”.

That dream house.

Peace of mind.

The perfect spouse.

“Successful” kids.

Retirement.

“Impact”.

We treat life as if there is something for us to attain from it.

Constantly chasing after something that appears to be just out of our grasp.

However, life is not a bank to be robbed.

There is no prize. Nothing that we have to “get out of it”.

However, that doesn’t make it not worth living.

Instead, that realization, the realization that we are not competing with each other.

The realization that it doesn’t matter how big our house is, the name of the car we drive, or the logo on the clothes we are wearing – that realization is liberating.

It’s liberating because it allows you to let go of the attachment we have to the end result.

It gives you freedom. Freedom to stop chasing something that isn’t real.

This freedom allows you to alter your posture.

If it’s not a race, how many more people would you help?

Would you think twice about the next time you use your perceived status to put someone else down?

Seriously, if it wasn’t a race how would you play the game differently?

How would you engage with and connect with the universe?

I’m guessing the answer is different than you’re currently playing the game.

The point isn’t that life is a game, the point is that we have the power to choose how we play it.

If your happiness is dependent on achieving “the result” or making it to the “end destination” you are setting yourself up for failure.

We suffer because we desire…

Learning to See

We only perceive the things that we are programmed to perceive.

We recognize only the things for which we have mental maps and categories.

As such, mental maps and categories govern our perception.

Therefore, understanding the mental maps and categories that govern our behavior, the behavior of our communities, and those that lead us is paramount to seeing the world as it is

A simple example to explain what I mean:

Pro wrestling is fake.

Somewhere around the age of 8 or 10 years old, someone told us that pro wrestling was fake.
Each of our reactions likely differed – disbelief, confusion, anger or sadness.
However, because we trusted the person that delivered the news, we decided to put in the effort to see for ourselves.
Suddenly, we see that every move and every interaction is scripted.
We see that the elbow drops don’t make contact.
We see the fake blood.

The thing is, once you see that it’s fake, that it’s scripted, that it’s all invented – you understand how it works and you think about it differently.
From that moment on you can no longer unsee what you had previously failed to see.
Your perception is forever altered.

A few questions to consider:

What is school really for (here’s a hint)?
What really drives the economy?
What does television distract us from? How to broadcasters make money? (here’s a thought)

What does that tell us about their incentives?To educate? To entertain?
Why do we go to war?
Why is the national defense budget larger than and grows at a faster and more consistent rate than the budget for education (by a rate of 6 to 1, if you’re curious)?

The biggest barrier to learning how to see is fear.
It’s scary to see the world as it is.
It makes us confront the assumptions that we may have inaccurately grown accustomed to.
It forces us to ask why, the answer to which is usually not readily available or emotionally comforting.
Most importantly, it forces us to change our behavior and to act as if.
To act as if we have the power to change how other people see the world.
To act as if we don’t have to do things merely because “that’s how they have always been done.”
To act as if we care.

As we learn to see, our posture is forever changed.

As I see it, there are only two options:

1. Embrace the tension
2. Keep believing that pro wrestling is real

The choice is yours.

Are You Testimonial Worthy?

What would the people you engage with say about you?

Three simple questions:

1. How do people experience you?
2. How do people experience themselves in your presence?
3. Would they recommend you to others?

In the old industrialist economy, little emphasis was placed on testimonials.

Because instead, it was much more powerful and easier to simply pay for endorsements.

In the industrialist era, the endorsement of Michael Jordan made more people drink Gatorade and want to wear Nike shoes.

People purchased George Foreman grills because they thought to themselves, “if it’s good enough for a guy like George, it’s good enough for me.”

However, the power of endorsements was largely in their scarcity at the time.

There were only a few major brands and a few major stars to feature in a scarce number of advertisements through a scarce number of marketing channels.

However, in the connection economy, there is an abundance of all of these things, largely decreasing the overall effectiveness of the famous endorsement.

In the connection economy testimonials have power and leverage.

Testimonials have power because in a world of abundance, a world of so many products, services, and talented people, someone has decided to speak up on your behalf, expecting nothing in return.

What is it that makes someone want to speak up?

Transformation.

Change agents.

An experience that changes how someone views the world.

An interaction that causes someone to pause and say “I used to believe this, but now I believe that”.

 

An opportunity that takes someone from a posture of not believing and not engaging to a posture of attention and action.

However, just as with endorsements, testimonials come at a price.

However, the price is not currency.
Instead, it’s the price of emotional labor.
The price of caring.
The price of being generous.

The price of showing up and doing work that is remarkable. Doing the work of an artist.

A price worth paying.

Are You a Change Agent?

The simple answer is yes.

The only constant in our life is change. 
Business and capitalism, in general, requires it.
At the most basic level, to win consumers and build loyalty businesses must differentiate themselves from the competitive set, regardless of their industry.
Whether that’s in packing, pricing, product features, or promotions, differentiation, or creative destruction is an essential fact of capitalism.

The same is true for individuals.
The act of living is not and cannot be a stationary state.
Every bit of information we consume has an impact on how we engage with the world.
Every conversation we have either confirms or challenges our worldview.

Not only do things change us at the individual level, but also our change impacts others.
There is always someone watching our behavior.
Taking social clues.
Making a subconscious decision to mimic our behavior or to ignore it.

If you eat healthy those around you will start to think about what they eat.
If you workout often those around you will.
If you watch less tv, those around you will start to pick up a book more often.
If you have a positive self-narrative those around you will start to evaluate theirs.

You see, we are what we repeatedly think and do. As such, those in our tribe in many ways are and become what we think and repeatedly do.

We must consistently ask ourselves, am I becoming who I want my wife, husband, friend, brother, sister or co-worker to become?

We are all change agents. We can all be artists.

The question is whether we are driving change for better or for worse.

We have the power. The choice is ours.