“The size of your dreams must always exceed your current capacity to achieve them. If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough.” – Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of Liberia
I want to make thinking sexy. I want to make compassion sexy, too.
I want to play a role in encouraging greater systemic awareness in all of humanity. I want to play a role in crafting the collective narrative that will be necessary to make this happen. I want to help people realize that everything is a part of something greater than itself, and none of us are exempt to this rule.
I want to grow and develop as an individual to become someone capable of leading and inspiring thousands of others. I want to pursue and embody excellence in all things. I want to know, understand and master myself, to build and sustain meaningful relationships with others.
I want to build powerful and self-sustaining communities, and subsequently discover a blueprint for the creation of such communities. I want to build networks between all such emergent communities. International communities. I want to play a role in inciting greater discussion, negotiation, collaboration and co-operation between all of mankind.
I want to own a business that means something to me, that creates value for others and myself. Multiple businesses. I want to empower people, to motivate them to live their dreams.
I want to write, record and sell music that really means something to me, that feels like I’ve put my soul into it, that I sincerely believe other people ought to listen to. (Not a very high priority.)
I want to build a crucible where Heroes are forged.
Systems. Every single thing that you could possibly think about is not entirely a solitary entity- it is part of a broader system, something greater than itself. This works whether we’re talking about atomic structure in physics, any organism in biology, your daily routine, the global economy or class politics. Systems theory is where science meets everyday life. But what is it? It’s ultimately a perspective, a point of view, a way of looking at things.
Everything is Information.
Communication. The transmission of information. Technically speaking, Narratives are a subset of communication. Effective communication, subconscious communication, non-verbal communication. How do we communicate effectively, how do we transmit information effectively? They are important questions!
Language is complex system of communication. If you’re interested in systems and in communication, you technically interested in language.
Narratives are a subset of communication. We all love a good story. Why is that? Narratives, metaphors and literary devices are the most effective ways we know to package the most amount of data into the most memorable space. Literary devices are a big part of narratives- plot, metaphor, that sort of thing. I’m particularly interested in buildup and direction, tension and resolution
Decision-making. I think most of life, as it is lived, is ultimately about decision-making- about identifying and resolving problems. History, Economics, Political Science, Psychology, Game Theory, Statistics, Probability, Sociology, Medicine and a whole bunch of other fields of study are all, in my opinion, to some degree studied in an attempt to figure how to make better decisions.
Mutually Beneficial Outcomes. If we take into account the original, fundamental observation about systems- that nothing is completely independent, that all things are interconnected and interdependent- then it logically follows that the optimal outcome is usually one that is mutually beneficial. As Randy Pausch put it, “Have something to bring to the table, because that will make you more welcome.”
Social Dynamics is one of those magical sweet spots with a bit of everything. It’s fundamentally systemic- there are many integrated components that form a whole. Communication is its lifeblood.
Evolution. Information. Energy. Complexity. Strategy. Tactics. Game Theory. Fractals.
My self-given purpose in life is to excite and empower people.
To accomplish this, I have to become an exciting and empowering person.
To become that person, I first have to be excited and empowered.
It’s deceptively straightforward, yet it’s something that I’ve never really managed to pin down decisively in my whirlwind of thoughts.
So what now? This fundamental idea is going to be my nerve center, my focal point, the core thread that runs through everything I do from now on- all that I am, all that I want to become.
Letter to myself in 2010:
“I want to inspire people to believe in themselves and the future, to find purpose and meaning, and lead balance, fulfilling lives. I want to empower them to do so.
I want to be consistently reliable, trustworthy and dependable- a ‘go-to’ person of sorts.
I want to be interesting, unpredictable (reliable but full of pleasant surprises), seductive (not necessarily in a sexual sense)… cultivate an air of mystery, reputation for awesome.
Build and maintain a bedrock, foundation of support.”