Seeking to Become

Eye glasses, notebook, pencil, and postcards, and camera on a map

You may be the average of the five people you spend the most time with [1], but more so, today, you are the product of who you were yesterday and the day before [2]. “The difference between who you are now and who you were five years ago is largely due to how you’ve spent your time along the way.” [3]

So, who are you seeking to become?

If you like who you are today, keep doing what you are doing. But if you want to change, work to retool the habits which defined you up until this point. You don’t have to appease social norms of being the same person you were yesterday. Buck the tread and become who you want to be. (Do you believe people can change? [4]) Fight club and Tyler Durden show that resetting can be the impetus for your new, desired self to take hold. You don’t have to set fire to all your possessions, but find what brings joy to your life [5] . Don’t let your possessions own you  [6]. “If you can’t afford to lose it, you can’t afford it to buy it yet” [7]. So as spring rolls around here in the US, what cleaning will you be find? How will you shed your skin to let your new self shine?

Just connecting some things I came across recently. Here’s a non-chronological list:

[1] “You’re the average of the five people you spend most of your time with.”  – Jim Rohn
[2] Change Making Problem – Wikipedia
[3] Who are we seeking to Become – Seth Godin
[4] The Personality Myth – Invisibilia
[5] Life Changing Magic of Tidying up – Marie Kondo
[6] “The things you used to own, now they own you” – Fight Club
[7] Mr. Money Mustache – The New Yorker

Perspective

Here’s a story from a TED talk on perspective:

A man walks into a bank in Watsonville, California. And he says, “Give me $2,000, or I’m blowing the whole bank up with a bomb.”

Now, the bank manager didn’t give him the money. She took a step back. She took his perspective, and she noticed something really important. He asked for a specific amount of money.

So she said, “Why did you ask for $2,000?”

And he said, “My friend is going to be evicted unless I get him $2,000 immediately.”

And she said, “Oh! You don’t want to rob the bank — you want to take out a loan.”

“Why don’t you come back to my office, and we can have you fill out the paperwork.”

Challenge your perspective and don’t make assumptions.

Quoted from Adam Galinsky: How to speak up for yourself
https://embed.ted.com/talks/adam_galinsky_how_to_speak_up_for_yourself

Mindfulness Economy

Imagine our economy without advertisements. What would it look like? Facebook would not exist, Google would be a fragment of its current self, and for that matter, most tech companies propped up by VC money would be gone. Sports would only be seen in stadiums and played by athletes making minimal salaries. Media reliant on CPM would be no more. And that’s just the start.

We accept advertising as a way to subsidize the products we enjoy.

We sanction almost all aspects of our life to the effect of the attention economy. “Attention is a resource; a person has only so much of it. And yet we’ve auctioned off more and more of our public space to private commercial interests, with their constant demands on us to look at the products on display or simply absorb some bit of corporate messaging”.

How vastly different would the world be if we had to pay for things with our money rather than our attentions? We would be mindful of what we consume and wouldn’t by junk that looks nice online. Products may be more expensive, but imagine how improved they would be. The best products would survive by our recommendations to others. Real, in person recommendations. Not purchased reviews.

With our minds free from the barrage of stimulation, we could explore and share stories of our experiences. Maybe go see the world instead of getting the latest gadget. New ideas would spread by word of mouth and mindfulness would flourish as we place focus on our thoughts and emotions. We would become a more empathic people.

Businesses making products to better human kind would survive. Space exploration, solar, and entertainment would return to its roots with movie theaters, bookstores, live music, and Broadway shows. Writers will ensure the most important relationship is with the reader, not the advertiser.
And basic necessities like food and clothes would still be required, but stripped of their grandeur (stoicism) to their essential qualities: nutrition and function (with a bit of expression). Life would be more real and less inflated.

So how do we get there and how can it stick? Products should focus on real innovation and organic growth. We should not make something to get people addicted and hooked, but build a product to get people excited. Excited about life, growth, and being human.

Journal

One year and three months ago I wrote this in my journal:

“I want to start writing more for my blog. I am going to start by making an effort to sit down for five minutes (at least) and note what I am thinking about. Time seems to fly by lately. It would be enlightening to have a journal of past events to look back and remember what was going on in my life.”

In that time, I’ve amassed quite the collection of musings. I thought journaling would naturally overflow into blogging, and while it hasn’t yet turned out that way, the practice allows me to focus and make sense of things. Today I began reading what I wrote. We’ll see what comes of it, but I’m already happily surprised and excited to continue.

If you want to connect thoughts in your head, remember events in your life, or track growth over time, take a snapshot. Write it down. Make the nebulous, physical. As time passes, you can go back and reflect.

Timelapse

Want to stitch together a video of GoPro timelapse photos? They are all in the format G00XXXXX.JPG (G0050192.JPG), so throw all the photos in a single “Timelapse” folder and use ffmpeg!

ffmpeg -r 24 -start_number 50192 -i G00%05d.JPG -s 1440x1080 -pix_fmt yuv420p -f mp4 -vcodec h264 DriveToDomaine.mp4

Sit back and chill for a few minutes (or meditate), and soon enough you will have a new timelapse video! Feel free to play around with the settings to your liking. This will get you a 1440×1080, 24fps, QuickTime compatible, mp4 file. #justnerdthings

Enjoy!

Edit:
To concatenate mp4 files in the same directory use the following:
ffmpeg -f concat -safe 0 -i <(for f in ./*.mp4; do echo "file '$PWD/$f'"; done) -c copy drivingTour.mp4

Notice anything interesting?

I came across two articles the other day which made me stop and think after noticing a connection.

The Guardian article on The North Face and Patagonia

The North Face and Patagonia began offering professional outdoor gear to enthusiasts. As their brands gained recognition, they used this fame to stamp their logo on “high-end hobbyist” gear with the reputation of a hardcore mountaineer company. They moved from niche to mainstream.

The New York Times article on Nike’s Zoom Vaporfly

Nike, the most mainstream sporting equipment company, is creating a market of sub 2-hour marathon shoes and pitching them to the Rupps and Kiprotiches of the world. But in reality, Nike wants to sell shoes, and vast majority of those sales will come from people who are not going to hit a sub 2 hour marathon. Although they might read a “native ad” in the New York Times to learn about sneakers.

The hobbyist market moves quantity and both pieces are free marketing aimed squarely at the target audience.

We often miss connections amongst the throngs media we consume on the daily. Slow down for a moment and make sense of what you are truly seeing.

Three Questions

“Remember then: there is only one time that is important– Now! It is the most important time because it is the only time when we have any power. The most necessary man is he with whom you are, for no man knows whether he will ever have dealings with any one else: and the most important affair is, to do him good, because for that purpose alone was man sent into this life!”

From Three Questions by Leo Tolstoy

Empathy

“If you believed what he believes, you’d do precisely what he’s doing.

Think about that for a second. People act based on the way they see the world. Every single time.

Understanding someone else’s story is hard, a job that’s never complete, but it’s worth the effort.”

-Seth Godin, Empathy is difficult