Doing what you love

I love observing people, technology and life.

I love reading about people, technology and life.

I love writing and having conversations about people, technology and life.

If people see value in me doing what I love and are willing to pay me for it, all well and good.

If not, I am increasingly ok with that.

I don’t care if you don’t like me

Well, that’s probably not true, and is intended as a play on the use of the Facebook “like” button, but…
There is a risk when sharing ideas on social platforms that we worry too much about whether people agree with us or not.
It is too easy to get into tit for tat arguments “defending” our views in comments.
It’s too easy to stop posting things that you think are going to provoke “the wrong reaction”.
It’s too easy to allow this to prevent us from posting in the first place.
Hence I am resolving to care less – in the nicest possible way!

It’s all a game

Listening to a podcast with former Google exec Mo Gawdat yesterday he talked about playing video games with his son.

As a novice playing Halo, Gawdat would try to avoid challenges and danger in order to get to the end of each level as quickly and easily as possible. His son, an experienced gamer, asked what on earth he was doing. The fun of games like Halo is to explore everything and develop skills. If your character gets hurt or damaged by the challenges you pick yourself up, have another go, and have developed knowledge or skill in the process.

As Gowratt points out this is just like life. Why rush to the end avoiding interesting experiences on the way? Why not relish all of the available experiences, even the painful or challenging ones?

Out of control

Back in the early days of the use of”social” tools in the workplace I used to talk about managers’ fear of losing control. I would point out that they had never really had control. Sure they had the appearances of it, they had the titles, they had the ownership of the communication channels, they had the “authority”. But in terms of the actual day to day actions of those they managed they had minimal control.

However by engaging fully with the use of social tools they could achieve influence. By noticing what was happening around them then writing about what mattered, and why, they were much more likely to encourage people to move towards shared goals and desired outcomes. They could become a fully functioning node in a healthy network of networks rather than a distorting force blocking the organism from working.

The same is true of life. We fear loss of control, but we never had it. We were on autopilot, our actions a result of biology, culture, and memory.

But if we are awake, and aware, and notice, and share, what is happening in every moment, over and over again, we can allow life to happen without distortion.

As Joseph Campbell put it:

“We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us.”

Current circumstances are making a lot of us feel more out of control than usual. By attempting to exercise control, by using force to pursue some favoured ideology, we risk distorting the complex interactions that are life taking its course. These distortions cause stress and distress to ourselves, those around us, and ultimately the precious planet we live on.

This is not an argument for doing nothing. It is a plea to loosen our frantic attempts to control life, to make it fit to our preconceived and inherited ideas of how it should be. Instead we could allow life to work by noticing each and every complex, fascinating, moment as it happens, again and again… and then responding. Fully taking our place in the complex, interconnected, networks of networks that are life working as it should.

The heroism of doing nothing

We are used to stigmatising those who do nothing and lionising those who are busy. But what if those who are always busy – pushing themselves and those around them ever harder, “driving change”, fighting off the competition, being the fittest who survive – what if they were the problem and not the solution? What if we saw them as the ones who are creating a divided world, causing stress and unhappiness, putting our precious planet under unsustainable pressure?

What if those who are content with doing nothing, with just being, what if they were the heros and the role models?

Weathering storms

I have always loved being “in” weather. Sitting on mountainsides watching clouds form and disperse around me is one of life’s greatest pleasures. Feeling hard driving rain beating on my waterproof gear in the middle of nowhere brings a glow of cosiness. Being almost knocked flat by gale force winds is the height of excitement.

Staying at home all the time, and spending a lot of it sitting in the garden, is heightening my awareness of even the more “mundane” weather of leafy Bucks. The intensity of the colours in the crystal clear air that we are enjoying at the moment. The smell of rain falling on the warm, newly cut, grass. And today being able to hear the whooshing sound of the wind waving the lush trees – a sound that would normally be drowned out by traffic noise.

Finer grained pleasures are one of the unanticipated upsides of these challenging times.

A momentary kiss with life

I remember clearly the moment when kissing a girl became a possibility, having my mind fill with images from the films of the time of how various romantic leads went about the process, and wishing that it hadn’t.

But we can’t help this. Every time we consider doing something our minds are already pre-filled with the narratives from our families and our culture of what we should do and how we should do it.

There is no point agonising about this, as this is all we are. The me that feels that it is in control isn’t. It only exists as a combination of genetics, previous experience, and learned narratives. We retrofit a sense of control that doesn’t exist.

This isn’t avoidable but nor is it “bad”. It is life happening in us and around us. We are not separate from it. We are it. We can learn to accept it and not fight it.

In each moment we can get better at kissing life.

It is waiting…