Conversation

Peace doesn’t always mean everyone agrees with you or does what you’re comfortable with them doing.

Sometimes peace means walking seperate and opposite paths to those with which your path is incompatible.

It’s the crossing of opposing paths which breeds disdain.

Peace isn’t a lack of disagreement. It’s a lack of conflict.

My four year old cousin was lucky enough to get a remote controlled car today.

It had one of those awkward remotes with a trigger to control the speed and a small wheel to control the steering.

After a bit of back and forth trying to explain how this worked, it became clear that he was not at all interested in the wheel on the remote controller.

He drove the car from one side of the yard to the other, ran over to it pick it up and pointed it the other way to drive it back.

It’s not that he hadn’t seen how it could be used, nor that he didn’t think he was capable of learning how to do so.

It simply wasn’t important to him that the car was able to turn.

He was perfectly happy chasing it up and down the yard in straight lines.

He had no need to optimise his experience despite the fact that everyone around him thought they knew better.

When you’re busy optimising your own experience, the same applies.

There will be people who simply won’t understand the improvements you’re trying to make.

Some might even get frustrated by the fact that you’re so focussed on your steering wheel.

At the end of the day, everyone’s racing their own race.

Don’t waste energy trying to teach those uninterested in turning how to steer.

Christmas isn’t a great time of year for some folks, so it’s important to take care of yourself.

Even more importantly, make sure you’re patient with others who aren’t acting their best selves.

We can be at our best or at our worst when we’re emotionally charged – and it’s an emotional time of year.

At the shopping centre, the dinner table, or over the phone.

If you give nothing else this Christmas, let it be the benefit-of-the doubt.

How many actionable thoughts did you have today?

How many did you resist?

Of those you resisted, did your resistance stem from logic or fear?

Your nature is to act.

Resist the resistance.

Do the thing.

Go.

“Maximizing the benefits for the social media platform you’re on are different than maximizing the benefits for you and those you are leading.”

Seth Godin

The influencer dynamic plaguing modern marketing is shallow, but it sells units.

Influencers act as conduits for buyer’s attention.

Which at it’s core makes sense, right?

You see a cool Instagram page which represents your interests, and you follow it.

If they have a big enough following, brands who want to reach people interested in things relevant to the page reach out, and the page gets compensated for putting the brand in view of people likely to be interested in their products (aka you).

The problem is that these pages are usually compensated for their reach, not their quality.

The result is that influencers tend to race for cheap attention rather than fostering deeply engaged communities.

Those who hack the system to demand your attention get preference over those taking their time to foster communities – even when the former are wasting your attention in the process.

Influencing and leading are not the synonymous.

Influencers are out to sell your attention to the highest bidder.

Leaders are out to help you spend it wisely.

Sometimes the most creative thing you can do is spark inspiration into others.

It’s not the kind of work you always get noticed or thanked for, but the impact potential of inspiring others far exceeds the potential impact of any work you could do in isolation.

1 + 1 doesn’t always equal 2 because humans magnify one another.

Surround yourself with people who magnify the change you seek to make in the world. Even more importantly, make sure that you’re doing the same for them.

The first time a toddler attempts to lie is a huge psychological landmark.

While it might seem counter intuitive to be proud of a kid covered in crumbs while they’re promising they didn’t raid the cookie jar, it’s actually one of the first indicators that they have developed theory of mind.

This is the point at which a child realises that their thoughts, emotions, beliefs, intentions and perspectives are seperate from those of other people.

Almost unimaginably, this is not our default mode.

It doesn’t occur to a young child to lie, because their natural state is to assume that you already know what they know.

When a young child gets worked up over something seemingly trivial, it’s often because they don’t yet understand that the wants and needs of others can conflict with their own.

When there is a dissonance between what they are experiencing and what others are doing, they can’t process it. The result, as all parents will know, is an intense experience of pain and grief.

We begin our lives assuming that humankind shares a singular, unified consciousness and every experience we have from then on slowly proves us otherwise.

So slowly in fact, that even some adults default back to this mode when the views of others don’t align with their own.

When their cognitive expectations aren’t met, when the perspectives of others stray too far from their own beliefs and desires, it becomes too much to process. The resistance they feel gives way to tantrum in the same way a toddler spits out its dummy when nobody’s paying it enough attention.

There’s truth to Jim Rohn’s notion, “You’re the average of the five people spend the most time with.”

We really are. The things we do, stories we tell and even the food we eat is in many ways determined by the preferences and actions of those closest to us.

Which, in turn, are determined by the preferences and actions of those closest to them, and so on, and so on.

On a macro level, this is how cultures solidify. Unless you’ve got plans to pack up and leave, you don’t have much control over the culture you’re born into.

What you do control is who within that culture you choose to admire; those you wish to emulate, those you respect, and those you grant the gift of your trust.

Trust doesn’t transfer through blood or by law. It can only be earned.

Look around. If there’s someone close to you who you don’t trust with your future – what’s wrong? What needs to change?

There’s something spectacular about the first fully formed words which a child is able to piece together.

We all know the classics. My sister’s first (and still favourite) word was ‘No’. My partner’s first word was ‘Dad’, which she swears was a deliberate effort on her Mum’s part to make him feel specially requested by his little girl when her cries woke them in the night.

Mine were odd. At the time, I was obsessed with a little picture book full of animals and colours. My first words were from my favourite page, ‘Grey duck.’

If you, your children or anyone you know had an interesting first word, or were well trained to say something strategic, I want to hear it.

Moments like these are worth savouring.

My Jiu-Jitsu team, Legion 13, won the state championship last weekend for both the kids and adult competition.

In the week since, it’s been interesting to see how bound together everyone feels.

There’s a unity which shared success can generate which is infectious and highly motivating.

Like shared trauma, shared success brings people together.

Successful teams relish the relief of success together through shared pride. In order to be proud of the team’s achievements, one needs to be proud of themselves and also their teammates.

By definition, the team is larger than any one of the individuals which make it up. Great teams relate to one another as such.

The social benefit of this shared success compounds as the team does better and better; the more unified a team, the higher their chance is of succeding.

We have seen this in every era of every sport; mythical teams who found success and went on to seem undefeatable.

That’s all a bit grand for our local Jiu-Jitsu club, but the comradery and respect amongst team members this week has been a privilege to witness nonetheless.

If you’re not involved in some team activity, sporting or otherwise, it’s worth considering seeking out a tribe.

You might be surprised by how much can accomplished in unison with others.

Image via the Legion 13 Facebook page