Cutting corners is, in actuality, a shorter path to nowhere. Artists that pay to be seen are con-artists. Artists that sublimate through doing the work, feeling the pain, and experiencing the growth are the artists that win.
They are the ones that earn the right to call themselves artists. And they are, ultimately, the ones that create the meaningful change we seek.
News outlets are focused on visualizing the pandemic, illustrating the leading and lagging indicators to map the virus’s progression, behavior, and growth. Given what we know, statistically, the predictive approach intends to inform, as an approximation. Where it is. Where it is going. In this case, we’re following the data logarithmically. It shows change, rate, behavior, and can be used to model the future.
Incidentally, our current isolation is forcing a deeper, more personal, dilemma; choice. Human nature is to continually believe that choices will always persevere time. Now, the only choice is to make one or even several. For all of us, these coming weeks will involve several life changing decisions.
Despite the pain, we have to embrace the notion that each improvement will positively reform ourselves and each other. Each growth choice will escalate us from one plateau to the next, exponentially, to be more than a surviver. Time and choice are the two coefficients that we can use to influence a positive regression.
The world will not be the same, but it can be significantly better if we level up logarithmically.
Distancing is difficult for the extrovert and often easier for the introvert. However, eliminating our need for human connection is challenging for all. While challenging, the exercise should motivate ourselves to think about the idea of distancing and how we can best deal with detaching from things that cause us harm, despite how important it may ‘seem’.
For many, the current tech-tooling-workflow environment is overwhelmed by options. On average, an employee at any medium sized company, is likely to utilize 5 separate, if not more, platforms, at any given time. However helpful these integrations may be, they’re also additive in nature. The deeper we travel in search of ‘version’s to improve our-workflow; the wider the depth. This depth then becomes a deep, difficult to navigate, sludge; with very little visibility.
Human nature is to seek out solutions, at the expense of time and at the peril of not knowing what we need. Our best tooling options are the ones we know we need to do our best work; to stay above water. To avoid the deep end. And to that end, our work is better served either as an extension of ourselves or the purpose that we are collectively connected to.
In almost any discipline, the best solution is a simple facilitator to what we already do. Not 10 alternatives.
Find the tooling that keeps you above water and moving forward.
It’s a myth that reputation and credentials can provide easy access, at any time. Arguably those are useful, verifiable, assets to trust and verify. However, our life experience should not rely on any singular, myopic, path. Rather we should assume that another path can be pursued at any other time; a 2nd act in life, starting now.
It begins when we turn inwards to validate everything we have done, the work, the lessons learned, and the experience of so many different things. Your 2nd act becomes a story of your expertise and a drive to share something remarkable with the world.
Organizations and artists often face internal strife. Startups focus on proving out theories as to whom or what is of value and what should or should not be automated. Artists become distracted and debilitated by others’ ‘art’. When organizations observe their competition taking aggressive measures they respond in a similar fashion. Needless to say, these practices routinely erode morale, abrade loyalty, all while imposing a sense of disposable fungibility.
The intelligent, long term play, is to think forward. Not medially. Our work is best served when we compete for a better version of ourselves. We lose when we fight each other. We lose when we obsess over our competition. We lose when we scrape the barrel for extra cash. The bottom is a dead end. Consequently, individuals and organizations dissolve themselves for short term gains.
Focus forward and cultivate. Elimination is a zero-sum game. Looking ahead is more. It is exercising your art, in confidence, to create your best self.
When is the last time you keenly watched a turntable’s stylus careen around a vinyl record? Probably not recently, if ever.
However, at that microscopic level, magnified by an order of 1000x, you can witness the actual system at work. A delicate balance of weight, size, physics, precision, and style.
Similarly, our ‘true north’ compass comes equipped with a stylus to help track and navigate. Resilient but delicate, its’ subtle variance at all points, is in motion. Up down, and left to right all while moving forward.
As it ‘turns’ and processes reflexively, life is akin to that of the delicate stylus; anticipating, moving, and responding to maintain a balanced playback. Apply too much weight, the stylus distorts playback. Apply too little, the stylus jumps out of place. Balance the weight, tonearm, and anti-skid so it plays cleanly from start to finish is the art.
We have to recalibrate from time to time, from record to record. It can be a subtle change, but can make a world of difference. The experience, exposure, and intuition to reposition so that the symbiotic relationship between path and compass is ultimately a singular function. Working and learning but keeping you on course.
A decade has passed. 3650 days, 87600 hours, and 5.256e+6 seconds later, 2020 is here. But at any rate, this uniquely positions us to evaluate, analyze, understand, and create a better path forward. That is, a clearer perspective, allowing the past to inform the present, but not allowing the future to overwhelm the present. Easier said than done, but perhaps finding the connection and relationships made across our timeline is a way to better inform each incremental step forward. Incidentally, I often seek perspective through curiosity and application. Consider the following:
Take our current year, ‘2020’, and split it into 2 locations; a superposition if you will. The ’20’ (a) of our past’ informing the ’20’ (b) of our future, both connected by inference. We know each location to be different, and we know that (a) & (b) exhibit a relationship in their respective system. And for our understanding, we can assume that both remain entangled by cognition. Further, when we attempt to make sensible and sound decisions, we are continually referencing each, and using their summation to produce an outcome. Therefore, if we want our individual system’s to produce a desired outcome, you must be willing and be open to access each state. It can give way to effectively understanding the connection that our past state is bridged to our future state through our present ability to recognize both, simultaneously.
If we desire clarity through improved vision, we need to accept that hindsight is indeed ‘2020’; it is our past and future states in the present. Use it to see where you want to go.