Choosing What to Work On…

I’m sharing an article from Vasili Shynkarenka. Check it out…

When our startup failed, I didn’t know what to do next.

I’ve always been busy running somewhere but never had the time to think hard about where I was heading.

Now I had all the time in the world. So I embarked on a journey to figure out what to work on.

I dug deep. Over the past six months, I devoured hundreds of books, articles, and videos on how to choose what to work on (or, more generally, what the f**k should I do with my life).

Most of them sucked. But the winners changed my life.

Instead of you wasting years searching for the best stuff, I’ve created this curriculum of the 13 essential reads to choosing what to work on.

These are less the 1% that made the cut. I’ve read virtually all of these twice or more….

Click here to read the article.

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Convenience Bends

bend.jpgThere is a technique in blacksmithing called the convenience bend. If you’re working on a piece, you might find you can’t get your hammer at a particular spot because another section of the piece is in the way. No problem. Just bend it out of the way, work on the section needed, and afterward bend it back. 

Usually, when bending the obstructing piece out of the way, you must deform the piece from what it is intended to be, and you might even undo some of the forging already done. That can be bothersome, especially when you tend to think linearly and you hate straying from the straight and forward path. To have your work at a place you want it to be, only to have to put it out of shape again, goes against the grain of most people’s thinking.

But it’s a good lesson for life though, isn’t it? How often do plans play out in a non-linear fashion? How often do you have to temporarily veer off the main course in order to stay with the main course in the long run? I find it’s quite often.

With blacksmithing, you know what you’re starting with, and you know what you want to end up with. However, you are not assembling a bunch of prefabricated parts — the work piece itself is changing shape and will go through several different manifestations before being complete. That is hard to do. What shape does this iron need to be now in order to get it to the shape it needs to be next? This challenge of sculpting is the reason the trade of blacksmithing has always been occupied by artists.

And such is life. You might know what you want, but you might not know how to get there.

Sometimes you just have to move forward blind, try new things, and make a few convenience bends.

 

life line

Conferences are a Waste of Time

speakerYou might be like me and hate conferences. But, is that a good enough reason not to go? Perhaps not. So lets flip it and assume you love going to conferences. Is loving them enough of a reason to go? It might be for you. (You know that you only go to conferences because you love them if the highlight of your entire year is the conference itself.) But suppose you wanted to convince a conference hater to go and to do so you had to come up with other reasons why you go different from the fact that you love them. What would those reasons be?

Conference Lover (CL): Conferences are great for team building and community.

Conference Hater (CH): If you only see a group of people once a year at a conference and not at any other time during the year, they are not your team nor your community. If you do see them regularly throughout the year, why have a conference?

CL: There is great teaching.

CH: If you own an iPad and have an internet connection, you literally have at your fingertips access to the world’s greatest teachers on any subject at anytime throughout the year.

CL: Networking!

CH: Assuming that networking refers to meeting people who have solutions to the problems you’re facing, why would you wait for a conference to hopefully meet someone? Why would you not actively pursue meeting the right people throughout the year?

CL: It’s a great time to get away from it all.

CH: Like a vacation? My vacation time is limited and I’m not going to spend 80% of it in a conference hall.

CL: Your presence at the conference signals your loyalty to the organization.

CH: Hah! Next….

CL: Vision casting from the leaders — seeing the bigger picture.

CH: I’m not fumbling around with no vision for 360 days of the year only to find it at a four day conference. Besides, you don’t want to make any major decisions for your life while being hyped up at a conference.

CL: You don’t want to be independent do you?

CH: My dependance rests on those close at hand and in my day to day life. And their dependance rests on me.

CL: Conferences are fun, encouraging, and essential for your success.

CH: If the single subject of the conference were something that I was very passionate about, like a particular theological theme, or Christian education, or blacksmithing, then I might go to be educated or for fun. But as soon as the conference is advertised as something essential for my success, then I know it will neither be fun nor essential for my success.

CL: ……

What else would you say?

Here is what a tolerable conference looks like (but probably still a waste of time):

  1. One very specific theme which directly relates to those in attendance. No general themes like “Leadership” or “Moving Forward!”. (Read my article on Andragogy, linked to below.)
  2. The conference is kept small enough so that it can be interactive throughout. Can an attendee ask questions, or provide input? Or is the room too full of people for that?
  3. Two or three days long maximum.

“The best kind of ‘conference’ is going on vacation with a small group of your smartest friends.” ~Naval Ravikant

Related reading: A Critique of Conferences; Andragogy (Adult Learning)

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Expanded Thoughts on Subjected Will

Many people believe the ability to choose A over B is free will, and to not have free will means one can not choose A over B. However, the ability to choose A over B is not evidence of free will. It is only evidence of will (a desire to choose one over the other). And the opposite of free will is not “no will” but rather, “not-free will”, or subjected will.

Even though you actively chose A over B, there is a reason you chose A over B, and if you trace that reason back to its point of origin, you will discover different sorts of forces acted upon you which you had no control of. To have true free will, you would have to be under no influence of anything whatsoever when making any decision. That condition is probably impossible.

Your will is subject to your desires, and your desires are subject to your nature. Even God has a nature which He can not violate.

Related reading: Subjected Will