Yesterday something happened that kind of woke me up to something that had been staring me in the face for the longest time but I was effectively blind to it because I was so immersed within it subjectively. In effect, until I stepped back from what I was so immersed within and looked at it objectively, I couldn’t see what I was actually doing.
You see for the longest time, I’ve been trying to align aspects of my life and bring them together. If you think about it in terms of trying to live your life creatively, it’s about avoiding making decisions where you’re thinking, I need to do this OR that. I must choose one OR the other. With creativity, you don’t have to do that. You can say, actually I can do this AND that.
What I’m talking about here isn’t multitasking or doing many different things in the your life at the same time, to the point that you become overloaded and exhausted. What I’m talking about here is aligning previously different aspects of your life into one thing that achieves them all at once, so that you simplify the complexity of your life, allowing you to live it more fully.
The aspects of my life that I’m trying to align are my past with my present. My past involves games, computers, the Web, and communities. My present is focused on creativity, social innovation, the Future of Work, allowing personal, organizational, and societal development and growth to occur.
Within the last month, I realized that play was the thing that linked my past to my present, as play was the cornerstone of the communities I helped build online around video games but play, in a much broader sense, is also the cornerstone of creativity, innovation, and The Future of Work.
But today, I realized this didn’t go far enough. Why? Because I still envisioned two divided aspects of my life. One focused on helping people with “Simplifying Technology” and the other “Clarifying Identity”. What I’m realizing today is that both can be achieved at once. In effect, one can “clarify their identity” by using “technology that simplifies” their life.
Objectifying Oneself to Clarify Oneself
What I’m talking about here is what I’ve referred to in the past as my Memex, or more commonly called an external brain or Second Brain. For myself, it is PDF converted books and articles that I’ve read that I’ve highlighted progressively and annotated with my own thoughts. This allows me to then easily search them as personal knowledge database, easily finding and remember things that would be difficult to remember just using my own brain.
What I realized today though was that I was creating and using a second brain long before I even realized I was doing so. What I’m talking about is this website itself. It is a simpler version of a second brain. One perhaps not with the right structure to optimize it fully for such but one nevertheless. And if you think about it, it makes sense. This is why most people have noted time and again at how blogging has been highly effective in their development, be it with building relationships, their career, or both.
Work That Encompasses All of Me
So what I’m getting at here is the answer to the question I’ve been asking myself for decades, “What work can I do that expresses myself fully, encapsulating my experiences, development, and knowledge of my entire life?” This is it. Best of all, the approach is profoundly simple and basic (i.e. setting up a website to express yourself) but the results from it are profoundly complex and rich (i.e. clarifying your identity, your passion, your purpose, etc), as it allows you to understand yourself at a deeper level than you could possibly imagine.
Even other things I’ve been working upon suddenly make sense within this newer context. For example, I’ve been racking my brain for years, trying to figure out what the next generation of a résumé would look like and function like. Well a Second Brain is it. It not only tells you who you are but where you’ve been and where you’re going. It relays the greatest questions of your life that are your “quests” you’re actively involved in (as projects).
Suddenly a lot of things makes sense to me now. I know what I must do. They are things that I’ve talked about doing in the past but wasn’t sure if they were the right things to do (as they would take a lot of work). Now I know they will be worth the effort and work involved.
In time, all will be revealed, emerging gracefully from within the present.