A Tsunami of Change

This is what it means to learn, to work and to succeed, I think, in the modern digital age. It is just to know your knowledge, to really in some way know yourself.

Tiago Forte, Building a Second Brain

I believe that these words hold the foundation for a whole New World that is emerging in front of us right now. A New World that radically redefines and reframes everything we think we know.

Forget jobs. Forget organizations.

Something new is emerging. A tsunami of change.

Fuck what you know. You need to forget about what you know, that’s your problem.

Tyler Durden, Fight Club

Your Too Smart for Your Own Good

Just remembering something my wife said to me years back.

“Your problem is that you’re too smart.”

She’s right. Sometimes when you’re too smart, you seek out solutions to problems that are way more complex than they need to be.

And if anything, often times the best ways to create something complex is by building it or cultivating it slowly and simply over time, one step at a time.

In this way, the complexity you need arises naturally, with very little effort, as an emergent outcome.

Second Brain or Second Self?

There’s something about using the word Second Brain that doesn’t jive with me fully though. It feels limiting in some way. To me, it’s more like you’re creating a Second Self or a Reflected Self that helps you reveal your True Self.

For now though, I’ll probably keep using Second Brain to describe this, as it has taken on a life of its own, become more and more know.

Site Purposes

I’m realizing that going forward, Be Real Creative will become my business site, articulating the overarching vision of how I wish to simply help others by revealing their unique and authentic leadership of their identity through creativity. Even this falls into alignment, as I’ve always seen myself metaphorically as a Bard. But instead of telling heroic tales of others, I’m helping others to reveal the heroic (aka leadership) aspects of themselves on their own.

And Nollind Whachell, as this website entity, will become a living example of a web-based Second Brain.

Stepping into The Pool of Knowledge

The “Ladder of Inference”. I get it now in a whole new way. We typically envision it as something we climb up but it is also something we climb down as well. In fact, climbing down with it is its primary mode because it builds an mental environment (aka worldview) we can step down and immerse ourselves within.

But later, when we are trying to go beyond this worldview, we also need to learn to step out of it, breaking it down through creative destruction, so that we can rebuild another ladder that helps us immerse ourselves within something much, much deeper than what we’re seeing now.

Clarifying Identity Through Simplified Technology

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.

Aligning Diversity

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.

The Fluid Stability of Learning “Who You Are”

A while back, an emphasis of my life was articulating the importance of understanding how we evolve in stages of development and how creativity helps us transition & transform between these stages.

What’s becoming apparent to me now is articulating how our passion & purpose become quantifiable at a certain stage, allowing us to become much more fluid beings, able to flexibly adapt not just to a new way of working but a new way of living on a daily basis.

This is why I see so many people misinterpreting The Future of Work as just learning and transitioning to a new job. It’s not. Or you could say it is…but requiring the ability to do so on a daily basis, where you have no idea what your “job” will from moment to moment.

This is what it means when people say we are letting go of the rigidity in the past with regards to work and even learning…and why the capacity to “learn how to learn” will be essential within an unknown & uncertain world.

This is why the stability to live in such a rapidly changing, fluid world won’t come from new job skills so much as it will instead come from you “Connecting” up your entire life & finding a deep sense of meaning that will stabilize it intrinsically, rather than extrinsically.

Like a surfer mastering how to surf larger and larger waves, we will all need to find our “center” to be able to balance and align ourselves from within, so we can ride out & even enjoy the big waves of change rising before us, truly feeling alive doing so.

Sonos Portable Speaker?

Wow! It appears that Sonos may be launching some additional speaker products later this year. One notable product appears to be a portable speaker that has both a Wifi speaker mode (connecting normally to a Sonos system) and a Bluetooth mode (for direct connection to any mobile device). The only product that I’ve seen close to this is a Libratone ZIPP 2 Speaker. That Sonos themselves are creating something similar is pretty amazing.

Update: The Sonos Move speaker has been released. Sounds great but for $499 in Canada, which is basically the same price as a Sonos Beam speaker, that’s way too expensive. I’d rather spend the money on another Sonos Beam, as they sound amazing.

Automattic Acquires Tumblr

WPTavern is reporting that Automattic has acquired Tumblr.

To say this is surprising is an understatement. The question of “Why?” comes up next. It seems obvious that Automattic is not doing this as a money making venture but more about trying to keep a passionate community alive, as the fans of Tumblr are definitely that.

The next thing that seems surprising is that Automattic will rebuild the backend using WordPress but maintain the front end functionality and appearance of it. While you’re at Automattic, why not bring the same microblogging functionality over to WordPress itself? This is something I’ve been wanting for a long time, basically the best aspects of both platforms combined together.

Post Formats, created long ago, were supposed to provide this but never took off. Many people said they didn’t see the need for them but obviously there is a huge user base out there who do love their simple functionality for microblogging. Still people today say we don’t need them because we have Gutenberg Blocks now but blocks don’t restyle the entire post to match the context of it (ie micropost vs long form post).

Article Embedding is another thing that Tumblr has that WordPress needs desperately across its entire platform to enable true microblogging. While WordPress does allow for the “embedding” of articles using the Embed Block, it is severely limited and doesn’t working universally with any site URL, which makes it pointless to even use. WordPress needs true article embedding built in its core, like what larger social networking platforms like Facebook and Twitter have, to seriously compete with them and make WordPress more than just a long form platform.

Beyond Working & Learning: Peter Gray on Play

“Play, by definition, is self-controlled and self-directed, it is the self-directed aspect of play that gives it its educative power.”

In an ever increasingly and rapidly changing world, more and more of us are feeling like we have lost a sense of control of our lives. Peter Gray’s 2014 TED Talk reveals how children today are feeling the same way, primarily because of The Decline of Play. By reintegrating play back into our daily lives though, not only can children benefit from this, but I believe we all can. We just need to redefine play in a much bigger context, just as we are redefining working and learning within a larger context as well.

Peter begins by recognizing the fundamental nature of play and how integral it is to our lives.

From a religious perspective, we might say that play is God’s gift that makes life on Earth worthwhile.

Now, here’s the sad news, here’s really what I am here to talk about. Over the last 50 to 60 years, we have been gradually taking that gift away. Over this period of time, there has been a continuous erosion in children’s freedom and opportunity to play, to really play, to play freely.

And he reveals how an essential aspect of play for learning is its self-directed nature, which mirrors how autonomy is seen as an essential aspect of The Future of Work.

Play, by definition, is self-controlled and self-directed, it’s the self-directed aspect of play that gives it its educative power.

More importantly though, Peter reveals how critical this is in creating a sense of control of one’s life, rather than feeling tossed around uncontrollably by circumstances which can often lead to anxiety and depression.

We’ve also seen a decline of the young people’s sense that they have control over their own lives. There is a questionnaire called the internal-external locus of control scale. There is a version of this for children, as well as for adults. It’s been given since about 1960. Ever since it’s been given, we have seen a decline, a continuous decline, in children’s and young adults’ sense that they have control over their own lives. They have more and more of a sense that their lives are controlled by fate, by circumstance, by other people’s decisions.

Now this is significant in terms of the relationship between anxiety and depression because one thing clinical psychologists know very well is that not having an internal sense of control sets you up for anxiety and depression.

Most importantly of all though, in learning to take control of our lives, we’re learning to be creative and innovative, not only solving our own problems but also learning to be empathetic in seeing other points of view.

Play is where children learn that they are in control of their life, it’s really the only place they are in control of their own life. When we take that away, we don’t give them the chance to learn how to control their own life.

Play is where they learn to solve their own problems and learn therefore that the world is not so scary after all. Play is where they experience joy and they learn the world is not so depressing after all.

Play is where they learn to get along with peers and see from others’ points of view, and practice empathy, and get over narcissism. Play is by definition creative and innovative.

In his closing comments, similar to how research on The Future of Work is revealing how we need to go beyond just “work, work work”, so too does Peter reveal how schooling needs to go beyond just “learning, learning, learning”, micromanaging every second of our free time towards it.

And perhaps, most of all, we need to be brave enough to stand up against the continuous clamor for more schooling. Our children don’t need more school. They need less school. Maybe they need better school, but they don’t need more school.

So it’s not so much about playing with LEGO bricks more often but rather playing, experimenting, and socialstructing our lives in a new way from the basic “building blocks” of it. In effect, we don’t have to play the existing “game”, becoming the things we’ve conventionally been told and expected to become. We can let go of these old, outdated beliefs and “play a new game”, one where we are more in direct control of our lives and our choices which resonates more clearly with our true selves, at which point our work becomes play, as Richard Barrett notes below.

You will know when you are operating from this level of consciousness because there will be nothing else to do. You will not want to “retire” because that would stop your life from having any meaning. There will be no division between work and the rest of your life. What you considered before as your work now becomes play.

Richard Barrett, Evolutionary Coaching

Featured image by Jordan Whitt on Unsplash