A hard day to strive forward

Tired enough. Getting tired happens from time to time. Today was one of those days that just did not ever really get all the way kicked off. It was a day that even espresso could not jump start. Sometimes those days yield interesting results. This is probably not one of those silver lining type of days where you learn something valuable and are better for it. Things happens. You move on. Today was a day that just stacks up with the other days you move on from.

Sales came and went with Black Friday and Cyber Monday this year. Some Chromebooks did go on sale. None of those sales were enough to tempt me into replacing this ASUS Chromebook Flip model C100PA-DB01. This build is lacking in processing power and RAM. It really was not built to do anything intensive. It works great for writing and general internet browsing. Video sometimes work and sometimes it just lags and freezes. Build quality for this device was pretty good. A few of the screws on the bottom of the aluminum frame are damaged, but otherwise the whole unit is in good shape.

Some time ago I covered the only webcam on my ASUS Flip with a piece of electrical tape. That seemed like a logical thing to do. I have no real need to use the video camera on my Chromebook. It would be a very awkward camera to use. Both my Google Pixel XL and my Pixel 2 XL have way better cameras. Most smartphones solid in 2017 have a better camera.

Each day my writing projects have to grow beyond 500 words. That floor has to be the minimum standard for a writing session. Producing some type of video content has become a part of my daily routine. Day one of the vlog experiment started on December 17, 2016. We are quickly closing in on one full year of creating video content. Initially, I had thought about trying to make a video every day for 365 days straight. That did not happen. Seriously, that is actually really challenging to achieve. The folks that are able to generate dynamic and interesting daily content are both very creative and highly motivated.

Both vlogging and live streaming are interesting. Most of the academic prose I generate is highly technical and only somewhat approachable. That is probably my fault to some degree. I know that writing informative and highly approachable prose is the way to go, but that can be challenging at times to achieve. Go figure. We all have to strive for a certain level of output. My personal challenge for 2018 will probably be to average 3,000 words per day. That would benchmark my 2018 writing output at about a million words. Somewhere in the middle of writing a million words in a year has to be something meaningful. Even it only happened on accident the effort would be worth the result.

This paragraph will include the 500th word for the day. That pretty much means that between the start of this writing session and this point I would only be at 16% of my 2018 daily writing goal. Well to be completely accurate I would be 16.66% repeating of course. Writing at a cip of 3,000 words per day would require finding things that are worth writing about and aligning those to things that I am actually passionate about.

Generating 3,000 words of pure stream of consciousness driven prose per day would be an interesting experiment. Prose resulting from such a daily ongoing grind would probably be highly disjointed. It would probably end up going in highly varied and somewhat chaotic directions. Daily writing can take on a kind of retrospective take on things. Stream of consciousness writing can really end up going in seemingly random directions.

We summarize forward

Accept it. Now would be the moment to decide. Imagine the power of that moment. The decisions that could be made. The directions that could be taken. For me it works like this mantra. “We summarize forward.”

Everything we hold true remains nothing more than a summary. We summarize all of our past experiences, theories, or expectations. All of that gets brought together as we move forward from the moment. Within that framework we summarize forward and move on to the next moment. It is the moment right here and right now that we can take action. Things that happened before or will happen are captive to and are captive to a moment. It could have been a moment that already happened or it could be the moment that is happening right now.

Even in my best moments it remains hard to push forward. At one point, I had decided to adopt veganism. At my best I can manage to eat mostly vegetarian, but that is pretty much the edge of where my efforts take me. That pretty much results in eating vegetarian breakfast and lunch. Dinner remains the one meal that really trips me up. Maybe a stronger degree of commitment would help me push forward.

Even with the best intentions possible some tasks will always be much harder than others. Maybe it would be easier to summarize forward about the possible ways to fix my adherence to better eating choices. It might be easier to elect within this moment to take action and fix things moving forward.

Squandered moments are everywhere

Today started off with a little fog. It was morning in Colorado. The wind was slightly chilly and it had just rained. My thoughts were with Chicago after watching the Cubs advance to the NLCS during an epic 9th inning rally. This is the time of year for postseason baseball.

I started to think about building my baseball card collection in the 1990’s. It reminded me of reading Beckett magazine and opening backs of trading cards. A few years have passed since I spent time opening packs of cards on a regular basis.

A moment or two pass without an afterthought. They pass and will continue to do so. Moments pass like the wind. Right now these words are the moment. We elect to take action in the moment. Planning to take action lacks a certain authenticity vs. taking action in the moment. We can plan big to change the world. Only our collection action together will change things. The moments we need to move forward are everywhere. Potential remains ready to be unlocked. Each moment could unlocked that potential or it could pass.

Inaction is way too easy

You can say it again. You can say it every day. Inaction is way too easy. It would be much easier to not move forward. It would be easier not to strive forward. It would be easy to engage in epic and utterly useless procrastination. Inaction is pretty easy to achieve. The hard part of the process is drawing a line in the sand. You then have to do everything within your power to strive to get beyond that line in the sand. Sometimes that requires the type of single minded purpose that breaks down barriers. Other times it requires just enough imagination to push the frontier of what is possible out just a little bit. That is the key to moving things forward. It involves figuring out how to achieve things that are just beyond what is possible.

We have so many things to accomplish. The intersection of technology and modernity has redefined the nature of what is possible within our lifetimes. We are starting to see tremendous shifts in the ways people are able to work together. We are so close to being able to bring people together to solve the toughest problems of our time. We just have to gain agreement on the problems. We are the generation that got to see politics breakdown. A sound working political system opens the door to a world of possibilities. We have to accept that political parties have a great and truly miraculous capacity to bring people together. It may not be something that we all agree on. Together we have the capacity to achieve truly meaningful change. The possibility exists. That possibility is something we have to appreciate and tap into.

Outside of politics some corporations have tried to make a difference. We have seen a few companies pop up with social benefits. Some of them work globally. Some of them are inherently a part of the social fabric of local communities. Some venture capital companies and other entrepreneurial investors try to push the boundaries of what is possible. Solving the biggest problems we face might create entirely new markets. Those solutions may shake up current markets. As the intersection of technology and modernity continues to reshape the frontier of what is possible we will see huge changes in our lifetime.

We have to figure out where those changes will be. Those are the places where we can make a difference. We have to figure out how those changes can strengthen the social fabric that built our communities. Change is on the horizon. How we harness that change will define our generation.

The disjointed nature of social media

Earlier this morning, I was thinking, “Be here. Be present. Be now. We ask a lot from our future selves. We need to expect a lot more from the moment that is here and now.” That string of thoughts was sparked by my digital experience earlier in the day.

Recently I have noticed that my digital experience feels very disjointed. I have more ways available to communicate with folks online than ever before. The rise of messaging applications a decade ago has been matched and probably surpassed. Right now it shows me being available on a ton of services. Some of them are social media related. Some of them are just messaging applications. A lot of them are tied to my phone number. Overall it is highly disjointed. It is not overwhelming or anything. It would be very easy to just power my phone off and step away from my computer. That would pretty much eliminate all lines of digital communication. It just falls short of feeling connected in any meaningful way.

All of my online efforts pretty much run through my functional journal (weblog). That has worked well enough for the last decade. However, I started wondering if Mark Cuban is right about permanence within social media. Cuban favors a form of limited permanence. Each utterance would pretty much have a clock on it and it would disappear when the clock runs out. My writing efforts are pretty much available in perpetuity. Some of my writing efforts reach a wide audience. Some of them reach a very small audience. Both of those outcomes work for me. My writing efforts are almost exclusively about collecting my thoughts and moving forward. Put simply — I write, because I like to write. My efforts probably should be more focused on having an impact on the world around me and making a difference. That type of noble pursuit is something I find compelling. Obviously, it does not define my every move.

Be balanced in your approach

Each day we have the opportunity to experience a number of different things. We have to seize the potential for greatness in the moments we can influence. Some of them will be awesome. Some of them will be heartbreaking. Most days will just be predictable. That is ok. It happens. We can make the choice to focus on the positive influences in our lives. Imagine for a moment a day where you experience a rich tapestry of human interactions and emotions. That day includes moments of greatness and personal fulfillment. Your reaction to that type of day should not involve focusing only on outliers. That approach ignores the best parts of the human experience. That type of focus will askew your perspective. As you approach the 5 sigma level of accuracy within any process the overall vast majority of things occurring are positive. We have to get passed focusing only on negative elements of our outliers and be balanced in our approach. It has to be acceptable to celebrate success and recognize strengths. We have to be balanced as we seek to understand the world around us.

Bring passion to the things you do

We set the standard with each step we take. Let today be the start of bringing passion to the things that you do. During the course of a career you will experience a lot of ups and downs. Each day has the potential to include highlights. Some of those highlights will be epic. Not every moment of every day will end up being a highlight play. Some of the moments we experience are forgettable. The potential always exists to seize the day. You have to figure out what you want to do with the moments you have. My dedication to striving forward has been redoubled. We make a choice each day. We make a choice to set the stand with each step we take. Every moment provides us with the opportunity to make a choice. It has to be about bringing passion to the things you need to do. It has to be about bringing passion to the things you have to do. It is always easier to bring a certain amount of passion to the things that you want to do. It takes more resolve to strive forward toward a perfect possible future that involves breaking down barriers and overcoming challenges. Stringing forward is about improving every day. We strive forward to learn and grown and develop. The challenges we take on help build up our knowledge, skills, and abilities. Building up those experiences helps set us up for success.

Each and every opportunity

Seizing the day might seem cliché. It is not. We have the opportunity to seize the day. We have the opportunity to strive forward. Every day we have the opportunity to build on our previously built up knowledge, skills, and abilities. Our collective experience only grows throughout every moment of every day. Within each of those moments we face a certain amount of opportunity. We rise to it. We shrink from it. We do just about every thing in between. From time to time we make the mistake of looking beyond today. It truly is a mistake. This moment right now involves a choice. We can take action or we rely on the promise of tomorrow. Maybe procrastination drives that reliance. Maybe it is something else. Each day can be evaluated. We can evaluate each day against one defining question. Was every opportunity throughout the day maximized?

Inquiry can be a part of the process, but it is not a solution. We are taught throughout graduate school to question everything. We rarely question all of our questioning. A wise friend of mine once told me, “Art is art.” I have stood and enjoyed a painting at a museum. I tried to take it all in from the brush strokes to the colors. Inherent to art is an intrinsic value related to the emotions and reaction we experience. That experience is valuable. However, all sorts of techniques exist to breakdown and evaluate things. The models and processes we use to question things are often far more involved and complex than the thing in question.

We believe that questioning can lead us down the path to a solution. A lot of modern solutions do not result in something being solved in perpetuity. It is always interesting when something that was solved changes to being unsolved. That is an interesting phenomenon to observe. It is a phenomenon that requires more and more inquiry as complexity is expanding around us.

A few moments of concentration

Potential is something interesting to think about. We all have potential. We can see potential in all sorts of things. Each new day starts full of potential. That potential requires a certain amount of concentrating to unlock. I have to admit that concentrating has been a challenging thing to achieve recently. Complete and total focus can be difficult to muster. Maybe it is time to shake things up. A change in routine could be enough to renew my focus.

A day at rest

I was at a loss for words earlier this week. It happened for a few moments. My mind was literally at rest. It was an odd sensation to experience. My mind is normally racing. It is easy to react to the world around us. It is something we do every day without thinking or hesitating. We take in a lot of information and it is relatively easy to react to that information. Some people make a living reacting to news, sports, or entertainment. None of that helped me in that moment.

After a few moments things just snapped back into place. I turned on my Warren Zevon Pandora station and started thinking about moving forward. Maybe it was a moment of pure silence that I should have just appreciated. It was a moment that I just wanted to pass.

Avoiding inaction has been a part of my daily plan. All the knowledge, skills, and abilities that are contained in my toolkit are stymied by inaction. Each day provides the opportunity to move forward. My world view involves a few core values related to collaboration, transparency, and preventing failure. Making things work is about moving forward.

I have a take on things that could be shared and my world view is rather unique. Over the course of the last decade my voice tends to show up or be overshadowed by technical nature of the content being produced. My goal for the rest of the month is to focus on ensuring that my take on things is front and center in my writing.