You ever stop to think about how much information there is in the world? (Coach Will here)
Even before the internet, the vast billions of humans who came before us thought and wrote and argued over every little scrap (and the big stuff too :). But now, with the perverse combination of absolute frictionless connection (world wide web) and the promise of viral content (pushing more of us than ever to create ever more), we are drowning in the stuff.
More opinions, more blogs, more social media posts, and--yes--more newsletters, than any of us could ever read in 10 lifetimes.
In this world, recognizing what is good and useful is far more important than just acquiring as much as possible (a difficult veer away from how our minds generally operate). From all the vast data out there in the information multi-verse, there must be some useful answers to the questions that persist for each of us; but how will we know when we find them?
I’m not sure, honestly. It’s not like there’s someone or something that will helpfully ring a bell when we find the right way. But just as worrisome as not finding answers is giving up on searching for them.
Last week, in exploring the duality of States and Traits, I left out any discussion of what you should do to make a change.
Beyond just hating that word (should), I’m not satisfied with just feeling bummed out by intractable questions. At bottom, when faced with complex issues, we must at least honor our desire to make a positive change, to alter our Traits.
So, where do we go? Or, phrased differently, what tools do we have? Well...
We can work on our ability to perceive. Our brains are shaped by incoming information, so a shift in how clearly that information can be picked up makes a big difference in our ability to be effective. Think: meditation, CARs, honest conversations with good friends, etc.
We can reflect--truly engage with--our experience. How did an idea play out for us, in our actual lives? (Honesty is everything here, too)
We can recognize similarities across realms, and identify certain universals. When an idea keeps popping up, maybe it’s worth more exploration.
Armed with these simple algorithms, we have a shot at seeing the important stuff emerge from the chaos. We have a chance of identifying our values.
Here’s one of my values, an “answer” for me, a personal gem that has slowly come into focus over the past few years, even amidst the glut of information, and seems to apply broadly across my life. Maybe it will resonate with you:
Put good stuff in,
Let it rot,
See what happens.
I know what you’re saying...what?! Hahah.
Lemme break it down: in any change process, there will be (a.) what you start with, (b.) a shift governed by laws that are not always obvious (and sometimes seem downright magical), and (c.) where you end up.
This little formulation just simplifies it: Care about where you start enough to “put good stuff in”; be ready for a change-process that you might not recognize, be familiar with, or even like (“let it rot”); and take the time afterward to reflect--honestly--on how that change-process actually changed things (“see what happens”).
I trust this because of the work I have invested in my ability to perceive the world, and the time I have taken (and continue to take--it’s not always easy to make this time) to reflect. But mostly, I can’t deny the universality of this little three-part Haiku wannabe.
It describes my compost, my relationships, my art, my body, my business, my coaching, and much more. And, as a value of mine, it will help shape my future.
This weekend, adrift in your own sea of information, I encourage you to think about this little formula, and see where you recognize it in your life. You may be surprised by how it fits, or you might just cast it back, and keep searching.
Either way, cheers to finding your gold…