Category Archives: Uncategorized

Launching Community Leadership Email Course

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Thanks for your interest in my free email course!

I will be updating this page and will send additional information to everyone who signs up for the course.

It might be fun to take a screenshot of this first draft launch page. The more of you who sign up for the course and respond to my initial email(s), the better the before and after images will be.

Community Leadership in the 21st Century

This email course will help you to refine your vision, identify co-conspirators, and make the world a little better.

You’re ready to lead.

    We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe at any time.

    Don’t forget to tell your friends and share my initial post! I’ll be in touch shortly :).

    PS: If you have read my book, please leave a review! Every testimonial will be helpful as I design this course and work to recruit early adopters. My goal is to get to 100 reviews on Amazon.

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    Perceiving and Planning

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    This blog is an excerpt from my book, Lead The Future: Strategies and Systems for Emerging Leaders (the e-book is cheaper here).

    Throughout my education, I always felt a bit jealous of my peers who were sure about their career paths. While many of these people changed their plans as they got more experience or did not get a high enough MCAT score, clearly having a vision for their future was incredibly valuable.

    I have personally struggled to find a purpose I could organize my life around. However, I have gained some clarity as I have gotten more work and life experience. While I still do not have a specific cause or project I wish to dedicate my entire self to, I now know that I want to leverage my interpersonal, communication, and leadership skills to help lead and empower teams to solve problems big and small. My hope is that the publication of this book will connect me with other definite optimists who will want to collaborate on challenging problems.

    For those of you with a clear plan, this section may only help you to bolster your confidence in the benefits of having one. For those of you who cannot focus on one topic, problem, or purpose, we can use this part as an opportunity to introspect and come up with a bad plan.

    We see only a sliver of the world. Our bodies cannot process all the stimuli around us and still function at a high level. Human beings evolved over generations and generations by natural selection. Our survival has required humans to be able to intensely focus and prioritize awareness of some aspects of our environment while ignoring others.

    A few months ago, I woke up at 6 a.m. to go exercise before work. While half-asleep, I wandered out my door and began my morning commute. As I walked to the gym, I hardly noticed any of my environment. I did not see the stop sign at the end of my street. I did not see my neighbor’s grey Toyota Camry in their driveway. I did not see the cigarette butts strewn along the sidewalk. Suddenly, I jumped a foot in the air and was fully alert. My attention was focused intensely on the sidewalk right where I was about to step. What had startled me? A black cable that vaguely looked like a snake.

    Current research shows that humans are actually more attuned to stimuli that share characteristics with snakes(Öhman and Mineka 2003). Furthermore, we are generally more engaged and affected by negative than positive stimuli (Romin and Royzman 2001). While seeing something beautiful might make us happy for a moment, being bitten by a poisonous snake could mean death.

    This negativity bias is exploited by the media we consume. Often, news stories are chosen to amplify alarm and headlines to provoke outrage. Politicians speak to people’s fears and concerns. The best marketing and content pull at our emotions to keep us paying attention and watching. An understanding of this phenomena is insufficient to reduce its effect. It is hardwired into our biology and what it means to be human. It’s the snake on the sidewalk.

    However, we can harness our body’s ability to prioritize stimuli by intentionally priming ourselves to view the world through a desired lens. If you have ever learned a new word or fact and then seen something relevant soon after, you have experienced the power of this phenomenon.

    Religions, such as sects of both Christianity and Buddhism, have daily prayers or rituals that have a similar effect. You may start and end your day by focusing on what you’re most grateful for in your life: your family, your health, the opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives, your best friends, your neighbors, and the basic necessities of life. Concentrating your focus on these positive aspects of your life primes you to experience the world in a way that emphasizes these priorities.

    So, how does this relate to goal-setting?

    During my four years of cross-country running, I was fortunate to have a world-class coach, Bernie Gardner. I did not appreciate it at the time because I had no discipline but, although he was a strict coach, he was dedicated to his craft and incorporated the best practices of Olympic coaches. Every year, he would tell us the story of an Olympian who spent at least an hour every day simply visualizing the contest he was preparing for. This Olympian does train hard, but his edge comes from his visualization, which enables him to secure a gold medal and a new world record.

    Lyndon Rush, one of Canada’s bronze medalists in bobsledding, described the importance of visualization to his training in an interview with the New York Times:

    I’ve tried to keep the track in my mind throughout the year. I’ll be in the shower or brushing my teeth. It just takes a minute, so I do the whole thing or sometimes just the corners that are more technical. You try to keep it fresh in your head, so when you do get there, you are not just starting at square one. It’s amazing how much you can do in your mind.

    At one extreme, you have people who have a clear purpose. They are successful in organizing their lives around a central goal. That might be raising your children to be happy and healthy, attending medical school and becoming a doctor, qualifying for the Olympics, or anything else. On the other extreme, you have people who are nihilistic and aimless—people who have no guiding focus or feeling of purpose.

    Humans feel positive emotion because of the direction in which they are heading relative to their goals and ideals (Ramnerö and Törneke 2014). To overcome the bad in your life, it is critical that you generate positive emotion by progressing toward self-defined goals.

    He who has a why can bear any how.

    Friedrich Nietzsche

    When your life is totally focused on one goal, your relationship to the entire world changes. If you are committed to winning the national championship in a sport, you begin to experience life through that lens: An invitation to a party transforms from a great opportunity to socialize with strangers and friends into an obstacle, a temptation that must be overcome. An advertisement for an organic, no-whey protein shake might go from irrelevant to engaging and attractive. Conversation with a close friend might be more likely to venture toward their college roommate whose best friend was the national champion from Poland.

    Viewing the world through a lens focused on your goals and values will enable you to make better decisions and see opportunities that you might otherwise have ignored. If you are not conscious of the relationship between your goals and the information you’re exposed to, you’re less likely to identify and take concrete steps toward reaching those goals.

    Later in this book, in chapter nine, we will discuss tactics and ideas for orienting yourself around habits and systems that will enable you to progress toward your desired ideal. Regardless of whether you already have orienting goals, let’s take some time to reflect on our values through writing.

    WRITE: Reflecting on your values and motivations is critical for success in any goal-setting process. Please consider exploring the following prompts:

    • Write about a time when you felt highly motivated. What did that feel like? What drove you to be motivated? Is there anything about that experience that you could replicate toward a future goal?
    • Write about a time when you felt most alive.
    • During which activities does time seem to fly by? Are there any commonalities between these activities?
    • If you won $10 million (after taxes) in the lottery, what would you do with it?
    • What if you had to use the money to help others but could not simply give it away?

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    Seeking Tribe #18: A Time to Poast and a Time To Log Off

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    Long time no email! I meant to reach out while on my journey…and then when I returned…and then every week since then. I wrote a draft Seeking Tribe while I was living it up in Austin but I never pressed send.

    I’ve previously alluded to the absurd amount of time that I’ve spent on Twitter. My use certainly increased from the outset of the pandemic and it has been, let’s not mince words here, an on-going addiction. At this point, I have to admit that it’s my favorite MMORPG (Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) and it consumes me…just like World of Warcraft Classic did this past February… Right now, I am taking a break from Twitter to try to reset and focus my energy on achieving the goals that I outlined at the beginning of this year.

    In particular:

    • Publishing a short e-book and associated blogs that I’ve drafted in my journals over the past year or so
    • Securing a stable enough stream of US dollars and a quality housing opportunity so I can make the leap out of Rochester (likely to Austin!)

    Before my trip, I was feeling quite down on how I’d spent most of the last year. I had a ton of free time and mostly spent it tweeting, reading, and coping to not lose my mind while trapped in my houseHowever, while on my journey, the upsides from my weird use of my time began to materialize.

    At this point, I have met twelve ‘mutuals’ (the Twitter term for people who you follow and who follow you back)— most of which I connected with in Houston, Austin, and Oregon. All of these experiences were excellent. I have some tentative plans to connect with more of them and I’ve been invited to quite a few cool parties, meet-ups in the coming months. Furthermore, at least two of the meetings have resulted in interesting part-time gig work.

    After my visit to Austin, I began working part-time helping one friend grow adoption for the crypto protocol he helped launch and helping another friend to provide value for his private research community, by co-hosting a series of workshops and Q&As with some brilliant people (I’ll keep you posted about future events). I fully expect that continuing on this weird path and meeting more of my mutuals will result in similarly positive collaborations.

    I am partially so interested in moving to Austin because a disproportionate amount of the people I’ve connected with online are located there or are relocating thereThere’s clearly an overlap between the selection biases of why people decide to follow me on Twitter and the selection biases of why people are choosing to relocate to Austin.

    While some of these trends may begin to shift as we return to true normal, I do think this year has both exacerbated and revealed how atomized and isolated people feel. The pursuit for quality information (or information that confirmed their biases) led many people to online ‘networks’ and ‘communities’. Some people who have been threatening to leave, or who did exit NYC and SF [and elsewhere], will likely return back once social life returns. However, I think migration and other methods of taking online connections offline will continue as people feel comfortable leaving their [limited] social safety nets and venturing out in the pursuit of new opportunities and values-aligned relationships.

    I’m optimistic about the positive externalities of people connecting based off of their revealed shared values. But I would also advise you to brace yourself for the acceleration of cults, they exist on forums and Signal chats already. I don’t know where Q Anon is relocating but I guarantee you it’s happening.

    Pro tip: you’re much less likely to end up in a cult if you move to a city, rather than coordinating with people to move to a small village or some kind of commune. Keep an eye on your friends!

    I wish that I had written this newsletter about a month ago. One of the big takeaways is that it’s still important to meet people face-to-face and break bread. Back when Bitcoin was up to the new all-time-high of ~64k, I was particularly eager to attend the BTC Conference that occurred this past weekend in Miami. However, unlike Austin, NYC, SF, or even Salt Lake City, I have almost no contacts in Miami! I considered purchasing an early bird ticket, half-heartedly tried to find a business to hire me to network on their behalf, or just spending the money to book a hotel and hoping it worked out. Ultimately, I didn’t pursue the opportunity and I regret it.

    The conference itself did not seem to be a particularly exceptional event. Many of the videos that I watched were kinda cringe and featured narratives about Bitcoin that I find less persuasive and credible. I regret it because I’m aware of at least a couple contacts of mine (who work places I’d love to…) that I certainly could’ve met with. The next time I have a similar opportunity, I’m going to make it happen and figure out the details later.

    If you’re not looking to invest yourself into something weird, you probably don’t stand to win in the 21st century.

    Justin Murphy

    This sentiment has been shared with me by multiple people who I strongly feel are going to be wildly successful entrepreneurs and public figures in the coming decades. Keep your mind, eyes, and ears open for weird opportunities that excite you. The 21st century is not on course to become any less strange.

    This post was initially sent via Substack on June 11th, 2021.

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    Seeking Tribe #17: Dark Winter is Over

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    I am feeling quite optimistic at this moment (it may not be a coincidence that you receive emails from me on days when I’m feeling particularly positive and energetic,,,).

    For those of you who are a bit tuned out, and I do not blame you:

    One can certainly find reasons to temper our optimism. There’s a lot that we still don’t know and we’ve all just lived through 12 months of bad takes that seldom played out as expected. I am adding this little paragraph because I don’t want this email newsletter to end up on this feed in a year…

    But personally, I think we’re about to have an amazing spring and summer. The past few days in Rochester have been moderately sunny and the temperature has been as high as 38F. While finding that to be good and remarkable is kind of sad, we learn to cope in Western NY. We’ll have some warmer days in the next few weeks and people will find it easier to socialize as we monitor the effects of mass vaccination.

    My winter is over. I am leaving this Sunday to go visit Orlando for a week with a few of my friends. From there, I’m continuing on to Houston for a week and then Austin for a minimum of two weeks. It’s unclear exactly where I’ll go from there but it seems unlikely that I’ll return to Rochester before May. If you have any recommendations, connections, big ideas, etc that you want to share with me – please hit me up.

    I’m looking forward to seeing the sun again and (re)connecting with friends and strangers alike.

    Best of My Recent Read:

    • Bitcoin Dissidents: Those Who Need It Most by Anna Baydakova, Coindesk

      Bitcoin, like Amazon and Tesla, has benefitted disproportionately from the US’ (and other country’s) monetary policy response to the pandemic. As new dollars have flooded the market and short-term interest rates declined, people with a large amount of assets and the ability to borrow at near 0% interest have sought out assets with potential long-term growth and robust network effects. While it may not make sense for Tesla to be valued at $586/share, it would make much less sense to have seen a 500% rise in price of a robust, moderate-growth manufacturing company. Tesla, like Bitcoin, at least has a plausible narrative for how it could eventually earn its valuation. This article demonstrates the utility of Bitcoin beyond its role as a speculative asset class, or hedge as “Digital Gold”. It’s easy for Americans to forget that cryptocurrencies are of global significance.
    • How I Read by Slava Akhmechet

      TL;DR: Read ~40 pages/day, assume 30% failure rate. That’s 10k pages and ~20 books annually. Pick a problem, and read clusters of five books to study that problem from a unique perspective. Visualize each cluster as an instrument to inspect the world. Collect instruments into a mental lab, with various stations for related instruments. You can upgrade the instruments one book at a time. Have your bookshelf reflect this mental image. Win the decade, not the day. Start now and never stop.

      I recommend reading the full article. I’m still refining which clusters I want to focus on this year but community and localism will certainly be two of the topics. Lately I’ve been listening to more audiobooks as I’ve soured a bit on podcasts. If you have Audible, there’s a ton of interesting books that are available for free, “Included” FYI.
    • Enough Already: Time to End the War on Terrorism by Scott Horton

      If you have any opinions about American foreign policy, you need to read this book. Horton certainly has his clear biases, as we all do, but almost all of the most damning claims are from official, publicly available government documents. He does a great job of sharing a clear narrative about the madness of American Middle Eastern policy, from the Carter administration through to the book’s release date.

      As always, thank you so much for taking the time to read the newsletter and I’d love to hear from any and all of you. I think my trip will be quite energizing and I’ll have some interesting ideas and perspectives for y’all in the weeks to come. Have a great

    This post was initially sent via Substack on March 5th, 2021.

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    Seeking Tribe #16: Coping With The Moderately Dystopic Time Machine

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    In Our Perspective Is Improbably Warped, we briefly explored how our perception of the world is altered and reinforced by our networks, feedback from algorithms, and media consumption choices. These forces and the wild events of the past year have given us all a lot of new information to consider as we think about what the future holds for us, our families, and our communities.

    Personally, while writing has helped, I think it has been challenging to process all of this information without having novel experiences, meeting strangers, and, in general, living a life more conducive to serendipity. Living in different contexts seems critical to processing new information. Some days I barely feel like I exist outside of a digital persona.

    The effect of our physical environment on our day to day experience can be easy to discount. Humans are highly adaptive (he said, during month 11 of quarantine) and we tend to filter out stimuli that doesn’t change or isn’t useful (I dug a bit more into this in Lead The Future).

    During the first two months of quarantine, when I pretty much never left the house, it felt like I was riding in a moderately dystopic time machine. Each day mostly consisted of trying to navigate what the pandemic would mean for iZone and then consuming endless scrolls of tweets and takes. Back in a world where the deaths of hundreds of thousands of US citizens was a hypothetical, when people were still trying to get a grasp on what exponential growth would mean in this context. Every time I went to go into the shower I would think, “Didn’t I just do this?,” as another day had zoomed by, completely undifferentiated from the last.

    Fortunately, that time machine effect waned as the sun returned and spring came to save me from, more or less, total isolation. I returned home and spent at least an hour every day out in the beautiful sunshine.

    Unfortunately, I feel like the time warp effect has more or less returned as SAD has beaten me down, particularly the last few weeks. For me, this just means that I’m generally much lower energy. I feel grateful that I have good habits to help me persevere (exercise, diet, writing, and too-few long walks). In this way, many of us in Rochester are viscerally aware of the impact of our physical environment on our experience.

    This is not a sob story. I’m writing this today because it has been a great day. I woke up ready to get after it and had a bunch of positive opportunities suddenly present themselves to me:

    • helped a friend identify and connect with a more lucrative market segment for his math tutoring business, after he mentioned his goal was to 3x his revenues this year
    • scheduled a call with a manager [hiring] in crypto after I publicly critiqued their comms
    • reconnected with a friend who is interested in collaborating on growing one of his businesses

    The last few weeks have not been like that at all. They’ve been mostly filled with focusing on my healthy habits and doing the minimum I can to still feel like a functioning person. I’m going to be fine. You’re going to be fine. I believe in you.

    But please:

    • reach out to your friends to check in on them, it’ll likely make you feel better
    • consider how your physical environment might be contributing to how you feel right now and try to make it a little nicer, ie. make a cup of herbal tea/coffee, put on your favorite up-beat album, and clean your desk/vacuum/windex that mirror; go for a walk even if it’s cold
    • try to plan something to look forward to, ie.a walk with a close friend, zoom game night, a camp fire for when the weather breaks

    After months of not having not-much concrete to look forward to, I have plans to visit Houston and Austin towards of the end of March, beginning of April. I’m still finalizing what the exact dates will be but please reach out if you will be in the area and would like to try to find a time to meet up. I am so excited to see the sun again and find out if the hype is real (love to all my Texans, I hope you’re well).

    This post was initially sent via Substack on February 19th, 2021.

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    Seeking Tribe #15: Our Perspective is Improbably Warped

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    We live in a world where the improbable happens every day and it’s recorded on camera and curated by people and algorithms to dominate our perception.

    The improbable consists of more than just accidents. The internets are also brimming with improbable feats of performance — someone who can run up a side of a building, or slide down suburban roof tops, or stack up cups faster than you can blink. Not just humans, but pets open doors, ride scooters, and paint pictures. The improbable also includes extraordinary levels of super human achievements: people doing astonishing memory tasks, or imitating all the accents of the world. In these extreme feats we see the super in humans.

    Kevin Kelly, The Improbable is the New Normal

    There are approximately 330 million people residing inside the United States. The CDC estimates that the probability of being struck by lightning in any given year is 1 in 500,000. If more than half of these yearly lightning strikes were recorded by a cell phone and uploaded online and posted to a, hopefully hypothetical, subreddit /r/AmericanLightningRods, you could watch a new American get struck by lightning every single day.

    My only hope in sharing that example was to play on the cliché about the rarity of lightning strikes. There’s the tension between its statistical likelihood and what our perception might be if we were active users of the aforementioned subreddit. Furthermore, assuming the approximation would hold, globally (with ~7.8 billion humans alive) we would expect to see ~42 people being struck by lightning every day. As the internet further globalizes, the improbable and outliers will dominate more and more in the winner-take-most game of internet content.

    The good news is that we haven’t allocated more of our waking hours over the last year to consuming this kind of horrific lightning-based ‘content’. And instead maybe we’ve consumed too many clips of people making elaborate Rube-Goldberg machines (many of these recordings take hours and hours of attempts, you just see the 20 seconds of success). The bad news is that our perceptions of the world are being influenced by these same probabilistic realities and content curation incentives in other, more affective ways.

    My own combination of selection biases and algorithmically-curated feeds has at times left me feeling below-average and even like I’m being “left behind”. On LinkedIn, I see a stream of successes from my friends who have rapidly risen through the ranks of corporate America in highly competitive roles in tech, consulting, and finance.

    On Twitter (and now in my Substack inbox), I am confronted by an awesome deluge of genius and expertise. Many people who I’ve not only discovered on the platform but developed friendships with seem to be not-yet-sung polymaths. Not only is the depths of their knowledge on niche topics of shared interest: nuclear energy, public policy, Bitcoin, etc. more expansive, but they’re also technically competent and have robust jobs or successful companies in growing fields.

    The key to managing this kind of warped perspective is to reframe in a way that is helpful and productive. I am not in a zero-sum competition with my former classmates, or these, often pseudonymous, polymaths. Instead of despairing, I can find inspiration and optimism in their achievements and work ethic. The excellence of my friends, yourselves included, is not a problem but part of the solution to the many problems that we face.

    In what other ways are our perceptions warped as our media consumption transforms the extraordinary into the ordinary?

    With this in mind, how can you mitigate the harm caused by unrealistic expectations or other negative consequences?

    This post was initially sent via Substack on February 9th, 2021.

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    Seeking Tribe #14: Return to Tribe

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    I hope that everyone’s 2021 has been off to an excellent start. I’ve been staying busy while trying to figure out what big moves I’m trying to make in the next year.

    My three main goals for the year are:

    • Move to a new, growing city that’s filled with energy and opportunities
    • Secure a role that will pay my bills, where I could see myself working for two or more years
    • Start a significant personal project that I’ll either complete or make meaningful progress on by the end of the year

    I’ll be sharing more about what exactly I’m thinking once I get a bit more information but this is where a good chunk of my attention will be focused over the next few months (my lease in Rochester is up at the end of June). There are a couple opportunities on my radar but, as always, I’d love to hear from any of you with any ideas or insights you have.

    House Keeping:

    I hope that everyone will receive this email. I decided to pivot from Mailchimp to Substack to manage Seeking Tribe.

    The ethos of Substack is more aligned with my values, particularly their commitment to freedom of expression and how their business model ties their success to the success of the creators using their platform. I have no intention of paywalling the Seeking Tribe newsletter but may end up hosting other content through this channel (tbd). Please pardon any minor issues that arise from this switch.

    A Few Projects That I’ve Been Busy With:

    • My friend Tim Wilcox and I recorded a podcast about the thematic overlaps between the best-selling book Life of Pi by Yann Martel and the cult classic film Donnie Darko

      Life of Pi was published on September 11th, 2001 and Donnie Darko’s failure of a theatrical release was October 26th, 2001. The overlaps are surprisingly numerous and both seem to reflect a world that has been lost since the launch of the War on Terror.
    • My friend Will and I held a series of conversations on the new social media platform Clubhouse discussing One Billion Americans by Matt Yglesias.

      I’ve been meaning to publish a few of my thoughts on the book, as I took extensive notes to prepare for our discussion.

      Overall, it’s a case for a sort-of liberal nationalism: pragmatic immigration reform to dramatically increase America’s GDP, policy proposals to dramatically expand the housing supply in cities where the rents are too damn high, and the case for direct cash transfers to help more Americans to be able to afford to have children of their own.

      I certainly have my criticisms of Yglesias’ ideas but found it to be a compelling and, at times, maddening read (did you know in the US it costs 10x what it does in Germany to construct the same amount of commuter railway?). The book was highly effective at making Trump’s nationalism look either incoherent or unserious. Personally, I’m a localist, not a nationalist, but the book was insightful none the less.
    • This past week I moderated/hosted an event titled Getting Paid to Post: Freelance Writing in 2021.

      I will be sure to invite y’all to the next one. The event was quite successful so likely there will be more coming in the near future. I will keep you all posted.
    • I applied for a couple jobs, including one that I was particularly excited about. Unfortunately, it didn’t play out but, as always, it was a learning experience.

    Checking-in:

    How have you been? What are a couple of your goals for 2021?

    I would love to hear from each of you and help in any way that I can.

    The pandemic is going to continue for months to come, our crazy country is going to continue to face numerous issues – many are symptoms of underlying issues that have been ignored for decades, and likely there will be some other curveballs along the way.

    We can’t control any of that but we can choose to acknowledge our abilities and their limits in a way that allows us to make the most of this year and help people within our influence.

    I’m determined to ensure that 2021 is a big year for myself and I’d love to help y’all to do the same!

    This post was initially sent via Substack on January 24th, 2021.

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    Seeking Tribe #13: Substack Launch!

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    Are you interested in challenging your assumptions and biases?

    Do you want to connect with other thoughtful, ambitious, curious people?

    My friends and I are all committed to building a future that is much better than any of us alone could imagine.

    We’re tired of doom and gloom.

    We don’t want to spend our attention and energy being upset about aspects of our world that we cannot change.

    Instead, we’re focused on broadening our perspectives, training our skill stacks, and taking action to solve the problems that keep us awake at night and help us to jump out of bed every morning.

    We’re creating a more prosperous, beautiful future and we’d love for you to join us.

    You’re early! Our work is but begun.

    This post was initially sent via Substack on November 20th, 2020.

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    Seeking Tribe #12: Home for the Holidays

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    I’m back at my Mom’s house and I’ll be here for the next 2+ weeks.

    After spending my Thanksgiving watching Lord of the Rings and eating frozen pizza with one of my housemates, it’s nice to be celebrating the season in a more conventional way. Like listening to Bing Crosby and eating stollen. 

    My plan is to spend the rest of 2020 reading books (being less online), scheming for a better 2021, and enjoying some quality time with my Mom and Daisy, her Havanese doggo.

    This will likely be the last edition of Seeking Tribe for the year. I’m grateful to all 204 of you for joining and sticking with me on this adventure! It’s only going to get better in 2021, that’s a promise 🙂

    The Best of my Recent Reads:

    • When I was 15, my ‘Grandpa Chuck’ died. A humble man, he was kind to those he met. His career included being a U.S. Marine, a Police Officer, and a long time Detective for the Rochester Police Department. His capability as a Detective was built through decades of treating those he met with respect. This accrued social equity provided information that other detectives could never attain.

      At his wake, hundreds attended. The wealthy and powerful, the poor and the meek, the innocent and the guilty. RPD escorted him to his burial; shutting down a major highway to keep the procession uninterrupted.

      This fundamentally shifted my understanding of success. I will never know how successful I was in life; I won’t be at my own funeral.

      Legacy is more valuable than currency.” from my older brother Clark’s newsletter, Forward.

      I was only five years old when Grandpa Chuck died. It was great to be reminded of this story. I learned a similar lesson from the life and passing of Paul J. Burgett – as anyone who has read my book knows.

    • This great migration from mainstream to ‘free speech’ platforms will inevitably have the effect of fostering hyper-partisan, right-wing echo chambers — tailored realities which barely offer even a glimpse of an alternative opinion.” from the provocatively titled, Tech’s QAnon Crackdown was a Huge Mistake by Mark Ledwich

      If anyone has read anything that argues the opposite, I’d love to read it.

      Currently, I’m thinking that these heavy-handed strategies are mostly good for shareholders, not for society. We’ll bear the costs of increased radicalization, atomization while Facebook, Google, etc get to wipe their hands of being a part of a solution to help rebuild genuine trust and facilitate open, critical conversation.

      The problems of online radicalization are not going away anytime soon and we’re never going back to a world where there’s a handful of mutually credible news sources.

    • Having earned a Ph.D. in English and taught poetry courses, there is no question raised so frequently as some variation of:

      Can literature exist on Instagram?
      Is Instagram poetry real literature?
      What do you think of Rupi Kaur?

      from Precursor Monthly – December 2020 by Tim Wilcox

      Tim and I recently collaborated on a podcast. We both read Life of Pi and watched Donnie Darko, these two pieces of media were released within a month or so of each other. We had a wide-ranging conversation about their numerous shared themes.

    A Few Last Points:

    • Reflections on One Year as a Published Author (new from me)

      Ever wanted to know how many copies I sold? Check it out.
    • Year Compass is a great little planning exercise for the new year. This is my 3rd Year Compass in a row. I’ll likely be reflecting a bit more about what I’ve learned from my plans and failures in 2019 and 2020

    My currently reading list: Collaborative Circles by Michael P. Farrell, Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis, One Billion Americans by Matt Yglesias, Your Music and People by Derek Sivers, and The Art of Learning by Josh Waitzkin (almost done).

    I’ve already got a lot planned for 2021 and I’m determined to make it a better year than 2020. This year has emphasized what is and what is not within our control. My plans are going to focus on what’s within my control and take to heart many of the other lessons that I’ve learned and re-learned in 2020.

    I hope that each of you has an excellent holiday season (and a happy new year if you don’t hear from me)!

    This post was initially sent on December 13th, 2020 as part of an early prototype of my newsletter Seeking Tribesubscribe here!

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    Seeking Tribe #11: Good Vibes and Gratitude

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    What if we started every day with gratitude?

    Many of us just celebrated Thanksgiving. For some, this may have been the first year that we didn’t celebrate with our family (this was the case for me, out of an abundance of caution).

    Personally, I love Thanksgiving. I think it’s great that we have a national ritual focused on expressing gratitude and sharing food with loved ones. It was weird to not celebrate with my family but, like with many things in 2020, the absence of what’s normal emphasized its value. It’s easy to take many of the most meaningful experiences in life for granted.

    This has been a strange year and gratitude has been critical for persevering through it all. If you’ve been having a tough time over the last few weeks (or not), consider doubling-down on gratitude in whatever way makes sense for your situation.

    Consider:

    • Donating to a local food bank to help those who are struggling to meet their basic needs
    • Writing out a list of relationships and amenities that you are grateful for (reach out to some of these people!)
    • Tipping more than 20% for delivery, ride-shares, etc.
    • Pausing to appreciate how wonderful every day experiences are: wake up to watch the sun rise just because, stare in awe at the shelves in Costco like you’ve never been there before, take a deep breath and smile like someone just told you that you’re having a good hair day

    Life is hard. Regardless of if it’s particularly good or bad right now, being grateful for what’s going well can enable you to create moments of peace. 

    I hope that everyone of you can find a way to consciously celebrate and affirm life. I would love to receive replies about what you’re feeling grateful for!

    The Best of my Recent Reads:

    • “I don’t believe in revolutions. I live here now, with the cows and goats. What I see out there, where you live, when my iPhone reception is good, is a kind of cosplay, which shows us that the wishful divide between “online” and “real life” is no longer real. The machines ate us, whether in the form of massive multi-player-role playing games that advertise themselves as a form of politics, or online platforms that stole everyone’s family pictures under the guise of greater social connectedness.” from Year Zero by David Samuels

      Highly provocative piece criticizing our extremely online zeitgeist and the accelerating consolidation of power by technology companies

      Thanks, Joseph Keegin for the recommendation, it’s a lot to process.
    • “Those who excel are those who maximize each moment’s creative potential — for these masters of living, presence to the day-to-day learning process is akin to the purity of focus others dream of achieving in rare climactic moments where everything is on the line…

      The secret is that everything is always on the line.” from The Art of Learning by Josh Waitzkin

    I hope you find opportunities to appreciate the little things this week. Please don’t forget to share, if you feel like it!

    As always, thank you for reading and for the lovely replies.

    This post was initially sent on November 29th, 2020 as part of an early prototype of my newsletter Seeking Tribesubscribe here!

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