Hey beautiful people,
I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas.
Here is an update on New Year, Who Dis?
Thank you to those who signed up, however, we required more participants to make the three-day experience as beautiful as we were aiming for. The announcement was made on too short of notice, with most people probably still on holiday with their families. As well, the way the dual economy was listed may have been confusing, and not aligned with the spirit I am called to cultivate here.
Given this, we have decided to offer a shortened version of this experience for free to the entire community…
New Year, Who Dis? w/ Daniel Kanzandian and Peter Limberg. December 30th @ 12:00 PM ET. RSVP here.
Daniel and I are going to present a “year alchemy” psychotechnology - a way to get into a beautiful relationship with the year that is passing, while setting ourselves up for a beautiful relationship with the year coming. We are aiming to make this one of the highest leverage sessions you can attend this year.
If you cannot make the session, we’ll post the video and psychotechnology protocols shortly after the session is done, so you can do it on your own or with family and friends.
Next week’s events:
Getting Things Done in 2022 w/ David Allen. December 30th @ 10:00 AM ET. RSVP here.
New Year, Who Dis? w/ Daniel Kanzandian and Peter Limberg. December 30th @ 12:00 PM ET. RSVP here.
Check out what is happening in our wisdom gym:
Collective Journaling. Daily @ 8:00 AM ET. Patreon event. 90 mins.
Stoic Breath. Every Sunday @ 10:00 AM ET. RSVP here. 60 mins.
December 26th, 2021
There is no failure, only feedback.
The above statements are pro-failing, conveying the following - do more, while treating failure as a learning opportunity for growth.
It is a self-help cliché that many of us do not attempt things we are called to do, because we are afraid to fail. This is probably true. Failing privately is also a different beast than failing publicly. The latter, at least for me, invokes a greater hesitation to try new things. I want to try new things these days, so I am going to process this hesitation, hopefully ending this entry with some courage to lean into failure.
I sense it boils down to trust. I want to be trustworthy, especially to you. I do not know everyone reading here, but I know enough of you, and I am imagining good things about the rest of you. Sure, I am here writing to myself, as Marcus Aurelius did, but I am aware that I am writing to myself while others are reading. And these others are important to me.
They are important because if they are not already, they might become my friends in virtue (as a default rule, I already consider everyone a “stranger in virtue”). They may also become future community members, living with me in some cool eco-village, which is the direction that most weird and authentic online communities seem to be heading. Or maybe they will be what Kevin Kelly calls “1,000 True Fans,” people who like my work enough to support my livelihood, which many are doing already.
I am here not to have an audience, squeezing money from them, or to receive narcissistic supply from them crushing my like button. I am here to be with people - virtuously with them, in community with them, supported by them. I am here to find the others. Finding the others in the noosphere has a simple formula - be yourself, all of yourself, radically and unapologetically. The ones who will be attracted to you will vibe with you, and vibing is a good foundation to have friends in virtue, a community in virtue, and be supported in virtue.
These people have to trust you though. I imagine many people already trust my word here. I try to be relentless with being truthful, in the spirit of truth, towards what I believe to be true. This is where truth is found after all. Being truth-full needs practice, and these journals are a part of my practice of truth. I believe my regular readers trust my word. But trusting my ability to implement is something different.
You can have trust in somebody’s word, while distrusting their ability to implement. The reverse can be true as well. Successfully executing, bringing something into reality, requires a different set of skills than speaking what you believe to be true. Ideally, you want to be trusted for both. I know I definitely want to be trusted for both.
You need to fail to learn, as the self-help clichés correctly advise us, but failing too much does condition distrust. It is the latter that makes me hesitant. A question then: how do I lean into failure, in such a way that offers lessons and encourages others to trust me in word and deed? A better question perhaps: how do I fail wisely? Some principles are coming to mind…
Guard my impressions.
Normalize a culture of experimentation.
Process failures with care.
Go slow, with urgent consideration.
I wrote about the first two before, in entries called Guard Your Premises, Guard Your Impressions and Culture of Experimentation; I’ll expand on these, teasing out principles for me to use from here on out.
Guard my impressions. Having a decent “impression management” game, while knowing the metalanguage of status, can be tricky. It is a tempting thing to use, and perhaps abuse, especially with so many people ignorant of such dynamics.
I sense the way around this is to be relentless with demystifying all the secret social games people openly play. The more strangers in virtue know about these games, the more likely we’ll drop them, cultivating virtuous impressions in each others’ presence as a default.
Normalizing a culture of experimentation. The Stoa is one big experiment. I sometimes forget this, bamboozling myself to think otherwise. This place cannot exist without breathing wildly in experimentation. Well, it probably can, but it would need an existential overhaul to do so. I am going to be more explicit in guarding the impression of The Stoa as a culture of experimentation. We are in the business of doing safe-to-fail probes, hence failure here is a feature, not a bug.
If I offer more things in the market economy though, I will need to be extra careful with the marketing, or even consider if marketing is even needed. When money is involved, especially for something course-like, bullshit marketing tendencies seem to come online. I see such bullshit often excused, because it is deemed as “best practice,” something that everyone does, hence everyone should do. I sense this is lazy “dead playing,” that leads to a culture thriving on a success/failure binary, demonizing one-half of the binary by glamorizing the attainment of the other half.
I want to embody being a wise experimenter, effortlessly stewarding The Stoa in this spirit. Hopefully, this leads to normalizing a culture of experimentation as the better culture for us to be collectively experimenting with.
Process failures with care. If I fail, stay with that failure for a while, to unpack what happened, in a way that owns my part, while offering me (and perhaps others) lessons to take into the next experiment.
Whether it is me rescheduling offerings like New Year, Who Dis? due to miscalibration in how it was offered, or still not publishing my journals into a book, as I promised to do, or not opening up a philosophical coffee shop, as I hoped to do - all these come with good enough reasons, unforeseen mistakes, missteps with initial framings, ignorance of my true desires, and most importantly, lessons.
None of these are huge failures, of course, and I already have pulled out lessons from each. The throughline lesson is one I find myself often returning to - operating in a complex ontology, with a ton of unknown unknowns, where my own motivational schema is somewhat a mystery to me, means I’ll need to keep failing, in ways that reveal the truth.
Go slow, with urgent consideration. The advice I received when first entering the work world in my early twenties is still pretty good:
Do not overpromise and underdeliver, instead, underpromise and overdeliver.
This is definitely a good heuristic to consider to improve one’s impression management game, especially if you want to cultivate a trustworthiness in your implementation abilities. Before you have the discernment to know when to underpromise while overdelivering, you’ll need to get good at mapping your promises to what you can deliver.
I sense going slow in action, while having a space to be considerate with a touch of urgency, can help with this. This is that “festina lente” sweet spot. Sure, having an “action for bias” is all the rage in the entrepreneurial world, and I have that bias in spades, but I am in a weird phase in my life now. I am leading with the daemon these days, and my motivational schema has been alchemized into something I do not quite understand myself.
I cannot operate from that “do more now because you are not good enough” schema. I feel good enough to pursue what matters to me most these days - wisdom, or virtue, which I view as wisdom, practically embodied. The thing is, the bulk of the things about “success” that I learned from my days of being a self-help junkie simply do not work for me anymore.
I need to discover new ways of being, and yeah, I need to experiment wildly to discover this. Experiments framed as “safe to fail,” transmuting failures to successes from the start, is a great first step. I also need the space to process all these failures, in a way that helps me make sense of what is happening. I cannot do this if I am going too fast, experimenting with too much.
I have so much thumos bubbling up though. I view thumos as the noble impulse to show off one’s virtue, virtuously. This is a great thing of course, to have so much throbbing thumos. But fuck man, relax a little, do not blow your thumotic load. Thumos does not always have to be expressed. It becomes something else if not expressed with wisdom. And besides, a resting thumos can be a beautiful thing.
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