“If you can clearly articulate the dream or the goal, start.”
As you noticed. I stopped posting. Not just here, but almost everywhere. Not one to post apologies for disappearing. Life is a roller coaster, publishing is a difficult priority to maintain.
I think the reason I stopped (much like the reason anyone ever procrastinates) is because I lacked clarity. It’s hard to do anything if you don’t know what you’re doing. Even harder if you don’t know why you’re doing it.
But you’re back?
Yeah! I finally have clarity on what is worth writing about. I have a clear vision for what I can publish that no one else can. What I think is worth doing.
As I’ve stumbled my way through the last few months, I’ve discovered some personal values that I think I can apply very neatly to this blog.
The first is the idea of Map Making, which is now the title of this blog.
Map making is the language of talking about which ideas work best. Not which are “right” or “wrong.” Why? Because we’re all looking for ideas that work.
Map making is an idea that has humility and openness to discussion build into its very core.
More detail on map making in an upcoming post.
From now on I want this blog to have a very clear goal: detail the frameworks I use to think about the world, explain why I use them, and communicate the stories of how I discovered those frameworks.
I want to share my tricks for thinking about life, but also the foundational content that helped me come up with those tricks. Most importantly I want to discuss why I use them.
For example, I have a post in the works about “sustainable” vs. “beneficial.” Why? Because I think everyone wants to be “sustainable” and always has.
The problem is that we don’t realize what is or isn’t sustainable until it’s already built. If we focus instead on “beneficial” we go one step further and change the game completely.
I think that’s a useful strategy.
What wasn’t working?
Originally I wanted to focus on “frameworks” as “heuristics of action” – things to neatly simplify how you think about the world.
I thought that approach would be a unique way to focus my blog into something fun, interesting, understandable, and useful.
I don’t think it is anymore.
I had a conversation recently about strategies vs. tactics with regard to self help material.
If you think about “strategy” as “the why” behind an approach, and you think about “tactic” as the “how,” you can think of the outcome as the “what.”
3 Parts: “why” you want it in the first place, “how” you get it, “what” you get.
The difficult part of most self-development material (Lifehacker, Tim Ferris, every blog ever) is the unwavering focus on tactics.
Read every blog post title ever: How to get what you want.
Even my personal hero and favorite TED talker of all time who preaches “start with why” (and who I quoted above) tends to talk most about the fact that you should start with why, but only briefly covers the foundational content of this unbelievable discovery.
He tells you how to start with why, but other than saying “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it” he focuses on tactics.
So I’ll ask: Why should you start with why?
The fact of the matter is this: humans are naturally tactical. We are biological masters of “how” – built to solve for the optimal solution given as much information as possible.
Yet, we insist on communicating with each other using moral imperatives and prescriptive language. (“should,” “shouldn’t,” “right,” “wrong”)
If our goal is to enable effective action (and learning and growth), those who share foundations with people are successful.
When people know why something is worth doing, doing it comes naturally.
If we share our reasoning, our motivations, and our stories: mistakes, struggles toward our goal, we bring others along for the ride. We invite them into the process of making new things.
Our motivations – our reasons “why” we do our work are the foundational content that will enable other people to participate in our work.
Why is why so important?
Share your best understanding of why you’re doing what you’re doing, not what you’re doing or how you’re doing it because it works.
Share your motivations and the stories about how you got there to help other people imagine the future with you.
Why is important because it starts the conversation from its foundation and builds from there, instead of reasoning by analogy or tactic.
To explore foundational thinking more, watch this: