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Don’t Confuse Growth with Glamour

Photo by 俊逸 余 on Unsplash

If you want to do good, then purify yourself of the need to be seen as someone who always does the right thing.

If you want to be intelligent, then purge yourself of the need to always sound smart.

If you want to grow, then pry yourself free from the need to always look like you’re making progress.

Becoming good will sometimes require you to look bad, getting smart will sometimes require you to look dumb, and moving forward will sometimes require you to look like you’re stepping backwards.

While you’re pursuing beautiful results, don’t resent the ugliness of the process.

Nothing hinders creative and constructive work more than an obsession with always looking like you’re doing creative and constructive work.

Rapping About Race

Is it possible to be colorblind, or is that naive?

Can we recognize differences among groups, while still judging every individual according to their own character?

Is white supremacism a fundamental feature of white people’s minds – so much, that they cannot spot it within themselves? Is the reason that so many people deny being racist is because of a lack of self-awareness?

I recently took a break from my usual habits of musing mostly on personal development and entrepreneurship to join the Steve Patterson podcast for a discussion on race, racism, and colorblindness.

I’m enjoying my discussions with Steve on this topic and I look forward to doing this at least a couple more times. The topic of race is one of the more polemic and divisive subjects in contemporary American culture. And it can be quite difficult to think about these matters clearly with all the emotional and cultural baggage we carry into the conversation. But I’m enjoying our dialogue and am looking forward to improving my understanding of the issues through our ongoing series. I hope you enjoy following along.

You can check out our conversation here:

The Decision to Learn is Always Right

Photo by Mike Wilson on Unsplash

In the same way that you can’t please everyone in your personal life, you also can’t satisfy every customer in your professional life.

No one has ever pleased all customers at all times. In due season, the critic and the creator alike will both receive at least one 1-star review. It’s a law of commerce.

Moments of miscommunication or mishap are bound to occur in any relationship. And sometimes your efforts to make things right may fail.

BUT…

You can always learn from every experience where someone walks away unhappy with you.

Every failure to satisfy a customer’s needs is a lesson on how to get better at the work you do. Even if you don’t think you did anything wrong, you can always improve your ability to serve people more effectively. You don’t need to feel guilty in order to see an opportunity for growth.

Never let “But, I did my best” become a substitute for “I can learn to do better.” Resolving to improve doesn’t have to be equated with repenting for evil.

Is the customer always right? Hell no! But the decision to listen and learn from them is.

Write for the Audience You Trust and Respect

Write for the audience you trust and respect, not for the one in your imagination that sneakily whispers “I’m going to look for a way to misuse or misunderstand your words if you publish that.”

Writing is not only a learning process where you grow from the feedback of your audience, but it’s also a process of placing responsibility on your readers to engage your words critically.

You will never write intelligently or creatively if you don’t believe people are capable of reading intelligently and creatively.

A Life of Purpose is an Object of Concern

For every creative person trying to do interesting things in the world, there’s a “friend” from the past who’s still trying to figure out why and when his old buddy went off the deep end.

For every “YES” that you say to your own dreams, someone somewhere is saying “Oh no” to the way your life seems.

For every leap you take towards greatness, there’s a heartbroken observer who sees it as nothing less than a tragic downfall.

To pursue a life of purpose is to become an object of concern.

You can’t be the hero of your own story without being the irresponsible, inexplicable, or idiotic person in someone else’s.

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