The Impossible Project

There is always this hype to start something up! A business startup, a social startup; whatever. The point mostly is to ACT and do something useful. Which is GREAT, but it can fireback.

The “Impossible Project”, coined by Seth Godin, is “a project that you plan to carry out but it is so hard and so big that there are no clear steps that you can take now”. Consequently you never take the first step.
Having an impossible project gives the soothing feeling of “I’m good because there is something I’m working on”. However, the impossible project never moves you forward.

If you think you’ve a project, here’s a simple question:
When was the last time you took external action (like reaching out to investors/partners/potential customers/audience) regarding your project?

If it was more than a week ago, your project is impossible. You’re far better off not having a project at all.

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Tools

We are surrounded by tools everywhere. Good ones and bad ones.
Tools make us better at what we do making the task at hand easier.
Good tools makes us powerful and extends our capabilities without making us feel we are being helped.

The beauty of tools is that they disappear when you use them, leaving the focus on the task at hand. Good tools do that at least.

Well designed tools are subtle. You can only tell good tools when you use bad ones.
Think about all the tools you use daily. From your pencil to your knife to your car. Behind each tool is a designer.

Good designers find problems people don’t feel, make up tools to help people effortlessly solve them.

If there were no designers, there would be no tools and we would go back to be cavemen.

Different levels.

Mitchell Waldrop notes in his book Complexity:

There’s nothing very complicated about the water molecule; it’s just one big oxygen atom with two little hydrogen atoms stuck to it like Mickey mouse ears. Its behavior is governed by well-understood equations of atomic physics. But not put a few zillion of those molecules together in the same pot. Suddenly you’ve got a substance that shimmers and gurgles and sloshes. Those zillion molecules have collectively acquired a property, liquidity, that none of them possesses alone … The liquidity is ’emergent’. …The mind is an emergent property, the product of several billion neurons obeying the biological lows of the living cell.

He continues quoting Kenneth Anderson:

‘At each level of complexity, entirely new properties appear. At each stage, entirely new laws, concepts and generalizations are necessary, requiring inspiration and creativity … Psychology is not applied biology, nor is biology applied chemistry’.

Your consciousness is not your neoral signals.
Your soul is not your beating heart.

 

Just another theory!

Here is a theory worth thinking about:

Shift your focus from long-term goals to ensuring high quality day-to-day experience that makes you get up out of bed filled with excitement and energy looking forward to doing things that you enjoy and respect.

Here is what I think is wrong with this theory:

Firstly, if you have the best day-to-day experience that is fulfilling and satisfying that makes you the happiest person on the planet, is that a guarantee that you will reach a great achievement one day? Will you keep floating around in a sea of great experiences that do not connect to any grand meaning?

Secondly, how would you find a great fulfilling and satisfying day-to-day experience anyway? To know what I mean by such experience check FLOW.
If you happen to find it, will there be any guarantee that you can always draw excitement and fulfillment endlessly?

Lastly, is finding such experiences about a lifestyle change or about a mind-set change? Is it about changing what you do day-to-day? Is it about changing how you see what you do and how you conceive the world around you?!

SMART is NOT smart!

We’re constantly being reminded to set goals. Since a very young age, the advice that I kept getting is set a SMART goal. I think we have grown accustomed to this goals focused mind-set. I think that’s wrong. I doubt that a goals focused mind-set is any good for you. Here’s why I think so:

  • Goals are destinations not journeys.
    You’re either there, or not there. When you’re there, you’re happy but that only lasts for a day or two. You spend most of the time fighting to get there, however, you never celebrate the fight.
  • We set our goals so high.
    Because we are encouraged to dream big and be ambitious. If you like pushing yourself hard (like me), you set a high goal and you don’t reach it. You fall down, pick yourself up and plan for another high goal that you don’t reach. You spend some time in this vortex till you give up the whole issue.
  • You acquire a destination oriented mindset.
    Your day to day mental voice is shouting “Results, Results, Results!”. It becomes what you eat, what you think about, what your breath. Until the pursuit gets the best of your soul. You start serving your goals instead of having your goals to serve you.

 

 

The power of observing

In AIESEC we have this tradition of “Check-In” that we do before we start a meeting. You simply state what you have done today so you can put it aside and focus on what is about to happen in the meeting.

Loving the concept so much, I started to “Check-In” to my bed every night.
Because I believe in watching myself not asking it, I wanted to separate me from myself as much as I can.
Just like as if someone else is asking me one simple question: “How many productive tasks have you done today?” I would answer only in numbers. No emotions, no criticism, no frustration. Just a number. I would keep track of this number in my mind for days.

I did this for a week. What I found shook me and shocked me.
I wonder what will you find out?

Discipline.

Of discipline I speak; for it’s mandatory for success.

Here’s what I learned of it so far:

  • I lack discipline.
    It’s true. I was never forced to do anything I hated for all my life. I’m passion driven not discipline driven.
  • Discipline is paramount.
    Rome wasn’t built in one day nor anything else worth building (your dream). You ARE to do things that you don’t want to!
  • Discipline is about saying NO.
    Saying no to things you like, to people you love and to things you want to do.
  • Discipline is about FOCUS.
    The more focused you’re the easier it is to say no.
  • Discipline is simple, yet HARD!
    Get focused and consistently say NO!