It's official, I'm addicted to Steemit (ok, I'm actually using busy.org to post but the posts end up on the same blockchain).
Thing is, I have so much to say and I've always felt an inhibition "Why say it, nobody would read, nobody would listen, nobody would care?".
Blockchain has changed it all: maybe nobody will read it now, but (assuming blockchain lives up to its reputation) what I put in here will be around for a very, very long time. So perhaps in a year, or a decade, somebody will find the things I write useful and enlightening.
Steemit has changed it as well: even if I get $1.35, it's still something. It means someone found my contribution useful.
So here's a toast to the blockchain and to Steemit.
Blockchain is the next step in the relentless march of software. Because, lest we forget ...
Software is eating the world
Given that, how to best hack your life in 3 easy steps?
Think long term
The paradox of the human mind is that the young, who have the most to think forward to, also have the hardest time to focus on the next 20, 40, 60 years ahead of them. While the elderly, who can easily think about the next 2, 4, 6 decades ahead do not have as many choices left in front of them. Time goes by and decisions which have been made yesterday cannot always be overturned tomorrow.
Yes, that is actually linked to physics and entropy - click on the image above for an excellent article on this topic from The Economist
Which brings me to the first important consideration when thinking long term:
1. We are all subjects to the laws of nature
That means you are subject to the laws of physics, chemistry and, most relevant, biology. You are a chemical machine, like everybody else; you are an animal, like everybody else.
That means that you have a certain amount of energy to go around and you need to be careful not to expend it faster than you manage to replenish it. It's basic physics.
It also means that, regardless of what you think about yourself now, it is extremly likely that your aims, wishes and desires will at some point resemble those of other human brethren. Imagine that you don't care about owning a home (when I was young I didn't understand the obsession older people seemed to have with owning real estate).
Well, it's wise to assume that as you grow older, you'll change your mind. Same about settling down, having kids, etc. A large, very large majority of humans define "happiness" in a very similar manner.
And because of the irreversibility of time, it's wiser to assume that you'll define it in a very similar way too. Assuming otherwise, when you cannot simply "reload an older saved game" is too risky.
Which brings me to the second consideration when thinking long term.
2. Think dynamically
We underestimate the continuous change around us. We tend to assume that things will stay the way they are, they way we know them. It's a lot harder to think how you'll need to change in order to hack your life for a future environment that will likely be very different from the current one you know.
But because you are here, reading this post, I contend that the changes you should most be concerned with are summed up by that quote above:
Software is eating the world
Given these two important consideration, in order to productively think long term (where am I going to be, what am I going to do, how am I going to be closer to happiness in 20, 40, 60 years?) it helps to pick a model.
Which brings us to the second step
Thing is, even if you choose Steve Jobs as a model, you might simply not have what it takes to become one. Remember, we are all bound by the laws of nature. Maybe you didn't happen to be in the right place, at the right time. Maybe you simply didn't meet your Steve Wozniak when it mattered. You can't do anything about that.
But maybe your genes weren't the right combination and since these are with you at all times, you better make sure to understand what kind of combination they are. There are many frameworks to assess yourself, your strengths and weaknesses. Some are useful; some are familiar. I choose to present here one that has the best ratio "usefulness / popularity" I could think of. It's been developed a long time ago by Dr. Meredith Belbin (a Brit). I don't know about the US but I'm surprised how few people know about it in Europe.
Here's a nice and useful infographic for it:
How to use that? I'll take my example: I'm a lot more "Thinker" than "People" and "Action". As a "Thinker", I'm predominantly a "Plant", somewhat "Monitor-Evaluator" and very little "Specialist". As a "People" guy, I'm predominantly a "Resource investigator" and much less of a "Coordinator" or a "Team Worker". As an "Action" guy, I'm confortable as a "Shaper" and decent as an "Implementer" but I shun away from "Completer Finisher" roles. Overall, my favorite roles are "Plant" and "Resource Investigator". I am at my worst as "Completer Finisher" and "Team Worker".
What about you ? Take a paper and a pen and try to map yourself out. You're worth the effort!
Keep in mind that "Software is eating the world", keep in mind that you are likely to evolve in a way which is similar to other humans with respect to your values and objectives, introduce your personality profile (mapped on Belbin's team roles above) in the equation.
With all those parameters, can you think of a model? Who do you dream of resembling (realistically) in 20, 40, 60 years? Where would you / could you be at best (if all the imponderables were right) ? And your "plan B", what would that be?
Work on your network
When mentioning Steve Jobs above, I've recalled that he started with Steve Wozniak at his side. Edmund Hillary had Tenzing Norgay at his side. You'll go much further and much faster if you are in good company, whether that company is one or ten other people.
Because we are all subjects to the laws of physics, there's usually a trade-off you need to be aware of: the better you are at networking with many people, the worst you are at focusing on one topic. And the better you are at focusing, the worst at interacting with others. For people who are extremely good at focusing, who are the "Specialists" and the "Completer Finishers" of the Belbin framework, you need to find a way to "connect the value you generate to the world"
These were the 3 (easy? Have I said "easy" ? Nah, that was just clickbait!) steps to hack your life.
So let's recap:
Keep in mind that "Software is eating the world", keep in mind that we are all subjects to physics, chemistry, biology and all the other sciences and therefore likely to evolve in a way which is similar to other humans with respect to your values and objectives, introduce your personality profile (mapped on Belbin's team roles above) in the equation. Then choose a (loosely defined) model (or two or three, keep a bit of flexibility though, a "plan B"). Then think of your network, that should suit your personality type. If you are the extrovert type, build a large network. But at the very least, if you are a perfect introvert, think of finding your Tenzing Norgay (which does not, actually, have to sport a silly name ...) who'll help you connect you and your value to the rest of the world.
Yes, I know this is not easy. I lied to get you to read till here. But hey, this is YOUR life we are talking about, right? It's worth a bit of effort thinking about, wouldn't you say?