New Years’ is the holiday where we celebrate things that we resolve to do (and probably won’t), as well as learnings from the previous year.
I’d like to thank Merlin Mann, who’s been a source of a lot of wisdom for me. Here are three important points that I’ve learned from him which have served me well in 2014 and I hope to apply more in 2015.
2. Growing up is about becoming the sort of hypocrite you can live with
Hypocrisy is simply unavoidable. The only truly consistent people are calculators and psychopaths, and you don’t want to be either of those. Living means growing, and growing means that you’re constantly discovering ways in which you used to be wrong and holes in the rules and principles that guided you.
Maturity is about recognizing that context matters, and imperfection is not criminal. Failure is allowed. That’s how we can…
3. Find more interesting things to be afraid of
It was cute in high school to be afraid that the popular kid wouldn’t like you, but maybe 30 years is enough time to be done playing that game.
I had a really hard time giving up on being afraid of the same old things. It wasn’t until I started actively seeking out new things to be afraid of that I was able to move past them.
Funny how that works.
But the most important thing, the #1 thing, “step zero” in the parlance of our times, which is so much deeper than it sounds:
1. Keep Moving and Get Out of The Way
Sound advice for proper civics behavior, whether you are talking about supermarket aisles or career paths. Credit where credit’s due, I believe this was coined by John Roderick, not Merlin. But John said it on a podcast with Merlin, so, whatever, partial credit.
Keep moving. Do new things. Poke your head up from your own little rut, and learn to recognize the tools and resources you have. Chances are, you’re not powerless, and everyone else is just as confused as you are.
Get out of the way. For most of the folks out there, it’s not about you. They’re doing their own things, and if you’re in the way, you’re the asshole. So don’t do that. Especially as privileged visible people, it’s important for us to support, while letting other people tell their own stories with their own voices.
Everything good I’ve done so far in life has been this. The more you can keep moving and get out of the way, the more you can enable and encourage those around you, making their lives better and fuller and more efficient. You can do your part, and avoid stopping anyone else from doing theirs, which is usually the biggest help you can give them.
Or at least you can get out of their fucking way. They have their own vegetables to pick out.