On the political world

I feel strongly about many things in the political arena, while at the same time I won’t espouse my opinions because, well, they are just my opinions. While opinions are valid, when considering the fate of more than just myself, it’s important to base decisions (and talking points) with a focus on facts over beliefs.

That said, I want to take this year and post at least once a week on the nature of politics. On two-party systems, and fair wages. On immigration, Amendment 2, and all the amendments. On Constitutional rights, the judicial system and criminal justice, and on politicians.

I’ve no idea what this will look like, but I know that I want to say some things that maybe I wouldn’t otherwise. And, it seems to make the most sense that I’d write it out here.

As always, it’s work in progress. It’s part of an overhaul I’ve been planning for months, and it’s only one facet. Because we are, at our cores, experimental creatures.

Increased output necessitates decreased input

Increasing output by decreasing inputs may seem contradictory. But if you read yesterday’s post, you’d know that given diminishing returns we may already be reducing our potential productivity. In nearly every case, we are. We lump so much into our lives that it’s impossible to create as we should be creating. Barely getting enough done.

So, if our productivity suffers from too many inputs, we must reduce them to reach peak productivity. Hence entire movements on time management and minimalism.

Maybe peak productivity isn’t the goal. Maybe it’s a simpler life. Or fewer bills, less stress, less to clean. Maybe it’s just the search for more happiness.

Whatever it is, it can’t be found by throwing more and more at it. It’s better to try and remove one or two things at a time until you can find some breathing room.

“Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

The Abundance Trap

How easy is it to get lost in the minutiae of having so much? So many emails, or obligations, or *gasp* books to read.

You would think that the more inputs we put into our life, the more product we should have to offer. In economics, the downward side of that bell curve is an example of the Law of Diminishing Returns. “Advantages gained from slight improvement on the input side of the production equation will only advance marginally per unit and may level off or even decrease after a specific point.”

And it seems that we all run in the mode of diminishing marginal productivity. We don’t realize it, but we constantly reach input overload, causing our productivity to level off, or even decrease.

So where is that sweet spot? The point on the graph where you’re at optimal performance, not wasting any input while maximizing your output?

Finding it may be impossible, but we can try to get as close as we can.

Weekly Rundown

Another week has come to an end, and before you know it the first month of 2020 will be over. New Year not so new anymore? I understand. But here’s what I’ve come across this week.

Reading: Wild by Cheryl Strayed. I’m about half-way through, so it should get wrapped up, maybe this weekend. There’s a familiarity I feel when reading this. I’ve only done one solo hike – the Wicklow Way just south of Dublin – and that was mostly accidental. Much like how Strayed went from concept to hike in, I believe, six months. Becoming found by getting lost is a concept I think many, perhaps all of us are familiar with.

Listening: Let the Games Begin by Aloe Blacc. I heard this at work one day, and it ear-wormed itself into my head so I had to track it down. It’s uplifting while at the same time being catchy. I hadn’t really listened to Aloe Blacc since 2010 and his Good Things album.

Spending time: Watching a lot of Jeopardy. I’ve taken the test twice – once in 2016, and again last year. Neither time I was satisfied with my performance, and, since I’ve not been called by the show’s producers, I’m guessing they weren’t either. But I’ll try again next week, and testing is January 28-30.


Perfection is a moving target

It’s always a distant reminder of what we’re not. We can strive to reach it. Yet, when we arrive where we swore it was, it’s suddenly moved farther on. Perfection is not something we can ever attain, because we are our own harshest critics.

There is a benefit to using perfection as a guidepost, because we can make improvements in those areas that we push forward.

It can also be a setback when we’re focused on the perfection, rather than on incremental improvements – always comparing ourselves to what we’ll never be.

As the old maxim says, “It’s the journey that matters, not the destination.”

To the audiences

Everything we do has the quality of being received by an audience. Each product we ship, or piece of art we create; the conversations we have, and even those silent moments we experience, where it is ourself that receives the message. In every moment we transmit with an expectation of reception.

It’s unfortunately so simple to send a signal that was not intended, or to mix the message up completely. Most experts suggest that communication is equal parts message and medium, and that effective communication takes into account both, on the part of giver and receiver.

So when the message is the most important thing to get across, take the time to make sure it’s being received correctly. A little forethought can save a great deal of stress later.

Why not?

The key to all creative thinking is to ask, “Why not?” The most innovative thinkers don’t view the world as it is, but as it might be. And while there are many blocks that prevent us from looking in such a way as to imagine new possibilities, the potential is there all the same.

When investigating a problem, don’t assume something won’t work just because it hasn’t been tried before. Remember to ask, “Why not?”