23 min read

28 Ideas that Could Change the World for the Better

28 Ideas that Could Change the World for the Better

This last Friday (June 10th) was my 28th birthday. I thought it would be fun to spend some time in reflection and put together a post like this: sharing things I’ve learned over my life so far. 

I’ve had an interesting set of experiences; I left college early, I became the CEO of a multi-million dollar business at 22, and I’ve never worked a single day in an office. 

Since starting the Grow Ensemble Social Entrepreneurship & Innovation Podcast, I’ve also had the pleasure of interviewing 200+ individuals who have committed themselves to leave the world a better place than they found it. 

The ideas we have about the world, how we believe it works, and how we believe it doesn’t, affects the way we interact with the world. 

Our beliefs affect what we value, what we value affects our actions, and our actions can cumulatively leave the world better off, or worse. 

And so, I do believe that ideas have the potential to change the world. 

Woven with the many books I’ve enjoyed, important life experiences I’ve had so far, and those many many conversations I’ve recorded, I’ve devised this list below. 

Here are 28 ideas that I believe, if adopted by you and those around you, could change the world for the better.

You Define for Yourself, a Life Well-Lived

We’re indoctrinated with heaps of different messaging. From advertising, TV shows and movies, podcasts, and friends or family who insist they “know how the world works.” 

We’ll adopt scripts that influence the major life decisions we make. 

You see that success looks like a bougie high-rise apartment in downtown insert-high cost-of-living-city, an equally expensive car, clothes from luxury brands, and people talking about you saying, “oh, they do REALLY well.” 

So, you work and live in pursuit of that. 

Maybe you get it, or maybe you don’t. 

Either way, you come to realize that the money and the things you can buy with it don’t fill the void. 

You still find yourself aspiring to be someone else (an artist, writer, entrepreneur, etc.), or pursuing the newest new-age mechanisms to discover who you are and what your purpose is (e.g. fringe sex stuff, drugs, therapy, etc.). 

Save yourself the time and understand this: 

The greatest challenge with cultivating a lifestyle that YOU are content with is pursuing one based on values that aren’t yours. 

It’s critically important that you take the time to think about what YOU value. 

Not what your parents value. 

Not what your peers value (or think they value). 

Not what mainstream culture or social media tells you to value. 

You need to define what success looks like for you, you need to define what a well-lived life looks like to you because if you don’t, everyone else will.

You Don’t Need Permission. 

Pay attention to whether or not you are waiting to start living your life fully. It’s a scary place to be in: constantly imagining a future point when you can pursue what you want to pursue

When I’ve earned this much $, then I’ll quit and become a travel photographer. 

When I’ve traveled to insert-country and got a good handle on my career, then my partner and I will try to have kids. 

When I’ve gotten my master’s degree in journalism, then I’ll be ready to publish my writing publicly. 

There are gatekeepers in the world. That is a reality. 

Someone else can decide whether or not you get that dream job. Someone else can decide whether you get into the school you want to attend. And, you typically (not always) need to find a willing partner with whom you can have kids before becoming a parent. 

But know this: there is almost always a permissionless path

It’s not always easier, or more straightforward, but in some way, it’s almost always available to you. 

For example, I did not earn a degree in journalism or broadcasting, not even a certificate of achievement in interviewing (!), but back in January of 2019, I decided to start a podcast

I’ve since recorded over 200 interviews, my show has registered near 100,000 downloads across 160+ countries, and I’ve learned heaps, made many friends, and in one way or another, fueled the growth of my media company, Grow Ensemble

No one permitted me to start a podcast, but no one needed to. Thanks to some helpful blog posts, a few hundred dollars in recording equipment, and some generous early guests, I got started. 

It’s well worth noting, that this is made easier the more privilege available to you.

It’s Best to be Generous in Every Interaction

For many reasons throughout your life, you’ll feel like there isn’t enough to go around. 

Or, that someone else’s success or achievement comes at the cost of your own. 

You’ll feel competitive, you’ll feel possessive, and you’ll feel defensive. This can be a product of the environment you’re in, like law school.

Or, it can be a reflex of everyday life as you engage with friends, colleagues, etc. 

While there’s a normal tendency to withhold, protect, or restrain yourself. Don’t. 

Make it a point to be generous in every interaction, big or small. 

It feels better. It gets paid forward and backward (if not always directly). It’s better for the world. 

Believe it’s better to act generously in every interaction, or, spend your life keeping track of a scoreboard that exists only in your head. 

Whether it’s buying a round of drinks even when you’re worried about how much you have in your bank account or sharing information with a “competitor” to help them succeed, defer to generosity. 

You’ll feel better and the world will be better for it, too.

Humans are Inherently Good

We can believe that humanity is wretched, humans are inherently evil or selfish, and when presented with the opportunity, we seek power or status even at the expense of others. 

Or, we can believe that humans are inherently good; we prefer to be kind, we seek to be cooperative, and we want to take care of others, not just ourselves. 

Is it healthier to think that everyone out in the world is actively trying to take advantage of you, the system, etc. or that everyone is just trying to do their best: for themselves, their families, and their communities. 

How might that change policy, the way we vote, and how we behave if, at the core, we thought humans to be good? 

This idea was inspired in part by, Humankind: A Hopeful History by Rutger Bregman.

We’re Here to Leave Things Better Than We Found Them

One of our first tasks is to sort out where and how we can apply our time and energy to leave the world a better place than we found it. 

This isn’t easy. 

Especially when momentum pushes us elsewhere. If you live in the U.S. for example, much of your time might be occupied with how you make ends meet. 

There’s healthcare, ever-rising rents, childcare, etc. 

But, know these are distractions. We’re here to be good stewards. We’re here to move humanity forward. 

And while it differs based on your level of privilege and perhaps where you live in the world, there will be resistance to finding how you can apply yourself to do good. 

We’re distracted by getting rich, status, and making widgets or apps that we don’t need. 

We confuse “changing the world” with “building a $1 billion company.” 

If we all spent our working hours on work that truly left the planet, our communities, and civilization a better place than we found it, how might things change?

It’s Best to Ask for, Not Prescribe Solutions

Do I know what you need?

No, I don’t. You probably do, though. 

And the same goes for others. It’s sensible to want to prescribe solutions when we see that others have a problem. 

For some reason, we can feel oddly confident about having the answers for domains not at all related to our own experience and expertise. 

“Here’s how we fix the school system…” 

Did we ask any teachers? Students? Administrators? 

“Here’s how we fix poverty…” 

Did we ask anyone living in poverty? 

I love this line from Paul Hawken during our recording on ending the climate crisis, “You don’t fix poverty. Poverty wants to fix itself.” 

Before prescribing solutions, ask for them. Then listen. 

*I can see the irony here with the format of this post I’m writing. It’s a delicate dance.

Do & Create Interesting Things

How do you get professional and personal opportunities? How do you get the jobs you want? 

Make your life a portfolio. 

To be a person others want to be around, work with, and support, all the other principles apply (be generous, leave the world better, etc.), but it also really helps to be an interesting person. 

And how do you do that? 

Do and create interesting things. 

It’s one thing to have taken a course on podcasting…it’s another thing to have started one. 

It’s one thing to have a degree in journalism, it’s another to have a portfolio of articles you’ve published on your blog. 

It’s one thing to have learned to speak Spanish in school, it’s another thing to have spent a few months living in Spain with a host family who couldn’t speak English. 

Education is valuable. Education plus experience builds a track record. 

Life is a set of experiments. Testing out different places to live, types of jobs, activities, and adventures to try. 

Be the type of person who does and tries.  

We’re Working Too Much

One of the most common regrets among those on their deathbeds: I wish I didn’t work so hard. 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m well aligned with the clichéd “love what you do and you won’t work a day in your life.” 

But, even still, the obsession with work, productivity, and our earning potential is too much. 

It was believed that as a society we’d become so effective at providing the basic needs of our lives, that we’d be able to put fewer and fewer hours into the work weeks. 

Though, while productivity has increased, work hours are increasing or at a minimum remaining the same. 

Our work lives seem to, well, control our lives. Or maybe, our work lives just…become our lives. 

If we’re not working we’re still thinking about it. We’re preparing for it. We’re checking our email for it. We’re planning for it. We’re planning around it. 

There’s so much else to the world that we’re leaving unenjoyed. Whether that’s time spent with friends and family, watching the birds, or just afternoons off to think, walk, or read…

Work has its place in our lives. But it shouldn’t have our whole lives. 

What’s life for, anyway? 

This idea is in part inspired by, Do Nothing: How to Break Away from Overworking, Overdoing, and Underliving, by Celeste Headlee and Utopia for Realists by Rutger Bregman.

People + Planet > Profit

“We live in a world ruled by economics.” 

Do we? Or, is that what we’ve decided? 

In the 90s, sustainable business thought-leader, John Elkington, popularized the term, triple bottom line. This term asserts the idea that businesses assess social and environmental outcomes as well as their financial outcomes. 

The Triple Bottom Line isn’t enough.

People, Planet, and Profit. All considered…the same?

The most progressive businesses, the businesses and business leaders who are most driven to change the culture and paradigm of business are evaluating people and the planet before profit.

“But businesses need profit to survive!!! You surely don’t know how business works.”

That’s often what I hear next (because I’m naive 😜).

If we legitimately want to “change business” like we’d want to change any sector, we have to put concern for the planet and the people living on it first.

Otherwise, we’re making a call on:

  • What level of human exploitation are we okay with?
  • What level of ecosystem degradation are we okay with?

It’s understandable that a business isn’t completely “sustainable,” although they are striving to be. Without the buzz around carbon offsetting, I’m not sure what business is technically “sustainable.”

But what’s not understandable is that a business (and the leadership behind that business) isn’t urgently trying to correct course to remedy where they are harming people and our natural ecosystems.

Like they might if that business wasn’t profitable. 

Yes, businesses need profit to survive.

But we need a healthy planet for all of humanity to endure. And in my opinion, I don’t think there’s a justifiable level of human suffering we should permit for a business to survive.

The values aren’t weighted appropriately. Appropriately anyways if we’re serious about making change. 

Profit, people, and the planet all on the same bottom line? If we value profit in the same sense that we value our effects on people and our natural ecosystems…things won’t change. 

Weighted more appropriately, actual “sustainability” might be in our future.

Money Matters Less Than We Think 

On an individual level, it’s easy to be ruled by money. There is always rent to pay. And, unexpected expenses (car, healthcare, etc.) are to be expected. 

All the momentum in the world pushes you towards needing to make more and more money. 

And we imagine, when we do [make “more” money]…all that stress, that feeling of being on a treadmill that you can’t get off will go away. 

So…we chase it. We make decisions around our income. We spend more hours working, we’ll start side hustles, we’ll even take jobs we know we won’t like because it’s better pay. 

It’s not fair to say “money doesn’t matter.” Hearing someone say that might make you, like me, start to fume. 

Those bills (rent, phone, internet, car, childcare, etc., etc., etc.) are VERY real. And yes, at a certain income threshold, we see our happiness levels increase. 

But, it’s important to know, money matters less than we think. It’s cliche, after all, “money doesn’t buy happiness.” 

But repeatedly, we make life decisions based on money. We sell our time. We sell our energy. We sell our mental capacity. We spend years working jobs we don’t like. 

I see entrepreneurs spend decades building businesses they don’t like only to have some crisis of purpose and meaning when they’ve finally “made it” financially. 

It’s easier said than done, but we need to try to make decisions in our lives putting aside money as a factor. 

Yes—the rent has to be paid. But there is a difference between thinking that money makes the world go round versus understanding that we’ve decided to let it. 

It’s subtle. But there’s a major difference. Without serious attention, we’ll organize our entire lives around money.

Wealth & Celebrity ≠ Morality, Intelligence, Etc. 

Just because someone is wealthy, it doesn’t mean they are smarter, are more moral, harder working, etc. 

State this explicitly and it seems obvious, doesn’t it? 

Although, have you ever heard someone say this? 

“Well…they must be doing something right. They’re rich.” 

We justify someone’s decisions or perhaps delusional/sometimes offensive beliefs with the fact that they “do REALLY well.” 

Wealth building and status-seeking aren’t meritocracies. In fact, at the time of writing this, economic mobility is at an all-time low in the U.S

Don’t assume because someone is in some position of high status or has a high income that they are superior to anyone else.

There is Enough to Go Around

We create policy, we treat others, we focus on ourselves based on our fears and feelings of scarcity, that for whatever it is, there “isn’t enough.” 

There aren’t enough jobs…so, we believe the xenophobic narrative that immigrants are coming to take American jobs. 

We believe there isn’t enough money in the world, so we question how “we’ll pay for” a nationalized health care system, parental leave, or greening our economy. 

What’s fact and what’s feeling aren’t the same. 

It’s worth asking what leads us to a more productive way of making policy and building our communities? 

Might it be coming from a place of abundance, thinking that there certainly is “enough [whatever it is; food, money, jobs, etc.] to go around?” 

Or, from a place of scarcity, believing that there isn’t…and so inevitably, we’ll have to see who gets what, and most egregiously, who doesn’t.  

Not All Progress is Good Progress 

It’s easy to get caught up in the wave of “all progress is good progress.” 

New tech! New development! The Uber for X! The Airbnb for Y! 

But not all things we think of as “progress,” are good. 

The fast-developing city raises rents, home prices, and all costs of living. This forces many long-time residents out. We dilute once unique cultures and perpetuate destitution as gentrification runs rampant. 

The social media platforms connecting the world have been used to erode democracy, bolster anxiety and depression levels, and influence higher levels of social disconnection than ever before. 

The supercomputers in our pockets have deteriorated our ability to focus, allowed us to buy things we don’t need at a moment’s notice, and doom scroll late at night until our brains melt. 

At some point, we have to wonder what we are optimizing for? 

Yes, some of this progress is good, but it’s worth questioning, what is all the progress for? 

Not all that we’ve called progress is good progress. 

Inspired in part by Player Piano, by Kurt Vonnegut 

Diversity is Good

Whether it’s our natural ecosystems, our classrooms, workplaces, or neighborhoods, we benefit from diversity. 

Diversity of culture, diversity of thought, and diversity of experience. 

It’s not just about welcoming diversity in any regard, it’s about actively seeking it out. 

Seek out friends in different circumstances. 

Read books and listen to podcasts that you might not typically listen to. 

Our natural tendency is to seek comfort (socially, intellectually, and emotionally). Be aware of when you’ve been in your bubble for a while, and make the effort to break out.

Not Everything Has to be Earned

Why must everything be earned? 

You don’t just deserve a house in which to make a home, you have to earn it.

You don’t just deserve access to quality and affordable healthcare, you have to earn it.

You don’t just deserve purposeful, sustainable, and healthy work, you have to earn it.

The FEAR of “freeloading” is not proportional to what is reality.

Without the desperate need to sustain a living…do we truly believe the whole system would fall apart?

What’s the appropriate level of desperation we think people should experience to ensure that our country’s GDP continues to increase (forever)?

Is there one?

Why do we think that with more time, we’d pursue enriching hobbies, and spend more quality time with friends and family but others would just defer to debauchery, idleness, and freeloading?

What’s so special about us? 

Don’t we enjoy the occasional free lunch? 

Shouldn’t others get to enjoy that, too? 

Enjoy Art

A few years ago, Annie’s parents bought us tickets to a show called American Utopia, playing at the Tobin Center in San Antonio. 

It was the middle of the week, Annie had a law school midterm the next day, and so half-hazard with a tinge of weeknight anxiety, we got ourselves up to go. 

Of course, we’re familiar with (and fans of) David Byrne, so no question we wouldn’t miss it. 

The show brought us both to tears. Not because of any sadness, but because of the indescribable creativity, beauty, and sense of connection we felt to something larger than ourselves. 

From then on, to everyone and anyone who had the opportunity to see the show we said, “Just go. PLEASE, go.” 

Good art (up to the beholder’s definition), has a way of having you feel like nothing else matters in the world. 

The well-written, the perfectly choreographed, the beautifully shot…it has the potential to take you over. 

Good art can transmute meaning, play with your every emotion, and inspire you to make something meaningful yourself. 

Seek out good art. Discover what you like. Support good art. Try and make it yourself.

Love is as Good as It Sounds

There’s been no greater gift in my life than the gift of finding the person who I know I’ll spend my whole life with, Annie Bright. 

Love isn’t exactly a single emotion. It’s a spectrum and experience of all of them. To be in love is to feel an ever-pulsating sense of gratitude. To be in love is to feel an ever-deepening bond, connection, and enmeshment. 

My life isn’t just mine anymore, it’s ours. 

There’s no one more in my head, no one more invested in my happiness, success, and satisfaction than her. 

No one shares or compliments my tastes, values, and enthusiasms quite as she does. 

We’re both so incredibly the same and incredibly different in the most perfect of ways. She indisputably has made me a better person and continues to do so every day. I often watch her “in action,” and wish I could be a little more just like her. 

And thankfully, and so flatteringly, for whatever reason, I believe she feels the same way about me. 

Nothing, like the thought of not getting to spend another day with her, has had me lay awake and fear that my waking life just won’t possibly be long enough. 

Movies are made about love. Books, hundreds of years old, have been written about love. The love song is as old as music itself. 

Love can feel cliché. Especially as it’s often portrayed in media, art, and culture. But I’m telling you, finding and experiencing love, true love, is like enjoying the best meal of your life, every day. 

Different textures, flavors, and indulgent-like satiation as you go from the right dose of hunger to full body and soul satisfaction.

Patience Really is a Virtue

Patience is a skill most difficult to develop when you’re young. It’s made even more difficult to harness with a dose of ambition, angst, or a drive to do something meaningful and purposeful with your life. 

It’s made easier to grasp with time and age. Because inevitably, with more experience, you see its virtue. 

Commit to almost anything for a long enough time, and I imagine you’ll see your investment of time and energy “pay off,” in some way resembling what you originally hoped for. 

The small compounding habits and practices you invest in show a compounding worth with time. 

It’s almost immeasurable how much more valuable, my recording 200+ interviews is/has been, than if I was to stop at one. 

The writing habit you start today in your journey to become a professional writer, will pay off more, the longer you sustain it. 

The virtue of patience might at first be the hardest pill to swallow for the young and hungry to make something of themselves and the world, but maybe, the most valuable. 

If you can accept its virtue, turn your existential anxiety into action and practice, you’ll sooner be where you hope to go.

Magic Exists 

I’m not talking about the supernatural, Harry Potter, or anything divine, I’m talking about what verifiably exists, right now, in the world you and I occupy.

I’m talking about the magic, the already incredible nature of the planet, and the people that live on it. 

I’m talking about the soil underneath your feet, with its billions of microorganisms that are hard at work whether we watch them or not, every single day. 

I’m talking about the microscopic bacteria, found on ground-level vegetation, that acts as the binding particle in creating precipitation—affecting local rain cycles. 

I’m talking about the millions if not billions of people living on this planet, who themselves, are waking up every day, consciously thinking about how they can be a part of making the world a better place than they found it. 

The things that are already very real, make the fantastical a bit unremarkable. 

The world as it exists possesses all our imaginative capacities. The world is teeming with life whether we zoom in to see it or not. There is an organization to things, people, and ecosystems, that we’re just beginning to understand. 

The planet and the people that live on it are incredibly awe-inspiring, if not magical. We’re just not always paying attention.

Seek & Give Mentorships

No one is self-made. Your success (remember: that success is defined by you), is made much more possible with the right people on your team. 

Mentors are a critical part of that team. I owe so much to my first mentor. I had no experience, no credentials, and nothing but a good attitude really, and he gave me an opportunity that forever changed the trajectory of my life. 

It’s certainly clear that without that opportunity I wouldn’t have become the CEO of a marketing agency at 22. It’s also not clear that I would have been able to travel/work in all the countries I did (Mexico, Argentina, Ecuador, Spain, Ireland, Germany, and a few more.). 

It’s especially not clear if I would’ve made a move to Austin, TX where I eventually met Annie with whom I’ve now started a family. 

Much of that was very well connected. Thanks to that mentor, I was encouraged to be ambitious professionally and personally, and take chances by moving to new locations and meeting new people. 

I think he helped me mature much more quickly through the many conversations we had, the advice he gave me, and the challenges he offered my way. 

Again, our relationship has been inexplicably valuable and enriching in my life, both indirectly and directly. 

It pays to ask for and get help from someone with more experience than you. Think about who you might like to learn from and seek them out. Show effort, excitement, and enthusiasm. 

You never know who might take you under their wing. Then, don’t forget to return the favor.

Your Environment Affects You

It’s worth looking around and thinking as to whether you’re making it harder or easier for yourself to be happy. 

You want to go to the gym more, but you live a 30-minute drive away. 

How often do you think you’ll go?

Maybe you move. Or, invest in a barbell, plates, and a mat for your garage instead. If there are habits you want to cultivate or a person you’d like to become, make it easier on yourself. 

Find where there’s resistance and work to remove it. 

I lived in Seattle for a very brief time after college. I hated the weather, so I left. I started by heading home just across the state to Spokane where there’s a little more sun. 

I was 10 times happier right away. 

Weather doesn’t affect everyone the same way, but it makes for a good example. If you love to surf and it brings you a lot of joy, maybe you should try and live by a beach.

Don’t make things harder on yourself if you don’t have to. But also be cautious to tell the difference between when it’s you or your environment around you.

Community Creates Serendipity

A few years ago I spoke to a classroom of business students at a university in San Antonio. I was asked a question about what has been the largest detriment to any potential successes I thought I would have achieved by now. 

I answered with, “loneliness.” 

There’s a lot of appeal to remote work. I’ve been able to travel to plenty of countries while working at coffee shops, and seeing various sights as I (try to) speak other languages.

However, many of these experiences were some of the most lonely in my life. I fantasized about traveling, then did it and remembered that I was doing it alone. 

When I returned to the U.S. to pick a city to live in, I took building community and friendships very seriously. I made friends and set out to make more friends from those friends. 

The people in your life are what make your life richer. It’s who you share experiences with, who you meet new people through, it’s who you share your ideas with. 

It’s through your community that you find serendipity in your life. Invitations, professional opportunities, spouses, and more. 

Trust that by building community in your life, much else will take care of itself.

It’s Best to Seek Internally (vs. Externally) Validating Work

What has you feel good about your work? 

Something external, or internal? Does it feel good to do your work no matter what someone gives to you, says to you, etc. 

Or, do you need something from someone else to make you feel like your work week was well spent. 

This has me think a lot about sales. Something I’ve surprisingly done a good amount of in my life. 

If all you do is sell, and the only way you’ll feel satisfied is if someone buys what you’re selling, then…you’re risking feeling unsatisfied quite often at the end of those work days. 

The challenge with sales is that it’s not always 100% in your control. As well, some sales opportunities may be in your best interest to pass on (not an ideal client/project/etc.). 

Instead, by pursuing a project or task that’s in your control (like writing for example), something that feels in and of itself satisfying to you, you’re setting yourself up for success. 

Granted, there are some elements of life and work that will always be out of our control. And, even as a writer, we want/need external validation of our work.

It’s more so important to look at the work itself and think about how much of it you enjoy, regardless of the outcome. 

Even in the context of sales, if it’s a process you enjoy, something you obsess about, then great. You’ll most likely sell more, too.

Compromises on Your Values Weigh on You

There’s a reason that one of the Top 5 Regrets of the Dying (a beautiful book by Bronnie Ware), is living a life that’s not true to you. 

What does that mean? 

Well, as touched on at the very beginning of this piece, it’s critically important that you define for yourself a life well-lived, right? 

And so, when we’re out of step with that, making important life decisions that might not align with our definition, it weighs on us. 

If you acknowledge that money and things don’t make you happy, but repeatedly take professional opportunities based strictly on the wage…that’ll weigh on you. 

The more we veer away from what we know we value and veer towards what we don’t, the greater burden of regret and despair, we bear. 

Don’t think compromises on your beliefs about how a good life must be lived won’t affect you. They do. Slowly and subtly at first. 

But count on someday, that force pummeling you like an ocean wave.

The World Doesn’t Need More Widgets

Too many of us are spending our creative and cognitive capacities, our finite time, on inventing solutions to trivial problems. 

Sometimes it feels like we’re watching late-night infomercial after late-night infomercial, with pitches for things no one needs. 

Another app. 

Another product. 

Another widget. 

We’re on the fast track to eliminating any/all perceived inconveniences in our lives! 

As long as the widget sells, it’s worth it…

But do we really need another widget? Another “Uber for X,” or the “Airbnb of Y?” 

Is that what the world needs? 

Because someone, somewhere buys what you’re selling, does that justify its existence? 

I think we’re wrong to assume that because someone pays something for it, that thing is then valuable. 

Do we need more stuff? Do we always need an easier way to manage our life’s minor inconveniences? 

There are still very real problems to solve. There is still very real art that could be made. 

Accept the challenge and have the discipline to make only things that matter. You’ll feel better. The world will be better off, too. 

Inspired in part by Break the Wheel: Question Best Practices, Hone Your Intuition, and Do Your Best Work by Jay Acunzo and Player Piano by Kurt Vonnegut.

Pay Attention to Your Energy 

For nearly a decade, I’ve been doing some sort of review and goal-setting process. Be it annually, quarterly, or weekly. 

It’s changed a great deal over that time, and thankfully, I’ve resolved to simplify. 

The simplest, but most profound review and planning exercise, for me, goes like this: 

  • What’s gone well and given me energy? 
  • What’s gone poorly and taken my energy away? 
  • What as a product of questions #1 and #2 do I want to do more of? 
  • What as a product of questions #1 and #2 do I want to do less of? 

It’s this exercise that I feel has led me to the life I live now. By and large, I’m really quite happy and energized by how I spend my time. 

But even still, adjustments every so often are made and reminders are needed. Upon each stopping point, I commit to doing a little more of what gives me energy and a little less of what takes it away. 

Experiment, reflect on, and refine how you spend your time. 

Change is Possible

Change is possible. On the day-to-day that can be hard to see. 

Feeds, news, and gossip. It’s sometimes difficult to zoom out far enough to notice. But, we’ve changed before. 

Repeatedly, for the better. Not always the best, not without steps back, but steadily better. 

Good and what’s right will prevail. As Martin Luther King Jr. said, “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” I agree. 

While cynicism and fatalism can rear like early afternoon fatigue, it pays to take that nap. Wake up and look around you once again. 

There are so many of us working every day to shine up our little corners of the world because we genuinely believe it’s possible, it’s right, and eventually, the universe can’t help but bend in our favor. 

Believe change is possible because it is.

The World is Worth Saving

It’s my opinion that the world is worth saving. 

The planet and the people living on it are repeatedly, inexplicably, awe-inspiring. Whether it’s the way that we organize, the natural phenomena around us (see: Magic Exists), or, the great pleasure and weight of child-rearing. 

I’m endlessly in love with the world, and I gratefully feel a nudge, bump, or poke of fascination every single day. 

Everyone has depth, story, and character. Everything, plant, and animal fits in exactly where it is.

Listen to the birds, have a baby, talk to strangers, or read a book. There’s awe to be experienced everywhere around us, all the time.

And to me, the and incredibility are worth it. 

So so worth it.

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