Auckland, New Zealand

May 14, 2017

It's Never What It Looks Like

Oof, what a week. It's been five months, but I'm still really settling in here in New Zealand, trying to rough-shape this new life with roots, a new culture, new work, and in a lot of ways a new purpose.

I'm transitioning Ink and Feet slowly-but-surely over to a broader set of voices, starting a company to make personal AI, consulting, coaching, talking about depression, dealing with it when it shows up, trying (and failing) to get replies back to everyone who writes back, and generally having more balls in the air than really seems humanly possible.

I tell you all of that not to say "hey look at all the awesome stuff I'm doing."

But to say, "I am scared as fuck."

I like the juggling metaphor - we all get the idea of having more things to keep moving than we can track - but it's also incomplete. It's more like juggling glass knives or puppies or something a lot more terrifying and fragile than some plastic balls.

And every day, I get up, try to use all the techniques I've got on prioritizing important over urgent, and do all that I can.

And every day, it feels like it's not enough.

I've got all the tools from writing the book and knowledge of cognitive biases and habits and neuroscience, and it is still bloody hard every single day.

I suspect this is an experience you might relate to, too.

We've been talking the last few years as a society about the "Facebook halo" - the disconnect between the awesome, vacation-having, perfect bundt-cake making images on our public internet faces and the "I'm not brushing my teeth because it's Saturday and I'm tired" reality of everyday life.

But I think too, there's another split - between how people in our everyday lives see us and our internal reality.

To a lot of the people around me, I look like some kind of virtuoso bad-ass. But to myself, I look like some kind of frantic chef with a burning apron screaming, "Le feu! Le feu!", who eventually collapses in a puddle of tears with a fallen meringue that nobody will ever see. (It's a weird metaphor, but it works for me.)

I wonder if you feel this split, too - the difference between life-as-you and what-you-look-like.

And I wonder, this Sunday, if maybe we can't split the difference.

There's a moment after any good cry when you realize it's done. Your face is still soggy and drippy and your nose is still making that unholy slurpy sniffle we all get, but you realize that you're both a) a drippy mess, and b) actually ok.

And maybe, just maybe, there's some truth in that moment.

Maybe we both are amazing bad-asses, and completely falling apart, all at the same time.

Maybe, just maybe, it's what makes each of us beautiful.

Have a wonderful, slobbery week,

-Steven

p.s. The best thing I read all week was this thought-provoking TED talk about how we actually create a better world. It's by a guy you might have heard of. He goes by "The Pope".

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