a jump into the dark

You face a tough situation. You realize that the person you love didn’t care that much about you. You realize it too late. 

What do you do?
We’ve been into similar conditions, yet we all reacted differently.

We might decide to embrace that darkness, jump onto it and be flooded by its dimension.
If so we might get a little depressed, we might not see the light.
This will be the result of our choice.

Not destiny, not evil, but us.

Because at the end of the day the person that did the all in into the darkness, that chose that path, that decided it was the right thing to do, was you.
There’s no one else to blame, even if the weight is unbearable.

At the end of the day, it’s up to us: We can always choose what to remember, what to live, what to engage with.
The good, or the bad things.

who we are, what we stand for

Gossip is a thing. That’s why facebook gained tractions. Because spying into people lives is such a powerful tool. It gives you the illusion of being god, while obviously staying _human_.

One thing the internet hasn’t lost while growing is the “Who we are” page. Every website has it, while I must admit that rarely I find something useful in that page.

What’s it for? Who’s it for?
I am inclined to think that it’s only a way to please our ego. To stop talking about products and start talking about why we’re so great, the people behind the curtain, us, the creators.

The “About us” existed since the dawn of the web.

Can we improve them? I suppose the implict answer is yes, we can. If I were to redo one today I’ll think more about the “what we stand for” and “what led us here”. A combination of the two would be my most plausible test.

What we stand for is something people might be interested in. Our values, our ideals, our dreams.
True dreams and values, not marketing ones. Not a meaningless page full of text, but empty on emotions and context.

No, I’m talking about real values, the ones that shook your heart. The ideals that keep you awake at night, the longstanding goals for a different world.

Those are some things people can relate to, they can dream of and engage with. Those can be a meaningful about us page.

An About Us page, that does talk about us: the readers.

the second is first

Everyone wants to be first. First and better. The power owned by the ones standing in the upper hierarchy.

They want to be acknowledged as the best, they take pride in what they do and show that to the world.

In doing so they are guided by something deep that doesn’t belong to the work they are doing. It’s the ego, the desire to be the best.

After those people, there’s the second place. Those who are good, great, but don’t want to be at the top. They could if they had the intention, but prefer to stay hidden, to not shed light on their work.

They are humble, silent people that each and every day do not their job diligently, make the difference and show how it’s possible to drive the world without ego. They are not interested in winning but in doing good work.

They care about the result, not the power.

Who’s first then?

crying at the voice

What happens when you put all your chips onto a bet? It happens that if the bet doesn’t go as planned you’re broke. End of the game.

It’s what happens when we have high stakes with an uncertain future. And as you might guess: it can go wrong.

Crying is the only alternative when you have no other choice. When you failed everything.

The alternative though might have been to be prepared to failure too. Have a plan b and a plan c. Because life rarely gives you what you want.

filler words

Ever wondered why you don’t use filler words when talking with friends but you start filling each speech with “uh” “eh” when you do it?

It’s the clear demonstration that it’s not because of the skills (afterall you can do it effortlessy) but because of the stakes, the stress, the preparation.

only being human can save us

I’ve always been fascinated by how different companies manage critical issues, problems, etc.
How do they give credit to the people working there, how do they show their appreciations for the work they’re doing.
How they communicate a low performance problem or give perks to enjoy the day to day working life.

It’s a long list of things and many people do differently.
Taking some example from Tech Companies that share this information on the public you can see many different takes.

If you look at Gitlab, you’ll see a very precise, structured document (search Gitlab Handbook) with lots of information.
It is amazing when you look at it, yet it’s missing something.
In my gut I always felt like a piece of the puzzle was missing.

Yes, these handbooks are great, but they leave out a key part of the entire process: Being human.

And I realized it only when I looked at the best in class example of it, the handbook of Basecamp.

They recently shared a blog post with some addition to the handbook and what made a difference for me was reading how they manage issues with the performance of an employee.

That’s hard right?
Well, what they wrote is nothing unusual. There are 3 incremental steps and if you continue to fail, guess what? You’re up to discussing if basecamp is still a good fit for you.

What’s different is the last chapter which titles
“What’s the biggest, most important detail missing from everything above?”
And the answer is: Support.

Then they go explaining the human side of it. Because when you write by explaining rules of a high stress condition (“you’re not performing well”) it would be terrible to think of a simple “3 wrong shots and you’re out”.
Yet they took the time to write it, to show this human side and write it in plain words.

That’s the key part. The part where the company takes a stand and says “I see you. You’re not a number. I know you. I understand you and before letting you down I’ll do all I can do to help you”.
It’s not about being a remote first company, it’s not about being a successful business. It’s about being human and honest and vulnerable.

Because only this will make a difference in the end.

You can read the doc here:
https://github.com/basecamp/handbook/blob/master/performance-plans.md

the captain of the boat

You might be fooled into thinking you are the captain of a boat. 

That you have the power to decide what to do. That you are the only one that knows best what to do.

This will tear you down once you’ll see how easily each and every position can be dismantled, taken over by anyone with higher hierarchy, power, or intentions than you.

You can earn more, be more powerful, but rarely you’ll be in the highest level of command. 

The true power, the one and only.place where no one can give you orders.
The sad news is that there is no such thing and all we can do is to do our best work in our way.

“Wait, should I surrender then?” Of course not. But you can’t fight all the battle nor they are useful to you. It might be better then to “Lose” by giving some freedom to the rest of the world. “Letting them do their work, in their vision”: Allowing them to express fully their point of view which we might not understand nor agree with.

Could it lead to a worse outcome than our idea? Yes. But what’s at stake?

When you fight for a privilege, for a position of power, you’re not simply fighting. You’re not simply using your time during the fight.

Your mind will go back and forth in the events during all day and night. Your emotional status will change and will deplenish your mood. 
Your energy will be sucked in by a black hole of bad intentions, only for a single gain, a greed of power, your struggle to success.

So, would it be worth it? What will change in your life if you win, and how much of your life would you lose for it? Think about you craving the next fight, you shouting at your spouse, you wandering while eating with your friends.

Life will pass by while planning how to win, or regretting the lost battle.

It’s easy to misread success.
It’s not always what you gain.
It’s what you get to protect and keep.

it takes heart to be creative

You don’t need to be a genius to create things. You need to put some heart into things. Love them. Be focused as if you’re caring for the most precious gift.

That is creativity. The ability to enjoy every single shadow of black, every glimpse of light, every smile, every word.

No two things will be alike in your mind, no similarities, because when creativity strikes you can see the subtle differences in each nuance, even though before they all looked the same.

less might be more

We’re obsessed by having more, owning more. Our cars, the number of the shirts in the closet, our shoes, the food we buy and then we throw away.

We accumulate products of any kind. Some of them will stay hidden in our homes for years befone getting thrown out (not even donated), others go into the trash can when they rot.

We’ve been taught this way. That we should have more, partly because of the though “If people see how poor your are, they’ll judge you”. So owning things is a status, and not owing them means you’re poor.

So we work more to buy more stuff we won’t use as much, owning things only to make a great impression to people and not because they enrich us thanks to their style or how they make us feel.

We work more, we stress more, we do more to have more. Again and again.

But what would happen if all of a sudden we realize that this fake-rich status isn’t what we really want? What would society be if we’d let go of the need for such low value status and go towards a more human, intimate judgement of how we are and which kind of value we take into the world?

Maybe we could all work less, have less, and still be happy.

Maybe we’ll be less stressed, need less clothes, waste less food and still have plenty of time, friends, relationships.
Hell yes, maybe we’ll even deepen our relationships thanks to more time and less stress.

Maybe we’ll learn to think twice before buying stuff and food. Maybe we’ll start buying only if we throw away something. Maybe we won’t fill up the fridge with food we’ll trash, maybe we’ll start valuing these things not based on the status they’ll give to us, but on the value they’ll take into our lives.

Not because we want to make a good impression, but because we value what they are.

And maybe, just maybe, we’ll start thinkin about people in the same way.
Not weighting their status, their role, their posessions, but what kind of value they take into the world and into our lives.

A radical shift nonetheless, but a shift that’s not impossible to achieve.

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