Yesterday’s post on “Exploration vs. Exploitation” was mostly inspired by my struggle with unlimited optionality and being over-inspired. I want to expand on these thoughts, but I recommend going back and reading the previous post, if you haven’t, before reading this.
My argument that communities are biased towards exploration, which makes them a double-edged sword for people who want to focus on exploitation, extends beyond communities. There’s a whole industry of people selling inspiration in the form of courses, blogs, newsletters, and podcasts. There’s no doubt enormous value in educating yourself, but how many people would have benefitted from trying, let’s say, a marketing strategy themselves instead of reading the hundredth take on what made others successful? There’s also great self-help books, but they wouldn’t nearly sell as many copies if people understood that they could not purchase aspirational goals off the shelf.
Somewhat ironically, the latest article from Ness Labs founder Anne-Laure LeCunff talks about scaling down and choosing quality over quantity, not over-ambitiously trying to do and experience more for the sake of it. Of course, even a focus on quality could make you stick in perpetual exploration and jumping away from your current commitments into seemingly higher-value opportunities whenever possible. That may be the right move sometimes, but again there’s tremendous value in being consistent with your goals and plans over time.
However, my main inspiration for this follow-up post was Michael Ashcroft’s tweet, who said he quit his job to have more time and headspace to engage with communities like Interintellect. Multiple replies from Interintellect members like Rick Benger or Vidhika Bansal echoed the sentiment. I see the value of working less to make space for individual pursuits and taking sabbaticals to figure out your next move and leverage communities to help with it. It’s also vital to connect with people and ideas outside your line of work and current comfort zone and have “white space” for thinking. Still, I can’t help but feel that these people might be falling into a trap. I could be wrong, of course, but I know how bad FOMO can be and that continuously chasing additional inspiration, input, and more options don’t make me happy. It doesn’t mean I have the feelings under control, but I know that I have to work towards it, and against the industry I mentioned before, who’s trying to sell me that inspiration. I feel like I should help others avoid the trap.
I’m slightly worried about posting this as it could come controversial and offensive to some. Still, another of my new year’s resolutions is trying to be bolder and more opinionated in the things I say, so I’ve decided to publish it nevertheless.