Parking Lot

  1. 1.
    Introspection - Coaching yourself with a realistic long-term vision (infinite-mindedness) and positive reinforcement to stay on course.
  2. 2.
    Thinking Partner - A coach or a mentor that can grant you the space to freely talk through your maturing process.
  3. 3.
    Body + Mind…. Exercising/Working Out
Instant Gratification
In the attention economy, we’re all plagued by instant gratification (dopamine rushes). Instant gratification, especially associated with the widespread availability of information, further propels us toward the rush of life. We can view the world at the flick of our thumb.
As much as the internet has diminished gaps globally, it has also offered a glimpse into the various lifestyle and opportunities out there. While this is a good thing, it poses a bigger threat. You see, you are to dream big and go for it. But if that dream is not yours and is based on something as wanting the same thing as another, or because you saw someone else do it, it kind of makes it meaningless.
Your dream is supposed to be your aspiration. It is supposed to be something that makes you happy and is not a result of diffidence. However, with all sorts of available information, people have confused their dreams and want to be based on what others are doing. When that happens, we want to do something similar immediately. So that rush of ours to do something instantly in hopes of feeling a sense of accomplishment immediately is short-lived. And what happens with anything short-lived? The quick fix of instant gratification wears off as quickly as it spurred.
Instant gratification further reduces a person's ability to understand the meaning of something profound and long-term. Life is not meant to be lived on a short-term basis; it affects endless values in various ways. The conclusion is one – disabling the ability to understand and accept meaningful pursuits, resulting in negative financial, social, and health consequences.
Irrespective of it all, our addiction to instant gratification, of wanting to feel the surge of dopamine that comes from acknowledging something short-term, has proven to be ineffective and bad. Again, there are Statistics on social networks and the many problems that have arisen from this. After all, instant gratification takes place from the production of dopamine.
We fail to understand that the rush of dopamine we are seeking is disbanding our capability to understand the importance of meaningful things. Meaningful aspects tend to discipline us into accepting setbacks and victories. Whereas short-lived happiness makes us not understand the importance of something concrete. People who are on a payroll of instant gratification have no issues switching from the source of it. However, the disadvantage here is that when the service provider of this payroll ends, they will have to make a jump as quickly as possible, else they will have to endure the consequences – no finances or meaningful relationships.
People with delayed gratification, or those who simply understand the importance of gratification as a whole, are the ones we see pursuing something in the long run. Such a habit of not seeking something more profound and not just looking at surface-level happiness leads to contentment – and contentment is the mother of peace.
Alternatively, peace is a myth now. People have perceived peace as short-term success and growth, which ends as quickly as it began. Even then, when a person’s short-term growth ends, they simply start looking for it elsewhere than sitting down and working things out….all because of instant gratification.
Hidden Defaults
What instant gratification is doing today is that it inhibits a person’s ability to work on themselves. As a result, people continue to make wrong decisions without realizing it until it is too late.
We are responsible for our actions. Be it the setbacks we face or our problems resulting from our lack of focus or mindless doing. We can never learn if we do not take ownership of our situation. without learning, we will continue to look elsewhere as humanity’s hidden default.
Hidden default should not be about this; looking elsewhere. Instead, it should be about looking within. Looking at yourself, figuring what needs to be amended than discarded. The drawback here with looking elsewhere is that when people suffer or go through something, they should work it out even if it means leaving something. The response, however, should never be immediate resignation from the problem.
The trick to any stunted growth in any aspect of life, which could spring from living in oblivion, is to minimize the suffering and replace it with personal growth opportunities. Do note, I said personal growth opportunities and not personal gain opportunities.
Instant gratification teaches a person to gain than grow. Gain is the art of taking, while growth is the art of accepting. And life only gets better with acceptance. The gain will always leave you void of wanting more, with a feeling of an unquenchable thirst.
The want for more, of thriving on limited happiness, do you think humans are created for this? No. We are simple creatures with a complex system. Our system is construed so that at the end of the day, we are in control of our actions and happiness. Nevertheless, people continue to live without meaning, only to find that the glitter and glamor they were going after has nothing to offer after some time.
It is common to see people chasing after fame as it kicks in dopamine, only to realize they need more of such kicks to keep going daily. People fail to see ‘Fame is not success’ and ‘Success is not a skill.’ Skill is what you learn through experiences, for which you have to be aware of your actions.
To be skilled in life, you have to go through learning experiences that will teach you many things, not because you made content that went viral and brought you instant fame that new viral content will soon wash over.
Do not cave into the modern instant gratification and overlook yourself. Do not lose yourself in the process of wanting fame yet being unaware of your actions.
Be mindful of yourself, of who you are as a person. Once you do that, once you are mindful of who you are and what you have achieved, trust me, you will feel as great as any renowned celebrity out there because you would be aware of your accomplishments.
Nevertheless, it seems that the hustle and bustle we go through today has taken away the very aspect of being mindful. So, if you want to know in-depth how mindlessness, instant gratification, and hidden defaults have been tweaked by your mind subconsciously in a negative way, why don’t you and I begin a journey of setting it right?
If you wish to go unlearn the instant gratification of today, let us follow through this journey of my experiences and lessons that I put forth for your undertaking so that we may deliberately and mindfully mature.
Please provide the link for the WeWork Story. Additionally, these two stories seem overpowering for the introduction Chapter. Let us know if we can add these in chapter 2 onward or where appropriate.
Why is Slow Best?
Think about the last time you enjoyed a moment in time. Maybe you were at an event with friends, traveling with family, or basking in some much needed alone time. Whatever the scenario, the one thing that made the experience that much better is your alertness to it. You stopped to enjoy it. You recognized the moment as special, and although it was fleeting, you slowed down to hold on to it.
This is what it’s like to live inside each moment. As time passes, it doesn’t account for your mindset, or for your attention to detail. Time doesn’t discriminate either. It will keep on passing you by if you allow it to. That’s why it’s so crucial to do whatever it takes to slow it down.
Slowing down time is obviously not a literal concept, though. One can’t simply call a Zack Morris timeout and analyze each situation. Instead, we often bucket this recognition of time into the mindfulness category. After all, what is mindfulness but an opportunity to slow down and actually observe what’s around you.
Slow > Fast Examples
Slow: Who doesn’t love slow-cooked BBQ?
Fast: Cooking meat too quickly almost always comes served with a hot side of health risks.
Slow: Proper form when connecting your body’s movement with the focus of your mind equates to better repetitions via a more productive routine.
Fast: Aside from 8-minute abs, we have yet to find any routines that yield a better a result with less time and effort.
Slow: Lin Manuel-Miranda claims Hamilton took over 10 years to complete. All forms of art are ideated throughout a mindful set of revisions over time. I call this slowetry, and there’s a fine line between it and perfectionism.
Fast: Surely, there are some great examples of quick art that is beautiful, but an artist’s intent leads the way, and much like this book, first versions aren’t usually worth shipping.
Slow: Wealth is built over many many years of strategic budgeting and strict spending. Wealth can only be compounded on itself once a foundation is properly built. Bonus points here since building wealth the gradual way feels so unbelievably rewarding when done correctly.
Fast: I’d bucket any and all “get rich quick schemes” into this category. None of them work in any sustainable way you should actually be striving for and the majority of them are either rooted in luck or unethical business practices. Also, the quicker one makes the money in these instances, the sooner the earner tends to lose it. Ironic, isn’t it?
Slow: Learn as you perform new tasks. Ask those with more experience than you as many questions as you can. Observe the nuances of your role, the company’s culture, and how energy is exchanged in the workplace.
Fast: Sell as much as you can, earn more money, and maintain a complete lack of regard for who or what’s in your way. After all, you’re going to be the next CEO of the company!
Slow: When you dedicate your life to perpetual learning, there is a priceless insatiability that fuels your curiosity. In other words, you have to deliberately seek wisdom by doing the research or asking the questions.
Fast: There is no information-based medical injection that I know about. Oh wait, I guess there’s those constant sensational news alerts on your phone. If that’s your primary way of learning, stop reading this book (or at least recognize the problem with that for now).
Slow: Enoy the beautiful views on the way to the summit.
Fast: Check the activity off of your list but remember it as physical exhaustion, and not as a wonderful journey.
Slow: You’ll get to where you’re going eventually. In fact, if you do the math, the few minutes you’d save by speeding is worth far less than the increased risk profile of driving without consideration for your surroundings.
Fast: Cut off as many people as necessary. Your time is more important than everyone else’s.
Treading Water
I’m admittedly not the best swimmer in the world. My best stroke is the breast stroke, but that’s for other reasons.
I’ve had horrific, but funny (to everyone else) experiences on the lake with family and friends. So whenever everyone was plunging in the cold water for a mid-day refresher, I was always hesitant.
It took several times, over many years to realize this, but whenever I jumped into the freezing water, I was much better off remaining still and staying calm.
After so many times hitting the frigid water and being exacerbated by it, I felt there were no other options but to panic and flail about. Imagine a grown man quasi-doggy-paddling with the look of fear itself on his face. In the deep water, there was nowhere for me to go. And being breathless from the cold meant I had to breathe heavier.
But each of these experiences ended up becoming the perfect metaphors.
Whenever I flailed about in desperation, I was creating more waves around me. Those waves were then making it even more difficult to stay afloat.
Ah… the realization.
Calm equates to buoyancy.
It’s quite simple to zoom out and inject this simple premise into everything we do.
Anxiety is merely uncontrolled excitement.
Panic is a metabolic response to the unknown.
Once the mind can harness these sensations and trust the self enough to behave accordingly on your body’s behalf, we float.
Sure, you’ll float in the water. But soon enough you’ll start to hover above all situations in your life and calmly respond to them… without any unnecessary overreactions to stimuli, increases in blood pressure, or dangerous battles with spiking stress-levels.
After all, everything will be all right in the end. If it doesn’t seem all right, it’s not the end.
Slow Growth Organizations
I’m sure your company, or employer, has some sort of mission and vision statement. It’s a pretty common “check the box” sort of requirement for organizations these days. But does your company have a 5 and 10 year plan? Better yet, does it have a 100-year plan?
While I’m being somewhat fecetious about a 100-year plan, the point here is that anything good takes time and effort. In the context of an organization, “good” should equate to sustainability through repeatability. Simplistic meaningful growth, just like anything else during the development process, needs to be nurtured and cared for correctly.
We’ve seemed to transform business culture into the opposite of this. Instead of simple value-based processes being perfected and repeated, and all team members being encouraged to participate equally, we’ve built “winner takes all” cultures anchored in “do whatever it takes” philosophies.
A perfect example of this is the Silicon Valley tech adage, “Move Fast and Break Stuff.” Again, thinking more practically, I’m not sure mother would appreciate us walking into her home and haphazardly bumping into all of her furniture, breaking a few lamps and appliances, and considering it a success. Someone has to pay for the damages. And when you move that abruptly, the largest invoice is being issued to those participating in the neverending race to tech success.
Move Slow and Fix Things
My simplest definition of an organization is “an entity that offers value to consumers.” While this may seem overly simplified, it has merit as a pivotal starting point to a broader way of looking at the impact an organization can have on both its consumers and the world at large.
It all starts with wrapping the company around a profound purpose and disseminating that through its people.
In turn, these workers will feel their time and effort being reciprocated through fulfillment. This is the type of work fulfillment we all strive to achieve yet has become so elusive.
Slowing down to measure the distance between today and where the company’s purpose takes them in ten years is one of the best investments a leader can make. Questions like “why are we doing this?” and “is this in the best interest of society?” can and should take center stage when building out a long-term plan.
The result? These fulfilled workers, that now have more energy reserves than ever before, will stick with the organization and learn insatiably alongside their equal and relatable colleagues.
The best part is all that money saved on brooms, mops, and vaccuums. When you don’t break things, you have more time to simplify and attempt to perfect everything else in your organization.
Slow Growth Leadership
There are a handful of provocative stories that shed light on the problems with the high-growth startup mentality.
Spoiler alert: None of them end well.
But for those involved, I’m sure it was quite exciting. Shallow and empty, but fun.
Take WeWork for example. The “too big to fail” mindset where perpetual growth is the goal has proven to be faulty at best. Think about hiring in these situations. Think about the culture that’s being forgotten in the haze of it all.
Put simply, when you move that fast, you DO BREAK THINGS. And when you don’t have the maturity to assess and measure the distance between your truth and your vision, the whole thing spirals out of control.
Perhaps you are the type of leader that subscribes to Reid Hoffman’s “Blitzscaling” concept of growth hacking your way to inevitable success. If that excites you more than knowing your business will definitely continue to impact lives ten years (and beyond) into the future, then again, drop this book.
There is a place, and sometimes a need, for high-growth mode. It’s not all bad. But the point here is that it has to be built on sustainable, or even regenerative, foundations. Soil that will grow the strongest roots.
Patience as a Competitive Advantage
“I need that report on my desk by the end of the day!” We’ve all heard these sorts of demands, whether in our own workplaces or in movies.
The unfortunate fact is that this type of urgency has been proven time and again to yield far less favorable outcomes than the alternatives.
When pushed against the wall, a worker’s response is initially panic. Thoughts like “I need to get this done or I’ll lose my job” become the stimulant for the work.
While urgency certainly can establish needed action, it limits the creative space required for optimal output.
So instead of methodically laying out the plan for the project, assigning roles based on fit and personality, we’re being asked to mindlessly panic and check a box as quickly as possible.
That’s exhausting. And as I mentioned, unproductive.
Distracted by Urgency
Let your competition get swallowed by this perpetual urgency. You? You build a culture that rewards patience and acts according to infinite mindsets.
A patient organization is a lightweight operation. No panic leads to freedom of thought. Insatiability turns into endless passion to add value wherever it can be applied. Infinite-mindedness becomes a sustainable path to gradual and perpetual success.
It took me a while to realize that business is never a zero sum game. If it feels that way, you’re either doing something wrong or competing in the wrong industry.
The truth is - there is enough success to go around. Better yet, the longer you float calmly in the water, the more opportunities you’ll have to capitalize on the important opportunities that will come your way.
Over the years, I’ve learned to appreciate that every missed opportunity in the short-term tends to yield exponentially more in the long-term. That’s because acknowledging that there are always opportunities all around us makes us understand the importance of finding the right fit for all situations.
Finding the right fit typically means not saying yes to every revenue-generating opportunity. Rather, it’s ensuring your organization will provide the most value and benefit possible regardless of the circumstance.
This type of stance is a mature and transparent way of doing business. Mature because you’re always putting purpose and ethics before financial gain. Transparent because you’d genuinely prefer to educate non-customers than land a new one that won’t receive maximum benefit from you.