Pretend Noboy's Watching

It’s easy to walk the extra mile when everybody’s watching.
Finding motivation is easy, when the majority supports your cause.
Long-drawn-out work is a breeze when you’re in the midst of compliments and congratulations.

But what about when you’re only wining moral victories?
When it feels like your efforts are all in vain?

Don’t worry when you are not recognized, but strive to be worthy of recognition.

Abraham Lincoln

If you’re working on a craft for the attention, I would argue you are not suited for that craft. There are more people who want to be known for working hard, than there are people actually willing to work hard. Being the kind of person who is willing to work hard for something you believe is right, regardless of the outcome, is more important than being seen as a hard working person. But that doesn’t seem to be enough for most. Humans want to reap the fruits of their labor immediately. We want to see the product of our hard work and are discouraged when we don’t.

                                                       Jack Dorsey, Twitter Founder

                                                      Jack Dorsey, Twitter Founder

Martin Luther King Jr. died unaware of what would change in America.
Nichola Tesla died thinking that nobody would properly acknowledge him for his work.
Galileo Galilei was put on house arrest until his death because at the time he was seen as a heretic. 

Short term glory feels great, but there is a deeper level of satisfaction when trying to achieve something timeless; something that is more permanent than thank-you’s and applause. It’s the reassuring thought that even if everything crashed and burned, you would still find value in what you’re doing. It’s a passion that grows outward from the depths of your soul that no person, place, or thing can take away from you.

So carry on like nobody is watching. 
Find out how much you really care, for what you claim to care about. 
Work hard for the sake of the craft and not the recognition. The unfortunate reality is that you will never know the true impact of your work. You won’t know who has been affected, what it means to humanity, or even if it really matters. But those things shouldn’t concern you. When you care for your craft, there is no such thing as working in vain. 

On the mountains of truth you can never climb in vain: either you will reach a point higher up today, or you will be training your powers so that you will be able to climb higher tomorrow.

Friedrich Nietzsche

Though you may be discouraged at times, don’t let it slow you down. Work diligently because it’s what your craft deserves. I would argue that being the kind of a person who commits to what you believe to be right, is more important than whether you are actually right or not. The fact that King, Tesla, and Galileo fought to their deaths for their respected crafts is the greatest testament of their sincerity, and I’m sure they wouldn’t have had it any other way. The best part is that these guys were not trying to do anything timeless. They were just earnestly doing what they thought was right.

So whatever your craft may be, learn to tune out spectators.

                                                                        Max Lucado

                                                                       Max Lucado

The American Dream?

 

I’ve stated previously that the old ways of doing things will be forced to change due to the Internet.

As a result of watching the Internet’s role in our lives I would like to suggest that it is time for us to change the hours of when we do business.

The generation before the Internet’s rise and reign were held to a different set of social rules that no longer apply to us as the millennial generation. The Internet has given us an incredible advantage. We have been given the opportunity for a better quality of life, but we must play our cards right.

Reflect with me on a ‘Pre-Internet’ model:

After a long day of work/class one might socialize with friends, play outside, or run some errands. Knowing it would soon get dark, having grown up with the household rule: “be home before the streetlights come on”, one decides to head home. Upon reaching home you take care of various household responsibilities such as homework, house chores, etc.  After eating dinner, you may choose to watch a little television, read a book, call a friend, or whatever relaxes you. Most of your friends weren’t around and your connection to the rest of the world pretty much ended when you got home. The obvious next step was to prepare for sleep.

A lifestyle that revolved around work both inside and outside of the home as a means to achieve happiness. Enjoyment of that happiness, i.e. family/friends came first and accomplishments come secondary.

On average you would find yourself in bed by 11pm giving you plenty of time to get several hours of restful sleep. You could wake up at about 7 am (which gave you 8 hours), complete your morning rituals and still make it to work by 9am.

When we added the Internet to the equation, things got a little skewed.

Now you get out of work/class and still have the same responsibilities you would have in the ‘Pre-Internet’ model, but now you can get online and access friends, family, and entertainment at the click of a button. You can do “important” things instantly, such as checking and reading world-news, responding to email’s, video-calling a relative, shopping; the list goes on. Suddenly you realize you’ve been glued to this screen for 2 maybe even 4 hours.

It goes without saying how much of your afternoon and evening can be consumed by Internet use. Not to mention the texting you can find yourself doing while you’re laying in bed waiting for sleep to fall upon you.  Now, you fall asleep between 1 or 2 am, but still need to wake up at 7 am to complete your morning rituals. Rather than getting 8 hours of sleep, you only get 5.

In this model your connection to the outside world doesn’t end when you get home, it actually is just beginning.

 A Day in the Internet

A Day in the Internet

Despite our giant strides in technology, there is something that hasn’t changed– business hours.

Some time ago, Corporate America decided to run business between the hours of 9am to 5 pm. These hours were chosen for ‘Pre-Internet’ generation. The Internet has caused an absolute paradigm shift in our lives, and the expiration date for these arbitrarily chosen hours has passed.

This shift in waking hours has caused an increase in various workloads, without an increase in the allotted time for task completion. Many workers and students are restless and stressed due to sleep deprivation. Though this great tool makes meeting vigorous deadlines and completing excessive amounts of work possible, the humans carrying out these tasks are not able to perform at optimal levels.

Most people don’t see that they have options beyond what society tells them to do. That’s the biggest problem. They honestly believe that compliance is the shortcut to success.

Seth Godin

Companies and governments have constantly tried to lord over the public, whether it has been through restriction, distractions, or being over-worked. The American dream now includes working until Corporate America has wrung out every last bit of work week it could get from you. If you’re lucky and don’t die from that, you’re rewarded a couple years of retirement with the better years of your life behind you.

But in spite of such exploitation, the Internet has been a great way to say “screw you” to the powers that be. Today’s social movements for justice and rights are more effective than ever before.

my-nigga-banksy.jpg

My suggestion?

It’s time for Corporate America to rethink the rethink the days and hours it chooses to do business.

Of course, there is a level of responsibility on the individual: you should be able to discern how much time on Facebook is reasonable. But the matter of the fact is that the Internet has proven its dominance and it isn’t going anywhere. There is too much evidence proving that human beings love to use it.

Business hours should be designed to work around humans and not the other way around.

First Alternative:

Change business hours to 11-7 or 10-6.

Same amount of time spent at work, but the day starts later. This way if you don’t find yourself asleep until 1am you can wake up at 8 and still get 7 hours of sleep.

Of course, we must consider– what repercussions changing the business hours will have on us?

What if humans just alter their sleep schedule around the new business hours, in the same way they have before and end up getting just as much sleep? These are viable concerns, unfortunately there is no way to know, and all we can do is speculate. But I think we should do what is best for us right now and cross future roads when we get there.

Most people will choose unhappiness over uncertainty.

Timothy Ferriss

Second Alternative;

Shrink the business hours: Go from 10-5 or even 12-5.

The Internet has made it possible so that we can be more efficient than ever before. Time spent on certain tasks has decreased exponentially (communicating, market researching, advertising). Some argue that we should take advantage of this extra time and be even more productive. But where does it stop?

I would argue that instead we should allow technology to do what it was designed to do, simplify our lives. Rather than using this time to do more business, we should spend this time doing things that are actually important to us. Things like spending time with our families & friends, learning things we’ve always wanted to do, or doing things we’ve always wanted to try.

We have always wanted a true pursuit of happiness. The American Dream became more obsessed with the endless pursuit than the attainable happiness. The Internet has made this pursuit stronger and more efficient, but has inhibited the enjoyment of our happiness. We must stop throwing away what we truly consider important, and come to realize that the American hustle is overrated.

 John Schmitt, Senior Economist and Co-author of the Report above claims, “The United States is the only advanced economy in the world that does not guarantee its workers paid vacation days and paid holidays,”

John Schmitt, Senior Economist and Co-author of the Report above claims, “The United States is the only advanced economy in the world that does not guarantee its workers paid vacation days and paid holidays,”

When Henry Ford made the assembly line production became easier, but instead of taking the opportunity to enrich our lives, we let greed set in and added more workers.

When Eli Whitney made the cotton gin it allowed for much greater productivity than manual cotton separation, but greed told us we needed more cotton than the cotton gin alone produced.

And to what avail? We are trying to be productive, only to be more productive.

By working faithfully 8 hours a day, you may eventually get to be boss and work 12 hours a day.

Robert Frost

With the Internet, work is done more efficiently, which should mean less work hours, which would lead to happier workers that are working smarter, not harder. Now that less time is needed to accomplish jobs, this should turn into more vacation time/more time at home, which leads to happier workers.

There is a reoccurring trend when it comes to new advancements in technology. Instead of using these technologies to alleviate our stresses, we have allowed corporations to take our best chances for freedom to further oppress us in this capitalistic lifestyle. At some point we have to stop chasing our tails, break the cycle, and move forward.

The Internet is providing a way out, and we should seize the moment.

 

Thanataphobia

 

The courage obtained from not fearing death or the wisdom that comes with fearing it?


One of the reoccurring themes in Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Rises is the value of the fear of death. Bane, the antagonist, is wreaking havoc everywhere in Bruce’s beloved city, claiming to be “Gotham’s Reckoning.”Bruce Wayne decides to end his 8 year retirement, and resurrects The Batman. Trying to prove to himself and everyone else that he is indeed the same courageous, fearless, Batman that Gotham’s criminals had come to fear and citizens had grown to love. Alfred cautions Bruce, telling him that he doesn’t have anything to prove and that he as an individual must move past this misguided “fearlessness”. Against Alfred’s advice, he decides he wants to take Bane head on and believes he can beat him. He’s always risen to the challenge before, and believes he will do so again.

                         “You think darkness is your ally?”                            Bane, The Dark Knight Rises

                        “You think darkness is your ally?”
                           Bane, The Dark Knight Rises

Batman valiantly goes looking for Bane with the help of Cat-Woman, only to find out that she has set him up. In an early brawl between Bane and Batman, Bane notices how fearless Batman is– not even fearing death. He addresses this and believes it to be a mistake.

You fight like a younger man, with nothing held back. Admirable, but mistaken.

Bane

After Bane breaks his spine, Bruce is thrown into a prison where he is left to die. There are many prisoners but unlike other prisons, this one has an intentional exit; climbing out an insurmountable pit. This known exit represents unattainable hope. Only one person, a child, has ever successfully climbed out. Bruce, on two different occasions, tries to escape out of this pit and fails both times. He doesn’t die during these attempts because he has a rope attached to him that catches him when he falls.

In trying to understand how a child was able to escape, Wayne discovers that the child climbed out without a rope attached to him. Wayne explains to a fellow prisoner that he isn’t afraid of death. The prisoner scorns him for this, claiming that he is disadvantaged because he doesn’t fear dying.

Blind Prisoner: You do not fear death. You think this makes you strong. It makes you weak.
Bruce Wayne: Why?
Blind Prisoner: How can you move faster than possible, fight longer than possible without the most powerful impulse of the spirit; the fear of death.
Bruce Wayne: I do fear death. I fear dying in here, while my city burns, and there's no one there to save it.
Blind Prisoner: Then make the climb.
Bruce Wayne:    How?
Blind Prisoner: As the child did. Without the rope. Then fear will find you again.

This got me thinking.

Had Batman succeeded in his first fight against Bane, would we have labeled him brave and courageous? Where is the line that separates courage and wisdom? Are these two things mutually exclusive? Can you be one without the other? Is it when a courageous person tries and fails that they are unwise? Is a persons hesitation a sign of wisdom? At what point does fearing death become crippling and cowardly? At what point does fearing nothing become unwise? Does understanding the potential end of your life cause you to be wiser? Is courage understanding the potential end, and still choosing to move past that? If so, can you be courageous while not understanding the potential dangers? Can we only tell the difference between the two after the event has passed? Is one trait more valuable than the other?

If a person rushes to a burning car, ignoring the potential dangers, and successfully saves someone’s life, they are courageous. If the car blows up while in the midst of trying to save someone, that person is unwise. If the car never blows up, but someone chooses not to react because they understand the potential danger, they are a coward. If someone decides not to react and the car blows up, they are wise.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.
The courage to change the things I can,
and wisdom to know the difference.

Reinhold Niebu

 

Infiltration of Discrimination

 

The implications of this video are terrifying.

Jane Elliot was able to segregate the children of her classroom in 15 minutes, children who had known and played with each other prior to the experiment. Regardless of their established friendships, they still easily discriminated against their fellow classmates after their new intel on eye color.

Elliot’s reminder that the brown-eyed children had the same eye color the day before and weren’t discriminated against, still didn’t stop them. At one point a child even used “brown-eyes” as a derogatory term to describe a classmate. One child even mentions it was the equivalent of calling black people niggers.

The group of kids being discriminated against performed worse on the phonic task. The brown-eyed kids’ performance increased after no longer being the discriminated group. The blue-eyed kids performance dropped when they were no considered the superior people. The only thing that had changed was their perception of self.

I watched what had been marvelous, cooperative, wonderful, thoughtful children turn into nasty, vicious, discriminating, little third-graders in a space of fifteen minutes.

Jane Elliot

Can you begin to imagine what years of being exposed to discrimination could do to ones view? Can you begin to imagine how difficult it is to escape generations of this thinking, when it’s handed down from great-grandparents to grandparents, then from parents to their children? Kids who are taught to discriminate carry this mindset with them into adulthood. This should help us understand what slavery was in America, and should gives us insight to what Hitler instilled into a nation of people. It only makes sense that we still feel the ripple effects.

Whether it’s black or white, rich or poor, christian or atheist, blue-eyed or brown-eyed; human beings are, despite our differences, human beings. Don’t let your ethnicity, income, religion, and/or upbringing ever let you forget that.

 

Our Education Systems Last Breath

 

Once upon a time, attending an Ivy League school meant that you had received the highest level of education. Because of this, admission to these schools was made strict, and tuition was made expensive; albeit for good reason.

Attending an Ivy League school meant that you were at the best school because you were obtaining the best education. Ivy League schools had the best education, not only by title, but because of the things they had access to. These schools had the best books which were the best source of information. It had the best professors, who were the best in their fields. Attending an Ivy League school gave you access to an elite pile of information and knowledge. All of these things equated to the fact that you were receiving the best education available.

Education then, beyond all other devices of human origin, is the great equalizer of the conditions of men, the balance-wheel of the social machinery.

Horace Mann

After paying thousands of dollars, your education is now signified by your degree. To employers, this degree means that you have acquired a range of skills that distinguish you from the rest of the pack. The people competing with you, who did not attend these Ivy League schools, are allegedly inferior in knowledge and/or skill because their institutions’ quality of education (teachers, information, resources) is not up to par with yours.

When employers are hiring, they are looking for employees with the best skill set for the specific job. As a result, thousands of people turn their aspirations to attending and graduating from these schools because it means the highest form of learning and job security.

These were the conditions that our parents and generations before us were limited to, and at the time, it worked for them.

Then the internet came along.

Websites like Wikipedia and Google posses and give access to information and knowledge that was once restricted to a limited group of a people. Ivy League libraries are no longer the greatest collection of knowledge and information. The internet has made this information accessible to everyone. People are no longer bound to their location or their institution. The internet has leveled the playing field for everybody.

iTunes U, which has full courses from many Ivy league schools that anyone can listen to, has made these elite teachers and their lessons available. Email has made these teachers accessible. The “best teachers” are now available to everyone. We have Online libraries such as Khan Academy, which has 4,200 video’s of lessons. Covering arithmetic, physics, finance, history, and just about every subject in between.

 Salmon Khan, founder of Khan Academy, has delivered 240 million lessons over YouTube

Salmon Khan, founder of Khan Academy, has delivered 240 million lessons over YouTube

With the use of these resources, you can now attend your local community college and be “Harvard educated”, in a literal sense. Your learning opportunity is no longer bound to your local teachers and libraries. Degree’s no longer represent as much as they once did. The internet has made learning more efficient, and has truly given everyone an equal opportunity for learning.

There are two fundamental equalizers in life – the Internet and education.

John Chambers

It leaves you to ask, when you go to college what are now paying for? Why should I go to class to listen to average teachers, when I have the best teachers available to me via internet?

Google, Wikipedia, YouTube, have added a new dynamic, and have forced us to reconsider and redefine everything. Not going to school is no longer as detrimental to one’s learning process as it once was. The once huge gap in competence between Ivy League education and public education has shrunk. Employers must find a better, more thorough way to interpret skills than just the school name on a degree. We as a generation must understand the current time and that the internet has broken our current education model. This expiring model’s days are numbered; it is in need of rework and innovation.

Our ancestors built the castle known as our education model with wood. It was the best they had, and they built it sturdy. But it is no longer the best option available. Bricks have long been invented and have long been accessible to us. What worked for our ancestors is no longer working for us, as we have better resources. It is time for us to teardown and rebuild.

 

Impetus

 

During halftime of Game 5 in the NBA Finals Samsung and Jay-Z released a commercial advertising Jay-Z’s new album Magna Carta Holy Grail. 58 seconds into the commercial he makes the statement “We don’t have any rules, everyone’s tryna figure it out. That’s why the internet is like the wild west, The Wild Wild West; We need to write the new rules.”

The American frontier was new uncharted territory that had no administration. There was no set government or guidelines, and as a result people were free to do whatever they wanted. It was a place where raunchy characters lived and mandated. Characters like Billy the Kid who allegedly killed 21 men by the time he was 21 years old, acquiring his first kill at the age of 17. The American Frontier built a reputation for being barbaric and ruthless, and was given the nickname The Wild Wild West.

“Mounting violence persuaded the townspeople to hire a police officer, the first one put on his badge at three o’clock in the afternoon and was dead by eight o’clock that evening.”

CANYON DIABLO, ARIZONA

We are the transition generation. We are the generation that knows the luxury in handwriting a letter to a penpal but we are also the generation that watched our inbox’s fill up with emails. We gamed with friends on our Nintendo 64’s and got to see how Xbox Live redefined gaming with friends. We know the sentimental value of scrapbooking but have seen how convenient and effortless social media has made capturing and sharing moments. We are the “village” who gets to raise this child known as the “internet”. We are the generation that gets to dictate where the internet will lead us and those in the future. Our generation is soon going to be in charge of everything and we must lay our foundations now. Things are changing radically and our thinking must as well.

Case and point.

Artist these days, due to internet, music pirates, and bootleggers, have a much harder time selling copies of their music. On average, the music industry loses about 4.2 billion dollars a year to illegal downloads. Going platinum (selling a million copies) in a week is something that isn’t seen as often and very few have done. Many artist have vocalized their frustrations and have scolded the illegal downloading community. Few artists have tried to find a new way of thinking to solve this issue.

Samsung is giving a million copies of Jay-Z’s upcoming album to Samsung Galaxy smartphone users. What this means, is that Jay-Z sold a million copies to Samsung at $5 per copy for the rights to give away digital versions of the album 72 hours before the release date. Realizing he’ll never win, instead of trying to combat the illegal downloading community he chose to find a way around it; a new way to go platinum. With a new business strategy, he found a way to get paid for his album leaking.

Einstein’s quote is often paraphrased–

“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”

The old ways we used to do things are crumbling under the pressure of the internet. The internet has caused an absolute paradigm shift towards everything we do. Because of how dynamic the internet is things such as marketing, socializing, and documenting will never be the same. Eventually our education system and methods of government will have to change as well. The internet is new territory and has a lot of room for creativity and freedom. It is young and in need of instruction. We as a generation will soon be in charge, and because of that there is an understanding and a mindset that we need to adopt now.

So yes,

We Need to Write the New Rules.

 

Kith and Kin

 

Here’s the situation;

After giving birth to a child, you and your spouse decide that you don’t want anymore children and choose to proceed with tubal ligation (having one’s tubes tied). You have been raising your child for the last 2 years when one day you get a call from the hospital telling you that there had been a mix up. You were given the wrong baby, but they will return to you your genetic child and let you keep the child you’ve been raising.

Your genetic child has now been living with you for 2 weeks when a accident takes place. The house catches on fire and due to the circumstances you can only save one child. Would you save the child you’ve been raising for the last 2 years or your genetic child?

I’ve asked a couple people this question and they all have difficulty answering. The fact that there is even difficulty answering says something about our attraction to our own genetics. I asked the same people what if they had to choose between saving their genetic sibling or the sibling they’ve been around for a couple years? Just about everyone, without even hesitating, says the sibling they’ve been around for a couple years.


This raises a lot of other questions for me;

What counts and qualify’s as someone being your child? What qualify’s as being family? Is it the amount of time spent? Would a parent answer this differently then a non parent? Is there something that cannot be understood until you become a parent? If your genetic child was a boy and the child you’ve been raising a girl, does that have any effect on your answer? What implications does this have regarding adopted children? Are we as human’s always attracted to our own genetics?

If you knew you were going to die after saving a child, would this change your answer?

 

Feast or Famine

 

While standing on a Chicago street corner, I was approached by a man named Reginald. Reginald was wearing shorts and a T-shirt, he was a raggedy looking man, most likely in his 50’s. Due to his accent, I concluded that he was from Louisiana / Arkansas / Mississippi area. He told me he plays his saxophone wherever he can, whether on the street or doing night shows at local bars, and that he uses whatever money he gets to survive.

Due to my distaste for small talk, our conversation progressed quickly. I ended up asking Reginald, “So what is it that everyone on this Earth isn’t getting?” What Reginald mentioned, I’ll never forget.

“People need to find a small group of people that they work well with and try to succeed with those people.”

He went on.

"Before the circulation of paper money, people still had to eat. You could go hunting yourself, get your hands on a chicken or a fish and eat a fair meal. If you were conservative while eating, this small kill would be enough for the day. God forbid you have to share, then there’s only enough meat for one meal. Everyone could go out and slay their chicken, and everyone could find their own fish –sounds fair to me, but these would be minor victories; there are bigger rewards to be claimed. Plus, in a few short hours, it’s time to repeat the process.

If you want to eat and I mean eat really good, you have to go out and kill the buffalo; unfortunately there is no way one man can kill a buffalo.

And even if you are one of the few people who are capable of killing the buffalo by yourself, you can’t carry the buffalo back to camp alone."

 Illustration Benjamin Franklin sent to the colonies during French and Indian War.

Illustration Benjamin Franklin sent to the colonies during French and Indian War.

You know killing the buffalo is better meat; it eclipses your prior meals in quantity, and the buffalo doesn’t just provide food but fur as well. The dilemma is that you cannot kill the buffalo alone, but rally a group of people who can work together and it’s possible. There are risks: poor teamwork and poor planning gets you killed, not having enough people gets you killed, involving too many people leaves everyone with scraps. But when you begin to look at the effort and cost in comparison to time spent hunting, you realize that the amount of time it takes a group to kill the buffalo, is about the same amount of time it takes to kill a smaller animal on your own. Even though you have to divide the winnings, you still get a better bang for your buck. You’re going to have to share the prize, but it’s better then settling for small meals.

You soon realize the buffalo is not what you have to fear. What you must fear is having selected the wrong individuals to go hunting with. You can choose to settle with your small meal, or join the ones ahead of the curve in trying to kill the buffalo. Knowing who to join forces with is crucial, and in this case, can be the difference between life and death.

I’m even better
I’m eatin’ better.
Best thing about it is my niggas eatin’ together.
With each endeavor, we reaching levels that niggas, ain’t seen in like forever

Jay-Z

So choose—feast or famine?