Friday, January 04, 2013

What Is The Why? ...

The other day on Facebook (and maybe on Twitter, too), my friend Michele – who is awesome and thinky and who calls me "sugar," which I love – posted a link to this: The Future of You.

It was posted without prejudice, without commentary, just with the suggestion that we may want to read it and post a comment about what it made us think.

This is what it made me think: "Oh dear. That post simultaneously gave me hives and made me want to live at Walden Pond. If that's the future and the definition of success, I'll opt for failure in the past."

That was my comment on her page.

If you haven't yet clicked through to read The Future of You and if you're wondering why it gave me hives, allow me to share with you the author's three main themes, in his own words:

— "Self-branding is about being a signal in the noise of human capital."

— "Entrepreneurship is about adding value to society by disrupting it and improving the order of things: it is turning the present into the past by creating a better future."

— "Hyperconnectivity is about being a signal in the sea of data and making and shaping the waves of social knowledge."

Ack! I'm in business-speak, buzzword, gobbledygook hell.

"... it is turning the present into the past by creating a better future"?

What the hell does that even mean?

The present becomes the past whether we create a better future or not. It's called time. (We could get into a discussion here about whether time is linear or not, but we won't.)

"... a signal in the noise of human capital"? Is that what Kim Kardashian does? Because if it is, no-freakin'-thank you.

And hyperconnectivity?

I feel tired just seeing that word.

Sometime before Christmas, Michele and I were chatting and she asked me the most exquisitely simple question: "Why do you bake?"

Why do I bake?

Well, that's obvious. I bake because ... .

[ Crickets ]

Why do I bake?

Huh. Yes. Why do I bake?

There are immediate answers that spring to mind:

I bake because it makes people happy.

I bake because it's an outlet for my creativity.

I bake because I'm good at it and I like to feel expert at things.

But in thinking about it in terms of whether I should do it for a living, as so many of my friends and family very kindly and continually encourage me to do?

That was her point. That the Whys behind things lead us to understand the Hows.

I loved that conversation.

And when she weighed in on Mr. Buzzword Business-speak, she brought up the same notion: that he didn't explain why we should do these things. And without the why, well, there's really no point in doing anything, is there?

So that's what I'm pondering as the new year begins:

my whys.


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