Big Sur

“Paradise or no paradise, I have the very definite impression that the people of this [Big Sur] vicinity are striving to live up to the grandeur and nobility which is such an integral part of this setting. They behave as if it were a privilege to live here, as if it were by an act of grace they found themselves here. The place itself is so overwhelmingly bigger, greater, than anyone could hope to make it that it engenders a humility and reverence not frequently met with in Americans. There being nothing to improve on in the surroundings, the tendency is to set about improving oneself.”

~ Henry Miller

Urge, splurge, purge

A system that depends on growth can survive only if we progressively lose our ability to make reasoned decisions. After our needs, then strong desires, then faint desires have been met, we must keep buying goods and services we neither need nor want, induced by marketing to abandon our discriminating faculties and succumb instead to impulse.

You can now buy a selfie toaster, that burns an image of your own face onto your bread — the Turin Shroud of toast. You can buy beer for dogs and wine for cats; a toilet roll holder that sends a message to your phone when the paper is running out; a $30 branded brick; a hairbrush that informs you whether or not you are brushing your hair correctly. Panasonic intends to produce a mobile fridge that, in response to a voice command, will deliver beers to your chair.

Urge, splurge, purge: we are sucked into a cycle of compulsion followed by consumption, followed by the periodic detoxing of ourselves or our homes, like Romans making themselves sick after eating, so that we can cram more in. Continued economic growth depends on continued disposal: unless we rapidly junk the goods we buy, it fails. The growth economy and the throwaway society cannot be separated. Environmental destruction is not a by-product of this system. It is a necessary element.

The environmental crisis is an inevitable result not just of neoliberalism — the most extreme variety of capitalism — but of capitalism itself. Even the social democratic (Keynesian) kind depends on perpetual growth on a finite planet: a formula for eventual collapse. But the peculiar contribution of neoliberalism is to deny that action is necessary; to insist that the system, like Greenspan’s financial markets, is inherently self-regulating. The myth of the self-regulating market accelerates the destruction of the self-regulating Earth.

[…] There is no environmental rescue plan: to admit the need for one would be to admit that the economic system is based on a series of delusions. The environmental crisis demands a new ethics, politics and economics.”

– George Monbiot

Creative intention

People talk about creation as a remote fact of history, as if it were something that was attended to a long time ago, and finished at the time.

But creation was not an act; it is a process; and it is going on today as much as it ever was. And Nature is not in a hurry.

~ John Muir

Dana Seva – Selfless Service

I was on an email thread with a handful of smart sales leaders, and one person said the best sales reps are selfish and don’t spend their time helping their own teammates.

While I agree it’s important to prioritize one’s time, I’d argue the best reps are actually selfless and show care to customers and colleagues alike.

Our top sales performers are helpful, empathetic and have a heart of service. It’s inherent in the nature of the greatest salespeople, but you can’t be a human built on service and only show it while selling.

Simply put, in modern sales a heart of service is the best way to deliver value to your customers.

Case in point is someone I really admire – our Enterprise Sales Executive Kevin Walkup. Kevin is one of the kindest, most selfless and most caring salespeople in the world. His colleagues continually praise him for his empathy and how he much he gives. He’s also our top producer – two years strong! – and has generated us over $3mm ARR. Those who know him would say it’s bc he’s focused on serving ALL those with whom he interacts.

Selflessness is infectious, bringing joy and success to those around you both inside and outside of the workplace.

Can a sales professional be a success even if they are selfless?

~ Kyle Porter, CEO of Salesloft

Eminence Front

Professional wrestling is fake.

The blood is fake, the lack of physics is fake, the arguing with the ref is fake, the rivalries are fake… it might be professional, but it’s not real.

This willful disregard for reality is at the heart of pro wrestling. It’s a juvenile fantasy, come to life. An opportunity to make up the rules, ignore authority, and exert bullying force on others, merely because you can.

So why is Billy Corgan (of Smashing Pumpkins) one of the most successful musicians of our generation, running a pro wrestling organization?

He says it’s because it’s one of the last transgressive arenas left. That it’s a morality play, a microcosm of the human condition, a chance to put on a show that highlights our fears and our avarice. He knows that it’s fake, authenticity is a foreign concept in this world.

And what lesson can we learn from politics importing pro wrestling’s mindset? Once you see it, you can’t unsee the connection. Worth noting that one of the key narratives of pro wrestling is the fake within the fake–someone is always claiming that the outcome is rigged. (In wrestling, of course, it is rigged. And so is the complaining.)

Pro wrestling works as a play and a medium because the people who are part of it realize that it’s fake.

It turns out that modern media is a perfect match for the pro-wrestling approach. You can put on a show, with your own media, as often as you like. And that show is, to many, remarkable, and so it spreads.

And there lies the danger, the opportunity for pro-wrestling thinking to corrupt our society: When the fans, or worse, the participants, don’t realize that it’s fake.

In real life, the laws of physics actually work. In real life, blood feuds rarely end well. In real life, accepting the ref’s decisions is the only way to have civilization…

The filter bubble creates an echo chamber, and reality stars are pushed to be more like cartoonish pro wrestlers and less like responsible human beings. If it bleeds, it leads.

You probably work with people who are living in their own pro wrestling universe. These are people who are so in love with their version of reality and their goals that they view the real world as an affront, an intrusion on the way they insist things turn out.

Reality remains our common ground, the best one we have to work with.

~ Seth Godin



The secret name of love

Don’t turn your flame into fire.
Don’t turn the effervescence
of your unfathomable transformation
into God.
“Being” is just an opinion.
There are no abstractions,
nothing in general,
no time, and no eternity,
no black or white, and no
humanity, only your lips
pressed to my ear
in the perishing moment,
whispering the secret name
of love.
No heaven but these
miraculous worm-works
in the fallen apple
sizzling in the golden pool
of a dying star.
Why dwell in the penthouse
of your mind
when you could walk barefoot
on sparkling moss?
Your last breath
expired into this one,
but you did not cling or grieve.
The elixir of immortality
is to rest in the wonder
of not knowing.

~ Fred LaMotte

Making a living

One final paragraph of advice: do not burn yourselves out. Be as I am – a reluctant enthusiast….a part-time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic. Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it.

While you can. While it’s still here. So get out there and hunt and fish and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, climb the mountains, bag the peaks, run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, the lovely, mysterious, and awesome space.

Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to the body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much; I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those desk-bound men and women with their hearts in a safe deposit box, and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators. I promise you this; You will outlive the bastards.

~ Edward Abbey

No separation

We suffer from a hallucination, from a false and distorted sensation of our own existence as living organisms. Most of us have the sensation that “I myself” is a separate center of feeling and action, living inside and bounded by the physical body — a center which “confronts” an “external” world of people and things, making contact through the senses with a universe both alien and strange. Everyday figures of speech reflect this illusion. “I came into this world.” “You must face reality.” “The conquest of nature.”

This feeling of being lonely and very temporary visitors in the universe is in flat contradiction to everything known about man (and all other living organisms) in the sciences. We do not “come into” this world; we come out of it, as leaves from a tree. As the ocean “waves,” the universe “peoples.”

Every individual is an expression of the whole realm of nature, a unique action of the total universe. This fact is rarely, if ever, experienced by most individuals. Even those who know it to be true in theory do not sense or feel it, but continue to be aware of themselves as isolated “egos” inside bags of skin.

~ Alan Watts

Parenting in the present

About the only advice of importance I can share with young (or old) parents is to wake up.

Don’t obsess about past mistakes or potential worries so much that you don’t have a clear mind to be fully present and engaged with your kids TODAY – whether they’re 1, 10, 20 or 30.

Be awake to what’s right in front of you, right now, where your kids reside.

But, first you have to be aware there’s even a problem. Otherwise, “time flies” and you wake up too late and discover they’re too busy to be present with you, no matter how badly you wish they would be.

~ Scott Kinnaird