Categories
Emotional Work

Day 1072 and Say How You Feel

A twitter mutually asked what I think is a reasonable question about social graces and your own instincts.

What is the socially appropriate way to deal with having a strong irrational distrust of someone in your community with mutual friends?

Mimilove

It is my belief that it is best to tell the person how you feel. Feelings are not facts. Everyone has emotional reactivity based on their family system dynamics, expressing how you feel is not a hostile act. Strong people appreciate, knowing how they their perceived. If they don’t, you now, have a valuable data point on how to interact with them in the future and how they may be reacting to you.

Many have the instinct to he concerned about how someone will react and let that color their intuition. You win either way by addressing something head on.

That’s the beauty of the approach. You will find out. They will respond and you can assess by their response and your own reaction to it if you want to continue with your instinct or update your priors.

Emotional reactivity is part of our autonomic nervous system. It’s not always right. It’s only sometimes right. And learning to tune it is part of the fun. You want to improve your heuristics over time. You will get more clarity on the world and your place in it. If you wish to persist in feeling anxious and uncertain being passive will have that effect. It literally hurts you. You have agency in deciding to address how you feel head on.

Categories
Community Finance Startups

Day 1070 and Allocating Personal Capital

As part the part of Twitter called TPOT comes into its own power the topic of resource allocation and how to route projects to sources of capital game up with Brooke Bowman of VibeCamp. It is a key question for Network State like entities that will need to navigate social ties.

I want to share how I do it as I’ve rooted some amount of capital across very different communities. I do it with some sets of intuitions I’ve gained from existing in a very powerful network of interests that are “The Silicon Diaspora” which is a syncretic coalition.

Much of it comes down to very specific context of what others are looking for in terms of outcomes. Investors with a specific thesis are much easier to work with for this reason. I try to express mine clearly at chaotic.capital and express myself actively through revealed preferences. I assume nothing is personal & everyone is working with some amount of emotional reactivity as it’s a human business.

A lot of it comes down to knowing who is a node in your network that can redirect it to someone who believes their resources can see a good return on their goals that are varying levels of abstract and personal. Skills and passions vary and this is good. It’s a mix of social capital, actual capital, and attention and it’s a giant game of inference

Some folks very good nodes and quite open to a range of different types of projects. Sometimes it’s just as simple as asking if they know someone who knows someone. I see a lot that isn’t in my own thesis but it’s in my own interest to pass it to others for whom it might be. The ecosystem approach has maximum strength when it’s played as a multi-agent pro-social game.

Also you almost never know someone’s full history so taking any reaction super personally is something I find to be too much for my own emotions. And I know a lot of history so if I can’t do it I try to make the presumption others can’t either. Be kind but clear.

That helps avoid a lot of accidental feuds that otherwise can ignite if you try to be delicate. I find transparent assessments of my own incentives goes a long way if I express it as part of my own reason for aligning. This is how I’ve worked with communities as diverse as back to the land doomers and crypto futurists to effective acceleration.

This is a fancy way of saying I don’t think “gossip” aka information sharing is actually bad but part of the empathy process of understanding what people want to work on and pay attention to in how they marshal their capital. You intake the values of your coalition and find shared ground. You keep their confidences by expressing collective goals. I try not to overweight my goals in that process. You have to do what’s right knowing outcomes are uncertain.

Showing you understand their context, their fears and their reputations concerns helps you. An act we denigrate in popular culture actually helps you to deepen the relationships as each signifier breaks down space between two people and builds trust. So don’t knock gossip. It has evolutionary, societal and individual benefit. Just remember the ultimate outcome is about bringing people closer.

Day 146 Gossip

I believe we are in an era where individuals can exercise significantly more agency because of the high leverage nature of the tools available to us. We owe much of this to information access and that is a wide coalition of people who are exercising basic freedoms to self determine because of this march of technology.

It’s my belief that freedom to compute is freedom of speech and these digital communities represent what I hope is more effective self governance through decentralization. We must build up the social trust amongst each other by showing we value each other’s interests. I believe this to be the right thing to do for each other. It’s the human thing too.

Categories
Emotional Work Travel

Day 1013 and Fragile

I feel awful. I’m having some kind of serious histamine reaction and the cascade of stress and secondary symptoms have been extremely hard to cope with. I do not feel well physically.

I dislike feeling fragile when the wider world feels like it’s in utter chaos. You’d think I’d be used to it. I’ve staked my reputation on increasing volatility.

It’s simply frightening to feel fragile physically and emotionally at the same time while so far from home. As much as I love Tallinn it is a place that is not my home. It takes extra energy to navigate a new place. I love it but it does drain me.

I hope with rest and taking things slowly I can help myself navigate through the fragility. All types of things contribute to making you feel safe. Sleeping a little bit more. Eating nutritious food. Meditating and breathing exercises. Maintaining a healthy routine is the luxury we cannot forgo when faced with crisis.

I hope I’m taking care of myself well. Seeing the fragility and accepting it reminds me to do what is necessary so I can keep going no matter the stress.

Categories
Emotional Work

Day 921 and Unseen

I don’t really have the stomach for writing today. I realized recently that I’ve been accommodating several people I love so far past the boundaries of what I consider physically and emotionally tolerable, that I had some medical issues over the weekend as my body broke down by literally having thin skin. Ironic.

I am often afraid to tell people when I’m not feeling seen. I discuss, and reiterate, and point out, and I try to expand my bounds of tolerance to be more open, but I didn’t feel seen as a child by my own father and I see how it repeats as an adult.

I guess it’s not a shock that I snapped after letting my boundaries go. I’ve felt invaded for sometime (months even) and tried to reassure everyone I’d do my best.

But I realized in the process of minimizing over and over again how exhausting it was to be with everyone as much as they wanted, that because I’d never put my foot down they just didn’t see how much damage it was doing to me.

I am so hurt right now. I feel betrayed. I worked so hard at making a situation work that I missed that no one noticed it wasn’t working for me. And now that I’ve brought it up too late, it seems like I’ve doomed myself to being entirely unseen in the situation for good.

Having let all this out I do feel better. That I’ve done what I needed to make myself feel seen and safe before it was too late for me to recover. I’ll draw firmer boundaries and I’ll be more gentle with myself. I don’t have to live by anyone else’s schedules and demands except the ones I choose.

Categories
Biohacking Community Emotional Work

Day 918 and My Attention Budget

I wrote about the realignment of attention budgets as social media experiences a walled garden fear response to artificial intelligence’s looming tsunami of low cost content.

I myself am going through an exercise of ruthless prioritization of my own focus and find. As in any portfolio, write downs are inevitable. It’s easier to write something down when it’s money. Investments of time, energy, social capital and presence are much harder to let go. A sunk cost never boils? A watched pot never catalyzes? Sometimes a group or a movement chooses to remain outside their power.

I have so much less capacity to be present than I’d like. Others may prefer to be distant and still shower up but I find I’m happier with boundaries that are firm and great remove. That means when I do show up you have my full and intimate attention. It’s only right.

You have to prune in order to blossom. One commitment I’m excited to see blossom is the exceptional work of Jonny Miller. He and I will be hosting a Cultivating Calm Workshop for founders and venture capitalists interested in how to apply nervous system regulation techniques to their startup journey.

August 10th at 11am MTN join myself & Jonny Miller for cultivating calm.

As more of us rise up the acceleration curve of artificial intelligence and must maintain our capacity to sense-make, this will help your mind and body function in a chaotic world.

I myself have taken Jonny’s Bootcamp, intend to be in the next cohort (my code JULIE gets you a discount), and I’ll be sponsoring a founder to attend the September cohort so consider this a chance to see if these tools are right for you. My revealed preferences tell you what you need to know.

Categories
Emotional Work

Day 916 and Safe Spaces

Remember when safe spaces burst into a whole discourse thing? Maybe it was when the timelines got crazy around Harambe. I couldn’t pinpoint it but somehow “feelings aren’t facts” turned into a slur instead of commonly agreed upon consensus reality.

And now everyone is slinging insults to land points instead of finding a way to incorporate the duality of feelings and facts into civil society. Some trickster Demi-god is probably very pleased with his work. Maybe a goat or a Loki type.

There are many spaces that can feel unsafe depending on the context and the person. If I am aware that one of my choices provokes a strong response in another person, I may lay it aside for a minute so we can find common ground on choices and values we do share.

My sense of self is strong enough that I don’t have to hold every piece of myself tightly. I can empathize with someone I disagree with and find my way back to myself. Backbones and core beliefs are important.

I am finding myself in a number of situations right now where I wonder if I am too accommodating. My desire to empathize must meet the hard reality that is some people don’t feel safe empathizing with me.

Some of my reactions and feelings recently have left me feeling a bit abandoned and alienated. I am grieving for a lost matriarch in my family. And my grief manifested as a focused gratitude for finally seeing that I could live her lessons on my own every single day. And I have been living more joyfully because of it.

My reaction hasn’t been considered appropriate in some corners. I didn’t feel safe expressing my gratitude and focus and the happiness it brought me to have her thoughts in my head every day. And I realized then that not everyone will be able to feel safe with all your choices and decisions and emotions. Not every space can be safe for everyone.

Categories
Emotional Work

Day 902 and The Singer Lasts A Season But The Song It Lasts Forever

One of the matriarchs in my life died this morning. I am devastated. Because, of course, you are devastated when you lose someone you love. To not know the pain of mortality is to not know your own humanity.

We spend so much of our lives in the art and literature of the human condition that we can sometimes forget we are actually living it out right now every single day.

Your own life is just as rich a tapestry of meaning anything Dostoyevsky ever wrote. Losing someone close to you who really lived their life occasionally gives you sparkling moments of crystalline clarity on what matters.

All of living is struggle. We find the boundaries of the world through trial and error. We find each other as we negotiate the rhythms of each other’s lives.

The old cunt had the balls to die on the summer solstice. She was extremely Swedish so on aesthetics grounds I feel happy about her moment of passing. Midsummer. What a witchy thing to do. I love it for her even as I am weeping.

The last thing she said to me was so poetic it almost makes me angry. She told me that she had repeated herself a lot across the years. I said I knew and I appreciated that she’d helped me learn the tunes by repeating the songs with me even as I stumbled to commit things to memory.

Her response? Now that you have sung the melody with me, you can sing it on your own. Which is a very beautiful good bye worthy of anything I’ve ever read in a book or seen on screen.

But also the fucking temerity of that woman to deliver folkloric wisdom on the way out. Our elders know a thing or two.

The singer lasts a season long, While the song, it lasts forever

Unknown (to me at least) folk song

May your solstice be as bright and true as mine. I will be trying to carry this tune on my own and if you like I’ll try to teach you to sing along with me. May we have a chorus of love songs on our longest day in the sun.

Categories
Community Internet Culture

Day 901 and Self Regulation

I don’t know why I chose violence today, but apparently I dropped a chaos grenade onto my Twitter timeline. I hesitated, in extremely soft language, to ask if anyone has noticed that kids from conservative households seem have more pro-social behavior. I phrased it with a lot of ambiguity as I don’t know how I feel either.

Going to float a very controversial observation but anecdotally in my limited experience:
The children of my conservative friends are better behaved & more individuated & well socialized than the children of my liberal friends.
Anyone have takes on why this is the case?

Naturally when something pulls on a thread of social insecurity it will unravel quickly. I am a very gifted shitposter. I step on these third rails on purpose. I am not an activist for any cause so much as comfortable being uncomfortable. Alas I have already hit Godwin’s Law on the Tweet so for my own nervous system I’m done.

But I have noticed that as cultural pendulums swing, there is a distinct lack of appreciation for tolerance of other people’s constant dysfunction. Where we draw the line as to appropriate social behavior is a hugely contested space online. Much as it has ever been in literature and history. I hear Socrates got the death penalty for perverting the youth.

My point in all this is that we all benefit from having youth understand the world and their place in it. Our toddlers cannot be expected to have the fully formed rationality of a legal scholar.

Sometimes the answer is no because Mom or Dad said so. Not every social boundary is bad for us. A child throwing a tantrum is asking for you the adult to help them find the self regulation that their environment isn’t giving them. And it’s absolutely ok to be authoritative. It’s not the same thing as authoritarian.

The general consensus on the thread seems to be that multi-generational and multicultural spaces for consistent socialization combine well with firm boundaries. Knowing when certain behaviors are appropriate can often be a winning combination for learning to individuate into your own person. Feeling safe to be yourself looks different for everyone.

Now I’d read all of this mouthing off from me with a big heaping spoonful of that fucking libertarian-pirate-hippie-Silicon Valley-born-Rocky-Mountain raised salt. I don’t know what I’m doing. I’m just a very American kind of mutt.

I personally have found it helpful to be as accountable as I can be to myself while holding as much empathy for the experiences of other people as I can. I will disagree with you a lot. I’m ok with that because I have firm boundaries too. So don’t be an NPC ok? Let’s make civilization work together.

Categories
Culture

Day 895 and Stop Being An NPC

I’ve got a theory that main character energy only bothers you if you are not the main character of your own life.

Which you might not be. Most of us are running around on programming we didn’t write, blithely unaware that we have accepted being a non-playable character in our own lives. We are acting like NPCs even though we aren’t. Fuck.

You don’t have to be an NPC. Life is actually shared consensus reality even if it has rules just like a game. The first step in making sure you aren’t an NPC is treating other humans like they are real people. Yes, cue the record scratch.

This is actually hard. It requires empathy. But it is very simple. It is just the golden rule. When you treat other humans as real players of the game of life, you will find quickly that they treat you as one too.

You need to be emotionally present with another person. It requires a couple minutes of empathy at most. I’d wager it’s like masturbation for men, you could pull it off in a minute flat if you had to.

But so few of us are bothering to show up for other people in any meaningful way anymore.

One of my favorite Twitter vibecamp folks, Critter, made the observation that it’s so rare to meet someone with agency on dating apps that it can cause some whiplash when you engage with “a live one” if you will excuse the pun.

I find this sad because it’s true. It’s rare to encounter people who are present in their own lives. People go through the motions of their lives because it’s the normal way to live. It just doesn’t have to be your reality if you don’t want it to be.

And it’s not an easy change to make for most of us. It’s actually confusing for internet natives to be reminded that there are people on the other end of the algorithm because so many of us simply aren’t acting like full humans anymore.

We are just running social programming and hoping it gets us the rewards we were promised. Gamification and financialization and other forms of nudging spreadsheet brain send us hustling for dopamine hits.

So how do you tell if someone isn’t just playing to their cultural programming script? Or framed another way, how do you stop acting like an NPC in your own life? And how do you find out if someone else is also looking to engage with you as a human with agency?

The biggest clue someone has agency is that they discuss their feelings and emotional reactions to you the person in front of them

They don’t cloak it in ideas & theory or art without connecting it to how it makes them feel in relation to you & your relationship with them

Julie Fredrickson on Empathy & Agency

I can’t believe I’m quoting myself but I summed it up reasonably well on Twitter in response to a mutual asking myself and Critter how you know if someone isn’t an NPC.

You show up in that moment with them and do not run any social scripts on them. You treat them like you’d like them to treat you.

You don’t try to control them with mirroring or other social techniques. If you are serious about being intimately in a moment with another person won’t use any technique. You will just be. It actually is vibes.

You will show up and ask them how they feel and will react honestly to their feelings. And yes sometimes those emotions may be unpalatable (anger, sadness, jealousy) but it’s the first crucial step in building trust with another person. And that’s how you stop being an NPC. Good luck!

Categories
Emotional Work Startups

Day 865 and Permission To Invest In Yourself

I finished a five week nervous system mastery bootcamp last week. I felt like I was failing it for about three weeks as I resisted it’s lessons with excuses and rationalizations, right up until I realized the resistance was the lesson.

When I was a founder I came of age during the hustle porn years. Everything was about doing things faster and harder. Ideally both. And faster and harder was meant to produce “better” because “harder and faster is better!”

We got caught up in the tautology of the hustle. Move fast and break things practically meant we broke as many people as we did things. And I include myself as one of the broken people. It took time to recover.

Now I encourage founders in my own portfolio to prioritize their well being physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. If you aren’t putting yourself first your company will suffer. Trust me when I saw we both benefit from you investing in yourself.

But don’t make just about improving yourself. The point of this kind of work is to unfold yourself into the bigger, broader, most expansive version of yourself. Developing emotionally fluidity isn’t about optimizing for a local maxima, but rather about reaching for an even bigger global view. And we all see better returns on our investments with that kind of vantage point on life.