embrace reality


written at the end of an era, reflecting final learnings as a tks director, in the backdrop of an artists loft in wicker park chicago.

as an optimist, i imagine the ideal state of reality, looking for the best in people and of situations all the time. my baseline is asking "i wonder how this could be better?"

as an intuitive, i live in the realm of abstract ideas to connect the dots of the intangible with pattern seeking. it's an internal model that is constantly being refined with updated understanding out the outer world.

as an entrepreneur, i rationalize my optimism and let my intuitive understanding lead the way to make change in smaller moments and in larger arcs of projects.

leading with optimisitc intuition gets me into trouble. there is consistent tension in between the ideal and real states of reality. there is what i want to be true at odds with what is actually true.

when working in community or designing experiences, i see the best in people, and expect that to be the driving force forward all the times. it doesn't take many data points to prove that is not the majority of cases. from a sour mood or a soured state, there are smaller reasons that larger potential does not show up in the same way it wants to be realized.

this becomes clearer by observing actions and not words. what is said, is not often what is done. intrinsic drivers for behavior are often unconscious and unintentional. that coupled with personal incentives aligning or misaligning in context matter.

rather than letting the intuitive idealist be the main decision maker and storyteller of what is real, i am starting to observe behavior and action, using data to tell the reality of the story, and then working to embrace it as it really is.

responding to what is without judgement is what's challenging. from ego (self importance) to conflicts with personal values, there is friction in removing the bias from personal view point.

this perspective is a result of countless experiments run this year to make the tks activate program the best ambitious program for young people to learn how to solve big problems as well as a great global community.

one helpful way around that bias is being transparent with intentions and what the hypothesis is testing. when everyone, at least in a team and community setting, knows what the results are before something happens, it is an easier debrief. as with nothing hidden, the post mortem of failure seeds learning.

and when embracing reality as it really is, there is a comfort. a comfort that comes in embracing for understanding. from that understanding, fuels a drive to figure out how to make reality better. avoiding blind spots, removing an ignorance gap, and reducing friction all are work in the short term that pay off long term.

this is a perspective and mindset i want to keep championing as i jump back into co-founder role. certain things are out of my control, but i can chose how i react to it. by embracing what is, the optimist in me gets constraints that inspire creative ways to make things better, the intuitive gets feedback loops of the world as it really is, and the operator in me appreciates systems as they get updated.

embracing what is true, makes a clearer path of what can and will be rather than letting what will be dictate what is not.

if you liked this, have feedback, or more resources to share, send me a note on twitter.

made with 🖤 in sf.