Jake LaCaze

perspective

Can you think of a time you've been happy to be wrong?

While I'm not always happy to be wrong, when I find myself in this position, I most often experience it in terms of work.

It starts with some philosophy and strategy: developing a bit of theory. And then I plan my attack and then I pounce, sometimes missing my mark and falling on my face.

Part of me may be wounded or embarrassed about missing my target, but at least I attempted something. I gave it the old college try. And now I have anecdotes and data to reflect on and adapt my theory with.

Assess.

Plan.

Execute.

Fail.

Rinse and repeat until you get the desired outcome. Unfortunately, in a sick twist of fate, you may find that the desired result was actually not something you desired after all. Such as the case almost a decade ago when I grappled with the reality that the dream job I'd finally gotten wasn't so dreamy after all. Another reminder that the art of life includes navigating wave after wave of paradoxes and harsh realizations which can lead to their own types of failure.

This is why I no longer put much stake in the question of where I see myself in five years. I'm basically being asked what I hope to be proven wrong about in the next half decade. (Find me the guy or gal asked this question back in 2015 whose answer accounted for a global pandemic, rapid deglobalization, inflation, etc.).

We're so bad at accurately perceiving the present world around us. To hell with predicting the future world. The future us and our place in all of this.

And so when we see things as they truly are, we must accept that, to at least some degree, our desires and projections were based on a world that never really existed.

Is it any wonder we fail so much?

But once we see and accept reality, we have the chance to reassess and try and be proven wrong again.

#perspective


We often talk about food diets.

Maybe even media diets.

But what about technology diets?

As I go down the rabbit hole of rethinking my relationship with tech, I am not concluding that complete elimination is the solution. Instead, I am asking how much and how often, in what forms, and what do we give up to gain in convenience?

And what are the best ways to unplug from time to time?

Getting rid of cell phones and Internet would make participating in the modern world nearly impossible (as Tom Johnson recently touched on). But we don't have to participate every second of every day.

—Thoughts inspired by the article “Technology is diminishing us” by Jonathan Safran Foer <— Recommend reading

#perspective #technology


Why does it sometimes feel as if the world is made for extroverts? Is it because they are more likely to assert their visions due to their nature?

At times it feels as if introversion is a defect.

Who are these people who need time alone to regroup or process the world around them?

And then there are the fallacies mass culture perpetuates.

Like the idea that introverts have horrible social skills. Or that they're antisocial. Or that they can't lead others.

This last fallacy may be the most damaging because it hurts not only introverts but also those who may benefit from their leadership.

Introverts have potential to be thoughtful leaders. Their reflective tendencies help them step away and process situations with the benefit of time and distance.

It would be unfair to spread the fallacy that extroverts can't do the same. Lead Yourself First gives examples of how Dwight Eisenhower, a definite extrovert, relied on solitude to make some of his toughest decisions as a general in World War II.

Solitude is not exclusive to introverts, though it tends to come more naturally to introverts. The correlation is the same with extroverts and social qualities. Social skills are not exclusive to extroverts, though extroverts are more likely to have developed such skills as they tend to get more practice.

The traits of introversion and extroversion are not indicators of where a person will end up. The traits are more like indicators of the path a person will take to get there.

#perspective #psychology #introversion


Too many people are quick to provide answers to all of life's little problems. They don't ask questions because they have it all figured out.

Myself included, at times.

In such an age, can we say we need philosophy more than ever before? Have questions ever been so important?

The long journey of personal growth and real change often starts with questions.

What does this mean? How do I feel about it? How can I change it? Can I change it?

But without questions, discovery becomes less likely.

Questions require a certain degree of humility by the admission you don't have the answers and by the acceptance you may not find them.

We know the old saying: First things first. But too often we've found the answer before we've bothered to ask the question.

Like, really ask the question.

And for the sake of discovery and not for the confirmation of what we already believe to be true.

With an open mind and a shut mouth.

And so we have to put first things first: We have to put the question before the answer.

#perspective #philosophy


You're just playing catch.

That's usually what you'll hear the coach tell the pitcher who can't get the ball across the plate.

You're just playing catch . . .

What other big events can we simplify to settle our nerves?

Having problems writing?

No big deal, you're just stringing some words together.

Terrified of your upcoming speech or presentation?

You're just talking to a room full of friends.

Got a big proposal?

You're just throwing some ideas out there.

Sure, the stakes are higher than the lackadaisical approach would suggest. But sometimes it helps to forget for a bit. At least until you've gained some momentum.

#perspective


When you were young, you thought you could do all the things. You thought you had to.

Because to refuse was to admit you weren't superhuman. To admit you were less than. To let someone down.

But now that you're older . . .

You know you can be exceptional at only so many things.

And every new thing you add stretches you thinner. Robs your current obligations of your best effort.

So what are the few things you'll choose to be exceptional at?

#perspective


Peter Hook (of Joy Division/New Order fame) has long been one of my favorite bassists. But recently he's become my solid No. 1.

Not because of his talent. Not because he was able to play unlike anyone else.

But because he chose to play unlike anyone else.

Being an artist isn't about what you can do. It's about what you choose to do.

Sure, there are specific areas where you can't be the artist. Most of us can't be professional athletes or fighter pilots no matter our choices.

But there are countless ways we can be artists.

We just have to choose how we go about it.

#perspective


So many of us are waiting for permission to go.

Yet we find ourselves sitting at the green light, moving only when someone else honks to tell us the signs have changed.

Not only are we now encouraged to go, but we're pretty much required to go.

But we're unable to see the opportunity before us.

And then we complain when we get stuck at the next light.

#perspective


An American white male has a life expectancy around 80 years. So, theoretically, I have a few decades until I'm on my deathbed, slipping toward the light.

But every day I inch closer. And so do you.

The inevitability can scare you.

Or it can inspire you.

The choice is yours. And yours alone.

There's so much I'd like to accomplish before my time ends. Most of the items on my list will likely never happen.

But, when my days are numbered and my life flashes before my eyes, I hope the movie that plays leaves a smile on my face.

That's how I hope to go out. And that's how I hope you go out too.

But how we die tomorrow starts with how we live today.

That's the great lesson from my grief of the last decade. Middle age is allowing me to put it all in proper perspective.

My first act is over. The character has been established. The conflict revealed. Man vs. himself.

I'm somewhere in my second act. Working toward the climax.

The credits will be rolling before I even realize I'm in the third act.

We're going to be dead one day.

Until then, we might as well get busy living.

But don't just take it from me.

Consider this bit of wisdom from Hall of Fame NFL defensive back Deion Sanders's response when asked why he dressed so flashy:

You look good, you feel good. You feel good, you play good. You play good, they pay good. They pay good, you live good. You live good, you die good.

#perspective


So many people are horrible at giving advice.

Myself included.

Because at the end of the day, my own experience is all I know. And all I ever can know. Try though I may, I can't quite put myself in someone else's shoes.

So I can't pretend I know what should work for someone else. Especially when I barely know what works for me.

But that doesn't mean that we should stay silent.

We should share our experiences. Our struggles. Our wins. There's wisdom to be had from the stories.

But we have to stop pretending we have the color-by-number answers.

Yes to perspective. No to advice.

#perspective