Paul Buchheit speaks like a fearless entrepreneur
Sounds like there’s a lot of overlap with the way that Paul Buchheit and I think. You probably know Paul as the guy who invented Gmail, then FriendFeed. I didn’t realize he was that savvy about the human psyche. Great to discover that.
Here’s a choice quote, but the whole piece is more than well worth reading:
The intrinsic path to success is to focus on being the person that you are, and put all of your energy and drive into being the best possible version of yourself.
The story (about difference in parenting style between Chinese mothers and western mothers) reminds me of a boss I had back in 2000 when I worked at ArsDigita. He told me he’d broken up with his wife, because they disagreed about parenting. His wife believed the job of the parent is to shape the child into what the parent thinks the child should be. He believed the job of the parent is to discover who the child really is, and help it grow to become that.
Needless to say, I strongly side with my former boss. We’re all born perfect geniueses. It’s the upbringing that tends to fuck us up. Of course there’s some socialization and learning that needs to take place, but socialization and school seems to be way too much about taking what’s unique and magical and beautiful out of us, and replacing it with something mechanical, routine, boring, dead.
Like James Cameron, who created Avatar, the higest-grossing movie ever. In his TED talk he tells us (at the 2 minute-mark) how he’d always get busted in math class for doing the exact thing that would ultimately lead to his most creative work - and his biggest success. It’s such a clear-cut example of what I’m talking about, it’s stuck with me.
Back to Paul Buchheit, the post above links to another piece on serendipity and ego-fear, which I also find overlaps enormously with my experience:
My plans rarely work (unless they are boringly simple), but serendipity has been good to me, so over time I’ve tried to make the most of that. My theory of serendipity is still evolving, but from what I’ve seen, it’s better to think in terms of “allowing” serendipity rather than “seeking” it or “creating” it. Opportunity is all around us, but we have beliefs and habits that block it.
The two biggest blocks to serendipity seem to be ego-fear and “other plans”.
The thing I’d add to this is that I’ve had experiences where plans have worked out perfectly. But those haven’t been “plans” as much as “downloads”. It’s been this inner knowing that this or that thing wanted to be expressed, to happen, wanted me to make them happen. Like what I wrote about yesterday.
Those plans seem do to work out. But it still requires me to get out of the way. Being open to whatever pops up and working with it, rather than against it. Surrending to what is and what wants to be expressed right now.
In these past few weeks, whenever I’ve strayed off the course of the work on fearless entrepreneurs, things have happened mysteriously that have forced me to get back on track.
Like the H-1B quota was suddenly used up about two weeks ago, earlier than we thought it would be. Which means I’m not going to New York, I’m not getting a part-time job. Rather I’m going to stay in San Francisco, which is a much better place for me to be doing this work on Fearless Entreprenurs.
Or just as I was about to work on something for my Danish market just to make some easy money to help pay for an E-2 visa, I noticed that the microphone I’d brought wouldn’t work, so I couldn’t record. Having found a suitable alternative, our downstairs neighbor then accidentally cut the wires to the internet, so the only thing I meaningfully could do was to think and sketch out this site. And now I’ve come to realize how much doing the Danish thing would have been a complete waste of time.
These may be completely random accidental events. But there have just been so many of them lately, it’s striking.