Why Always Trumps What

At one point, I was working with someone on my team on putting together an information product. And at some point during the process, I could feel that it just wasn't right. I felt into it, thought about it, and concluded that creating and marketing an information product wasn't the right next move for us. We should be focusing on building an audience first, then information product could come later.

Then over the next few days, I thought and felt into the audience-building aspect. Had some conversations with my COO about the direction of the business, and a bigger vision for the company and for my work in the world started to crystallize.

And suddenly, creating an information product seems like the exactly right next step.

I find this time and time again. The why is much more important than the what. The same action coming from two different "why"s, with two different intentions, will be dramatically different. So different it doesn't really make sense to consider them the same action.

Everything in life has a subchannel, an additional channel with extra "metadata". Kind of like a tweet has 140 characters, but then there's all sorts of metadata about where it was sent from, when, by whom, the software used, and so on. The "metadata" in real life is much more interesting, but it's a useful metaphor.

This video with Institute of Noetic Sciences founder Edgar Mitchell has a great example of this. He talks about this feeling that most of us get when we walk into an old church. We can just feel it in our bodies, how there's something special in this space. The way Edgar Mitchell explains it is, the walls have absorbed the information of everything that's taken place in that room, all of the feelings of all of the people throughout the hundreds of years. And that's what we feel when we enter that space. That information is real. It's not just something we imagine.

That's how I like to think about this.

Once you start to pay attention to this channel of information, it's hard to stop. It's really fascinating and engaging.

Play with it.

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