A Blessed and Serendipitous Moment
tbt to when I mostly existed online, overflowing serendipity, aggressive optimism and via negativa, *your* life might get much better—it happened to me
My life has gone through a radical transformation in the last six weeks or so.
For most of 2020 and 2021, I lived without a clear focus. No one was waiting for me to show up for a job. No one was seriously holding me accountable for executing on my visions. I received some positive feedback for the activities that disproportionately pre-occupied my attention: learning about Bitcoin and crypto, tweeting, reading books, meditating, lifting the 25 lb dumbbells I was able to scrounge from my Mom’s house, writing the occasional blog post, and practicing German with Duolingo.
But these were mostly an assortment of intentional habits and coping measures. I was fundamentally unemployed and more or less trapped in my house.
This mix of good and bad habits did help me more than they hurt me. Even if I spent too much time scrolling and tweeting, it’s impossible to imagine my present life in Austin without the time logged on these habits.
This past February, I lamented:
I think it has been challenging to process all of this information without having novel experiences, meeting strangers, and, in general, living a life more conducive to serendipity. Living in different contexts seems critical to processing new information. Some days I barely feel like I exist outside of a digital persona.
Excerpt from Coping with the Moderately Dystopian Time Machine
“Some days I barely feel like I exist outside of a digital persona,” I can happily tell you that this is no longer the case. This feels far removed from my deeply embodied life in Austin. I was not overtly depressed when I wrote that but I can tell you that I have no intention of returning to my February 2021 lifestyle (no pod, no bugs, no oat milk, nope). In this moment, I feel viscerally alive and filled with a sense of purpose.
The world around me is pulsing with opportunity and serendipity.
One day I meet someone, the next day I meet someone who would benefit from knowing them and I make the introduction.
Later that week, a friend sends me a link to a tweet from a musician about how he’s trying to hang with cool people in Austin, I DM him, and 24 hours later we’re eating BBQ and celebrating his birthday.
Another busy week of events and grinding has tired me out, I decide to spend my weekend days reading and organizing for the next week. One of the books I’m reading gives me an idea for a high-leverage opportunity to connect with the kind of awesome people that subscribe to Seeking Tribe. I reach out to one of my friends to see if we might be able to collaborate. Yup.
Changing contexts and meeting new people, with different backgrounds and expertise, has enabled me to process the information that I’d eagerly consumed over the past year or two. Some of my ideas have been affirmed and others have been revealed to be the naive abstractions of a theorist, an armchair generalist. All of this socialization with interesting, positive-sum strangers has me feeling mentally well and aggressively optimistic.
The hard truth is that the habits that enabled me to get to this point, are not the ones that are going to enable me to best capitalize off of these opportunities. As I was told the other day, “A list of 10 ‘priorities’ is a misnomer, that’s just a bad to-do list.”
Our time, energy, and attention are fundamentally scarce.
These seem to be the available tactics for me to make the most of these existing opportunities:
Via Negativa—remove everything that is not essential or harmful, reduce priorities to the most important and highest leverage activities
Lean into healthy habits to stay balanced and alert— 8 hours of sleep, consistent wake up time, regular exercise (yes cardio too), eat clean, fast regularly, hydrate, minimize or cut out alcohol
Attack priorities in an unsustainable way— we do not control when opportunity strikes, perhaps now is a time to sacrifice more than usual for the rewards that I believe can come in the future
Automate and delegate— automate aspects or the entirety of every repetitive task, recruit others to help me with various projects
Work smarter— be systematic about completing my highest priority and leverage tasks, ensure that my best energy is spent on the most valuable work, Google simple solutions
I’ve commented on some of these tactics in-depth in my ‘must-read’, ‘tell-all’ book, Lead The Future. In the coming weeks, I will follow-up with a bit more information about a few little projects I’m working on and what I’m sacrificing to make it all work.
Living in a moment that is full of opportunities to make friends and meaning is a blessing. The vibes that I’m surrounded by feel reminiscent of those first few weeks of college, when people are genuinely open to the possibility that you’ll become lifelong friends.
My hope with this piece is to let you know that these kinds of environments exist and your life could get much better too (if you want it to, your life may already be great! I hope it is). A few weeks ago I was about to run out of savings, no clear path to leave Rochester, no strong leads on a job… and now I’m here.
This kind of moment won’t last forever. I just want to make the most of it.
Is there a topic that you’d like for me to explore in an upcoming Seeking Tribe or blog post?
Reply to this post or send me an email at grantdever at gmail dot com. Likewise, reach out if you have other feedback. If you help me improve my writing, it will make my day.
I logged off of social media again, if you don’t share this post then your friends, and some of mine, likely won’t find it: