I think we have gotten into the “Packaging” of things so much that we have lost something deeper in ourselves. We wrap things up so nicely, so digestibly, I know because I think I do this all day.
Rarely to I leave something large and expansive. I always try to tighten ideas into something punchy and serviceable. Undefined ideas don’t sell all that well. A mysterious and open future is not at all what people want for there businesses, they want a planned timeline with a gripping set of predictable measures with which to track progress and ultimately, measure our success. This is savvy and smart. It’s the proper way to run a business. But is the predictability what keeps us all engaged? Or is it actually, the “What if this could happen” thinking that wakes us up and keeps us interested?
The image I have chosen for this writing is extremely relevant to the concept. A wild expanse with unending emptiness and no sign of life, only a fence that has long stood unattended, a symbol of the desolate nature of the space. This should really scare us if we are as in love with calculated predictability as we think we are. This should be our cultural image of Hell.
But it isn’t.
We see images of wild places and we just hunger for it. Most big advertisements for travel companies show people on tall cliffs, and lonely beaches, we are drawn to the natural exclusion of a place far away. We like the thought of seeing something wild, being a part of it.
We discern the freshness and purity of morning, but they do not make us fresh and pure. We cannot mingle with the splendours we see. But all the leaves of the New Testament are rustling with the rumor that it will not always be so. God willing, some day, we will get in. -C.S. Lewis
As a pure hypothetical, as a stretching of our sore and static mental and entrepreneurial muscles, what if we applied this knowledge of our humanity to our working lives? What if, for practice, we flip the system on its head for a moment and try to understand it from a different perspective?
We spend a huge portion of our time at work, and so it’s wrong to separate it from our lives, it is an essential and major part part of our existence, it is a major face of ourselves. Let’s quit calling it “work” and separating it from “Life” and let’s let that balancing act stop for a second. They are intertwined, they are together. We are the same person inside and outside of our vocations whether we act like it or not.
Now let’s apply our knowledge of our heart’s desire to seek adventure, to “Mingle with the splendours we see.” Let’s put our need for a lonely vacation right into the middle of our work.
Not knowing what project you will have next becomes natural. Not having your product packages perfectly crafted becomes less of an urgent pressure. Having a client request come in that is outside your normal scope of services becomes something exciting, rather than another, “No, we don’t do that” conversation. We view the irregularities as blessed departures from the rigamarole of normality.
And then we get fueled by it.
Let’s rebalance. Our simple minds can’t handle a constant frothing sea of unpredictability. And so it’s nice to have our craft shored up, our sails in place, and provisions accounted for, but there’s really no point in being on the high seas unless you are willing to witness the ocean in all its different temperaments. The tempest is what makes the journey risky, and no adventure can be defined as such without that element of potential loss. But we were made for adventure. We see the wild and we want to enfold ourselves into it. Maybe let your work become your next vacation? Just by enjoying a little bit of the risk rather than resenting it. Maybe our lives become their own adventure, and they fuel us with their unpredictability?
Thanks Ryan Weaver and Rankin Wilbourne for using some of your words to prime today’s thinking.