7 years is a funny length of time. A lot can change. But it also disappears in a flash.
It feels like a meaningful timespan too. I’m not sure why.
Maybe it was ingrained through school (like many things). Primary School goes from ages 4-11 and Secondary School/Sixth Form from 11-18. Years of formidable (and somewhat unimaginable) change and formation, at both half time (the first 7 years) and full time (the second 7 years).
I’ve been in a reflective mood this week. Perhaps even more than usual...after it dawned on me that it’s seven years since the first version of The Haven landed in the world. It started in June 2014 as a clumsy area behind a paywall on my main website (called Sheep Dressed Like Wolves back then). The ‘SDLW Members Haven’ was a clunky experiment. At a relatively early stage in what has become a rapid development of membership platforms and plugins.
The seven year realisation conjures a whole mixture of feelings. So much has changed since that first version. The screenshots and videos are pretty funny to look back at.
The Turtle Head of Shame
Yet at another level I have noticed some shame poking its little green wrinkly head out of its shell. I heard a critical voice saying, “you’ve been doing this for 7 YEARS...the dream hasn't really happened has it? If this was going to succeed it would have done so by now, don't you think?”
“Yeah maybe I SHOULD pull the plug on it”, I think to myself, accepting this pretty calm judgement as valid. “Hold on”, I pull myself out of my daze. “What’s the dream again?”
“Oh it’s worse than I thought!” My inner critic exclaims. “Please tell me there's a dream...a plan!? What’s wrong with you man! Look around you. Everyone else has it sorted. They’re accomplishing personal, work, health, business, community, family goals left, right, and centre. And what are you doing? Wasting your life. You’re an embarrassment.”
Whoa, alright mate, where did that come from!?
I’ve noticed that my shame gets loud (a bubbling tunnel vision feeling that rises through my stomach) when I’m talking to particular people about ‘progress’. It jumps in with responses about numbers, progress, and the reassurance of future success.
My shame leaves me talking about things that don't drive me as if they're all I care about. It's desperate to fit in with the assumptions, demands, and expectations of an ‘up and to the right’ world.
It doesn't care about the true joy I get, often from how things already are. And it doesn't believe that I'm generally pretty happy without constantly striving for another magical destination.
I enjoy experimenting more than accomplishing. Seeing what happens and iterating as I go. I prefer finding a steady rhythm more than chasing after big goals. And I have absolutely no desire to be famous, rich, or in control of anyone else’s life. That's someone else's dream. I don't know where I picked it up.
...Oh wow, that felt freeing to write.
By recognising ‘The Dream’ that doesn’t belong to me, I have space to think about what is actually important to me.
“I suppose you can say that if somebody doesn’t spread themselves too much they can have a more solid and enduring and established success, and if that had been what I wanted, which it never has been, then I shouldn’t have tried so many different things. But I’ve been always more interested in experiment than in accomplishment” - Orson Welles
This quote really resonates with me. It's as true within our endeavours as it is across the sphere of our endeavours.
'Society' provides us with measures for solid and established success. This is the default ‘Dream’. The most efficient route to the highest measurable result.
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