With so much crap on the internet, it’s tough to want to stay on it for long periods of time. About a year ago, I decided to approach my online interactions differently because something was just not working for me. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, so I approached this exercise with an open mind and heart.
Instead of getting sucked into the vitriol and anger, (that seems pervasive on Facebook especially and had become my standard practice whenever I was on social media), I decided that I would only post with the intent of being positive. If it didn’t help or support, than I wasn’t going to engage.
[Sarcasm is definitely allowed because those who know me know that that’s not going anywhere.]
It was very odd and extremely uncomfortable at first. The first observation that became glaringly apparent was the sheer volume of things I engaged with plummeted. I had found that I had been programmed to immediately butt into things that had nothing to do with my day-to-day and far too often were very negative. I would even go as far as saying that it was becoming detrimental to my well-being as I realized that these engagements were not quick; in fact some would go an hour or longer which is nuts when you’re an entrepreneur.
The length and amount of willpower required for these particular types of engagement had a cost. One that I was no longer willing to pay as using my personal health reserves to maintain being in a state of anger fueled by negative energy is not good or anyone’s body and mind on any level. The food I was eating was crap. I was not sleeping properly. My body was essentially mimicking a clenched fist, but all the time.
To say it was easy to adjust to this shift would an understatement of the hugest magnitude. I was literally in withdrawal finding myself with all this free time on my hands and an abundance of energy that I now had to use up. There was time of transition where I had to re-learn how to do things. Muscle memory being what it is, once I started, things moved forward quickly. My hustle was all of a sudden elevated and with this free time, I was able to devote efforts to focus on making myself better through things like better diet, yoga and the gym.
And there was the other very cool side effect – discovery.
With my focus now no longer on jumping in and being part of what I now call the wasted dimension of the internet (time and space) I discovered that there were some pretty great things happening. The types of conversations that were being had (to paraphrase the wise sage DJ Khaled) were the ones they don’t want us to have.
Below is a list of sites/things that I am now thoroughly enjoying:
Science + Space
I Fucking Love Science is one of the most refreshing things to come out of Facebook. It is irreverant, informative, inciteful and just plain fun.
Skywatch is my guilty pleasure. I have been a fan of space since my childhood and what Skywatch does perfectly is feed that curiousity with the perfect type and amount of information in a form of a newsletter.
I am a huge music nut to begin with. I listen to whatever I can get my hands and if it’s good, then it finds a place in my heart and my phone. One of the great things I have really enjoyed as of late is my rediscovery of Jazz. It is my number one love. Having been inspired by Frank Sinatra and Miles Davis all my life, it has been great to revisit and find a new admiration for Quincy Jones (great bio), Billie Holliday as well as a host of new cats paving the way for the future of Jazz. Folks like Gregory Porter, Cécile McLorin Salvant, Kurt Elling, Jamie Cullum, Jose James and while not full on Jazz, I would remiss in not including Leon Bridges.
A big part of this journey of rediscovery is that I have connected with like-minded folks to share and enhance in that experience. Sure music by itself is fantastic, but when you connect with someone on that level to create that shared experience, it is sublime.
The future is bright in music and I am happy to be present to witness it.
I have had a love for design for a very long time, having been heavily influenced by Modernism and its effect on industries such as furniture and architecture. Its presence is felt to this day as its principles influence my own personal design output. It is for this reason that I am very happy about the rise of visual based social media as my Instagram feed is made up of inspiration in these areas. While I am not on Instagram (and most other social media tools) as much outside of work, I find myself jumping on Instagram when I need a dose of creative mojo.
Part of the culling of the herd also touched upon being real. So that really got rid of a lot the ‘people’ I followed on instagram. What replaced it was this newfound sense of hustle that is now happening in the world. Single founders who are making things. Crafting is a probably a better word because it definitely falls outside of the theatre of creation that the Start-Up culture (where I find myself a lot these days) thrives on. Art, jewellery, clothing (and in a shameless plug to a dear friend), things that are acting as the basis of a lifestyle brand that is [on its way] and will replace Roots.
I don’t feel it’s a coincidence that once I started this exercise, my latest venture came to me. In typical fashion, I am taking something I absolutely love and after having poked and prodded it a bit to find efficiencies, I am turning it on its head. While it’s natural step in a journey that I started with my last hugely succesful venture Xavierpop, it has taken shape into something that has even far surpassed my wildest expectations.
These are a just few. The emergence of these has had a profound effect on my life that I am only just starting to see and understand. So maybe we should all just take a step back and do the same. Enjoy the wonderful things that are hidden behind the anger and the vitriol. Who knows what can happen or what you will see? Who knows what weird, wonderful things you will create? Who knows what you will output?
Maybe even an article like this.