Keeping It Real
For example, I have cognitive biases that create blind spots in my thinking, perception and interpretation. So do you. That's why we have misunderstandings and argue. But knowing these limitations are shared, we understand why we need each other's differing perspectives to see things more clearly and completely. We can thus justify more patience, benefit of the doubt, and listening. We realize every person we meet has something valuable to us, somewhere, somehow to help us see things more accurately.
Also for example, I need to be loved, appreciated and understood. So do you. That's why we protect ourselves through belittling, accusation and deceit. But knowing this need is shared, we understand why we are happier when we dare greatly to love and be loved. We can justify more unfiltered love, accepting someone's charity and listening. We realize every person we meet has something valuable to us, somewhere, somehow to help us feel like we matter.
My humanity means I need others. Others' humanity means they need me. The fact that our humanity is shared, I know I have something to offer the world. But what? How?
Warren Buffet's partner Charlie Munger wrote in his book Poor Charlie's Almanac that the best business people he knows start from a place of strength. He got me thinking about what I'm good at, what I can contribute, what I offer, who I am - independent of who I feel I need to be or should be. This was while I was an ibanker. I recorded this at the time:
"I have listed what I'm good at. I didn't see any talents that can be applied in my professional career. I like bringing ideas together and making connections. I like the big picture. I like to lead through vision and ideas. I like helping people see things they haven't before. I forget how many zero's I'm dealing with, but always remember the people I'm working with. I don't like cars, but I love road trips. I don't like working on my bike, but I love discovering with it. So how do I translate all that into a meaningful vocation?"
Never knowing where it would lead, for many years I paid attention to what I enjoy and what I do naturally well. I reflected often and spoke transparently with many about the journey I was on, and the help I needed. I began to see patterns and learn of opportunities. Relationships and experiences brought new understanding and clarity one step at a time.
I keep at it. This persistence has been the key to putting me on a circuitous, uncertain, ambiguous, sometimes risky journey. But a journey that is liberating and fun. And one that I believe is leading to fulfillment and success. That journey - believing I have something to offer others, working to find it, working to give it in a sustainable way - has kept me real. And it has led me one scary step at a time to NJ bike tours.