On the Outside

Into the Son

Are you excited to get out of bed in the morning? If not, maybe you need to get on the outside. Maybe you need a hero’s journey. This is a term I had never heard before until I read, The No. 1 Predictor of Career Success According to Network Science, in Forbes Magazine.

Ok… wait a minute … I know what you are thinking. This started out promising; but it just got boring! I am thinking that as I write, but hear me out.

What motivates you? I am not talking about what tempts you, what you gravitate toward or what you run after without thinking. I am talking about what moves you in the core of your being, the thing that gets you thinking, the grand vision that seems just out of reach, over the horizon and not quite in clear view. Do you remember thinking like that? Have you forgotten those things long ago?

“Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish” the paragraph header reads. Huh? Career success, network science and Steve Jobs… what do these things have to do with the price of tea in China?

I am not talking about career success and being a millionaire like Steve Jobs. When we start thinking of those mundane ends we have already lost sight of the point. The journey may take you to those places, but that is not where the journey starts.

The point is the hunger and the foolishness, the daring to be different and the willingness to step Outside. To get there, you must go on your own hero’s journey. What is that for you?

Have you been on your own hero’s journey? Have you ever thought to leave the comfort and familiarity of your own network and wandered into the wilderness of the unknown and unfamiliar?

There is treasure out there. It may not be in the form of monetary and career success… but it is treasure nonetheless.

Grand Canyon Thinker 2I was fortunate or foolish enough to go on my own hero’s journey in my life. Maybe it started for me with feeling like a I did not fit in, or did not fit in exactly the way I wanted to or thought I should. I can see where those feelings might lead one to try all the harder to fit in. For me, though, I started longing for something else, something more eternal than fitting in with this group or that. I started on the journey before even taking a step.

The “hero’s journey” is a mythical story…

… like Jason and the Argonauts. It is a the biblical story of Abraham (who, when he heard God’s voice telling him to go, simply went, not knowing where he was going). It can be your story. The hero’s journey can be traveled by the one who simply dares to be different and embraces it.

Maybe I am still on that journey. I do not want to see the world exactly like those around me. At the same time, the more I see things from the Outside, the more I see that we are all made of the same stuff, the more alike we all are, the more connected I feel to all mankind. I am an Outsider.

There is freedom on the outside. There is adventure. There is danger of course. We make discoveries on the outside and find things insiders never see. Outsiders change the world. Consider what Steve Jobs said in a 1995 interview for Wired:

Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something.

It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things. And the reason they were able to do that was that they’ve had more experiences or they have thought more about their experiences than other people.

Unfortunately, that’s too rare a commodity. A lot of people in our industry haven’t had very diverse experiences.

So they don’t have enough dots to connect, and they end up with very linear solutions without a broad perspective on the problem. The broader one’s understanding of the human experience, the better design we will have.

It seems that people think creativity comes from the inside, but I think creativity comes from the Outside.

But, we do not merely have creativity and success on the Outside. We have deep within the depths of our souls a sense that we are not meant for this world. We are strangers in our own worlds. We are outsiders in our own skins. We cling to the familiar, but the treasure is all on the Outside.

~~~~~~~~ Thinking on a Rock Cliff (Fraley) - Copy

On the outside, you’re free to roam.

On the outside, we found a home.

On the outside, there’s more to see.

On the outside, we choose to be.

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