Don't let anyone engineer who one should be and what one should do!
Muse #263 - We have enough of programming in one's lifetime
I see many pop psychologists pop up on the internet forums, say something they consider as a deep resounding message, and then walk away without dialogue. And these quotes go around with likes and sharing and people debating them on their own.
Here is one from Adam Grant that I read about recently and I am extremely intrigued by these quotes - I found that there is an extraordinary amount of embedded biases in them in the guise of propagating some messages around.
Take a look at the following and let’s then dissect them one by one:
Meaning is about making a difference, not having an audience. Why should any meaning make a difference? It does not have to. We make a multitude of meaning each day. And it does not have to make any difference. And what is wrong with having an audience. The context matters, how can one make such a context-free statement?
It is better to be valued by a few than to be known by many - Again, similar to the previous one, why? Few, many how does it matter? What makes it better to be valued by a few than many? Another blind to reality statement.
Your contribution is not the scope of your reach. It is the depth of your impact. Contributions need neither reach nor impact, though both might be useful in some contexts. My take would be to ask to not bother with neither its reach nor its impact, but to do the work - the work might speak for itself if it is worth speaking up.
Your legacy is not how many footprints you leave. It’s how long they last. This has become a theme. The biases. The people who really do the work neither worry about footprints they leave nor how long they last. Others see the footprints and some last around for a long time though that was never the intent. Take Socrates as an example, he did not even believe in writing down these now labeled Socratic techniques to leave around - but his works have stood the test of time and more people in the current generation know him than nearly 2,500 years ago. None of it was probably intended. It just happened.
Hopefully one sees a recurring theme. Engineering the audience. Do this, don’t do that. This is better than that. Etc., etc., etc.
Make a difference. Don’t have an audience. Be valued by a few. Don’t go after many. Focus your contribution on its impact. Don’t focus on footprints. But do focus on how long they last. A never-ending list of programming others.
Funny stuff. This programming of humans. Why can’t we just let them be whatever heck they want to be and do? And some work of some people some of the time will stick and make it tick. The rest not so much. And that is okay. And some might not put in any work. And that is okay too. And some of the best work might never be known or make it around at all. And that is okay too. Or who cares whether it is okay, not okay or a spectrum in-between? Even okay is a bias.