Notes: Crossroads of Should and Must by Elle Luna

This one felt a little too New Age-y for me, but I respect the work that Elle has done with IDEO, Uber, Mailbox, and her Bulan Project

1. The Crossroads

  • Stefan Sagmeister: The power of time off
    • Job: done from 9-5 for pay
    • Career: system of promotions where rewards are used to optimize behavior
    • Calling: something we feel compelled to do regardless of fame or fortune; the work is the reward
  • What if job == career == calling
    • What if who we are and what we do become the same thing?
    • Work becomes thoroughly autobiographical
  • Two equally appealing but different worlds

    Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray - Rumi

  • Should is how other people want us to live our lives
    • can be innocuous
    • at other times, highly influential systems of thought that pressure and coerce us to live our lives differently
    • Choosing should means choosing to live our life for someone or something other than ourselves
      • The journey can be smooth, rewards can seem clear, options are often plentiful
  • Must is who we are, what we believe, and what we do when we are alone with our truest, most authentic self
    • Saying yes to hard work and constant effort
      • to a journey without road map or guarantees

2. The Origin of Should

  • You have to grow up under someone else’s wing
    • As you grow up, you get to decide how you feel about the worldview you inherited from community, culture, the era in which you were born
  • Danger of living in a world of shoulds from childhood that we have not consciously examined

    The first thing you need to know if you want to escape from prison is that you are in prison. Until you know that, no escape is possible. - Gurdjieff

  • For example
    • You should never...
    • You should always...
    • You should know better than to...
    • You should not...
  • How might we remove should from our lives?
    • Create a list of shoulds starting with the above
    • For each item, ask:
      • Where did you come from?
      • Are you true for me?
      • Do I want to keep holding on to you?
  • Tools to help
    • Enneagram
      • pseudoscience...
    • Empty chair technique
      • Two chairs and an empty room
      • Have a convo with yourself
      • When you sit in first chair, you are Must
        • Part of you that has strong urges, convictions, intuition, and feelings
      • When you sit in second, you are Should
        • Part of you that chooses to live your life in ways that are not congruent with your personal truth
        • How do you feel looking at Should?
    • Snake as sacred symbol for transformation
      • Insides literally outgrowing its outsides
      • Must remove restrictive, outermost layer

Siddhartha stood still and for a moment an icy chill stole over him.He shivered inwardly like a small animal, like a bird or a hare, when he realized how alone he was. He had been homeless for years and had not felt like this. Now he did feel it. Previously, when in deepest meditation, he was still his father’s son, he was a Brahmin of high standing, a religious man. Now he was only Siddhartha, the awakened; otherwise nothing else. He breathed in deeply and for a moment he shuddered. Nobody was so alone as he. He was no nobleman, belonging to any aristocracy, no artisan belonging to any guild and finding refuge in it, sharing its life and language... But he, Siddhartha, where did he belong? Whose life would he share? Whose language would he speak? At that moment, when the world around him melted away, when he stood alone like a star in the heavens, he was overwhelmed by a feeling of icy despair, but he was more firmly himself than ever. That was the last shudder of his awakening, the last pains of birth. Immediately he moved on again and began to walk quickly and impatiently, no longer homewards, no longer to his father, no longer looking backwards. - Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha

3. Must

  • The path to must is a path we create
    • Begins with pathlessness, nothingness

      If you can see your path laid out in front of you step by step, you know it’s not your path. Your own path you make with every step you take. That’s why it’s your path. – Joseph Campbell

  • But what if I don’t know what my must is?
    • How do I find it?
    • What if it changes over time?
    • Does everybody have one?
  • Must does not appear fully formed out of nowhere
    • Begin by doing one small thing daily
  • Some small activities to discover your must
    • Call Mom
      • Nowhere is the essence of must most purely exhibited than in childhood
      • What were you like as a child?
      • What did you enjoy doing?
      • Were you solitary or did you prefer a crowd?
      • Independent or collaborative?
      • Day optimizer or day dreamer?
      • Ask for stories about what you were like as a kid
        • These stories hold the earliest seeds of your must
    • Look within
      • Things I do just for fun
      • If I had one day to pursue some idea, activity, or project, what are the first three things that come to mind?
      • Things you do when you’re procrastinating
      • Fantasies
      • An activity that gives you chills
      • Sights, smells, sounds, or sensations that give you butterflies in you stomach
    • Write your obituary
      • First is life I wanted to have
      • Second is the one I’m headed for
    • Acquire one new skill a month
      • Interested will integrate and cross-pollinate because they have one common element: me
      • Eventually everything connects - Charles Eames
    • Look for patterns - Hang up all the above in a place where the collection can grow and you can see everything all at once - Look for patterns, connections, recurring themes

      The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why. - Mark Twain A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write, if he is to be ultimately at peace with himself. What a man can be, he must be. – Abraham Maslow.

  • I know what my must is - now what?
    • Brain’s defense mechanisms go up
    • Who am I to explore such selfish interests?
    • What if I choose must and make people angry?
    • But what if want to grow within a company I love?
    • How do I explain any of this to my boss?
    • How will I pay the rent? my loans? eat?
    • What if I am the boss?
    • Can I choose MUST with a peer group, friend, colleague, team?
    • What if I can’t grow within a company that I love? What then? Will I let people down?
    • If I want to choose must when do I start?
    • How long is this going to take?
    • How might I find more time in the day?
    • How will I pay rent?
    • Do I have to quit my job?
    • What if I try to find my calling and I don’t find it?
    • What will my peers think? my family? my significant other?
    • How might I best describe my journey to others? What if they don’t understand?
    • How might I create a safe space to explore within my existing reality?
    • How can I find more time?
    • Do my ideas matter?
    • If I want to choose must, do I need anything?
    • How might I balance my MUST with my existing obligations?
  • Four big concerns about achieving a sustainable must:
    • Money
      • T.S. Eliot was also a banker
      • Kurt Vonnegut sold cars
      • Philip Glass didn’t earn a living from making music until he was 42
        • Worked as a plumber and taxi driver
      • Just because you have a job to pay the bills does not make it dirty
      • Decide what’s right for you and your life
      • Don’t take a job that was intended to pay the bills but sucks up all your time and energy
      • Must-have money vs nice-to-have money
        • Is a car nice to have or must-have?
        • Safe place to live?
    • Time
      • If you’re not prioritizing the things you say you care about, consider the possibility that you don’t actually care about these things
      • Knowing what we want is often the hardest part
      • The most effective way of finding must is to find ten minutes
        • It’s romantic to imagine running away from all obligations to focus uninterrupted
          • But it’s more sustainable to make shifts every day within your existing reality
          • Integrate instead of obliterate
      • Examples
        • 20s
          • husband wife duo Ryan and Tina Essmaker started online publication in their 20s. Turned it into full-time, print publication after 3 years (The Great Discontent)
        • 30s
        • Leonard Cohen gave first major performance at 33
        • 40s
          • Julia Child published Mastering the Art of French Cooking at 49
        • 50s
          • Alejandra Cisneros used expertise in sustainable architecture to repair and rebuilt joglos in Bali
        • 60s
          • Laura Ingalls Wilder published first Little House on the Prairie book at 64
        • 70s
          • John Glenn became oldest person to go into space at 77
        • 80s
          • Ginette Bedard ran 12th consecutive marathon at 81, starting at age 69
        • 90s
          • IDEO hired a 90-year old designer
        • 100s
          • Grandma Moses featured on cover of Time at age 100
    • Space
      • Make space
      • When you are in space, you are not available
      • Must needs solitude
        • meditate
        • wash dishes
        • watch moon rise
        • take a walk at the end of the day alone
        • take time each day to feel the sun against your face
    • Vulnerability
      • This is usually when we decide against following our intuition, turning away from that place where nothing is guaranteed
      • Create a “what are you so afraid of” list
        • Is this fear a realistic one?
        • Is it worth designing your life around?
  • Must is too important to be chosen on a whim
    • sustainable
    • built with a sober, calm intention

      Every morning upon awakening, I experience a supreme pleasure: that of being Salvador Dalí, and I ask myself, wonderstruck, what prodigious thing will he do today, this Salvador Dalí. – Salvador Dali

4. The Return

  • Must is a choice you make every single day
  • The complete journey requires that you return to share your must, lift the lives of others

    It’s not enough to reach the treasure, one must bring it back. - Roger Lipsey

  • Compared to design, making art is a solitary effort, with no target audience in mind
    • When does this intersect with the rest of the world?
  • Choosing must feels selfish at first, but you inspire others to choose it to
    • Ties a bit into Scott Adams’ feelings about selfishness

      Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive. - Howard Thurman

https://thetaoofwealth.wordpress.com/2015/08/31/how-to-choose-must-over-should/