For the past nine months or so, I’ve been seeing a therapist specializing in mindfulness. Perhaps the best decision I’ve ever made.
One of the things we spend a lot of time talking about is resistance – everyone has their own quirks and issues, and that’s one of mine. The tendency to hit the brakes when faced with something difficult or unpleasant. Set it to the side, avoid, wait. Obviously, this is a bad tendency, and only serves to make things worse.
One idea that has come up is the relationship between resistance and suffering. Suffering is the ultimate mindstate we are looking to avoid. There’s this equation which has really stuck with me :
Pain x Resistance = Suffering
In other words, it is possible (and typical) to start with a relatively painless situation and then amp it up, and multiply the ultimate suffering by resisting it.
I can’t tell you the number of things in my life that I have resisted and avoided which then ultimately ended up being no big deal. And the ultimate suffering was more a result of the resistance the the pain itself.
The mindfulness approach to resistance is to instead turn and face whatever thing your avoiding. Just recognize it and be with it. I’ve thought of this before as “living in the fall line“. The opposite of living in a mode of resistance.
Another way of thinking about it is as throughput. Moving items (projects, emails, bills, whatever) through, rather than letting them like up. Resistance is like arterial plaque. Throughput is the result of keeping things healthy and flowing.
It’s a good feeling.
It’s been a fascinating week to watch the war between Uber and the De Blasio administration play out. Not surprisingly, Uber ended up carrying the day using a combination of its dedicated user base and its sophisticated political machine. This is yet another very early round in what will be a long and hard war… Read more »
On my way to SF this week, I stopped over in Boulder, visited Techstars and then had dinner with Brad Feld, where got to talking about the dynamics inside and around venture firms. He has obviously been doing this for a long time, and for me, less of a long time (3-1/2 yrs at this point)…. Read more »
Two weeks ago at USV’s annual CEO Summit, Muneeb Ali from OneName explained the blockchain in a way I hadn’t heard before, and which I thought was really helpful: the blockchain is time. That’s a somewhat abstract way of saying it, so more concretely we could say that: The blockchain is database of verified public timestamps. Every… Read more »
Here’s a slide from 2009, when we were convincing transit agencies to open up their data, and then later building MTA BusTIme: And here’s one from yesterday, from a talk I gave at the Shift Conference (blog post to follow w more on that):
Today at USV, we are hosting our 4th semiannual Trust, Safety and Security Summit. Brittany, who manages the USV portfolio network, runs about 60 events per year — each one a peer-driven, peer-learning experience, like a mini-unconference on topics like engineering, people, design, etc. The USV network is really incredible and the summits are a big… Read more »
I’ve spent the better part of the last six years thinking about where web standards come from. Before joining USV, I was at the (now retired) urban tech incubator OpenPlans, where, among other things, we worked to further “open” technology solutions, including open data formats and web protocols. The two biggest standards we worked on were GTFS,… Read more »
Maybe we all live in the email anti-Lake Wobegon, where we’re all “worse than average” at email, in our own minds. One problem with email is the giant guilt pile it creates — the psychological consisting of the number of emails you know are in there that you have forgotten about, ignored, or missed. My guess is… Read more »
Photo: Rudy (Loïs) Pignot I am in Paris this week for OuiShareFest, and spoke yesterday morning during the opening session. OuiShareFest is in its third year as a large international gathering of folks interested in the peer/collaborative/sharing/networked society, put on by the community organization OuiShare. The topic of this year’s fest is “lost in transition”, and… Read more »
A while back, I wrote about Anti-Workflow Apps — apps that solve problems for you without forcing you to adopt a workflow that you may never fully be able to adopt. Workflow apps (CRMs, to-do lists, project management tools) are super hard to drive adoption towards, as everyone works differently and really resists this kind… Read more »
John Oliver has become the most important voice in tech policy (and maybe policy in general). His gift, his talent, his skill: turning wonky policy language that makes people glaze over into messages that people connect to and care about it. Last fall, he did took what may be the most boring, confusing term ever,… Read more »
I couldn’t sleep last night, and was up around 4am lurking on Twitter. I came across an old friend, Elizabeth Green, who is an accomplished and awesome education writer — you’ve probably read some of her recent NYT mag cover stories, and it turns out she has a new book out, Building a Better Teacher…. Read more »
A few weeks ago as I was walking down Beacon Street in Brookline, I happened upon something amazing: The Society of Grownups. The Society of Grownups is a self-proclaimed “grad school for adulthood”, the idea is to give people the tools they need to manage their grown up lives. The primary focus is on financial… Read more »
Last week, a friend passed away after a relatively brief but intense battle with lung cancer. I didn’t know Paul well, but he was very close with a few of my very close friends, and I had spent enough time with him to understand that he was special: he had a light inside of him. A… Read more »
This is the latest post in a series on Regulation 2.0 that I’m developing into a white paper for the Program on Municipal Innovation at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Yesterday, the Boston Globe reported that an Uber driver kidnapped and raped a passenger. First, my heart go out to the passenger, her friends… Read more »
As part of my series on Regulation 2.0, which I’m putting together for the Project on Municipal Innovation at the Harvard Kennedy School, today I am going to employ a bit of a cop-out tactic and rather than publish my next section (which I haven’t finished yet, largely because my whole family has the flu… Read more »
This is part 3 in a series of posts I’m developing into a white paper on “Regulation 2.0” for the Program on Municipal Innovation Harvard Kennedy School of Government. For many tech industry readers of this blog, these ideas may seem obvious, but they are not intended for you! They are meant to help bring… Read more »
For the past several years, I have been an advisor to the Data-Smart City Solutions initiative at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. This is a group tasked with helping cities consider how to govern in new ways using the volumes of new data that are now available. An adjacent group at HKS is the… Read more »
I wrote earlier this week about how life is, generally, hard. There’s no question about that. One of my favorite things about the Internet, and probably the most exciting thing about working in venture capital, is being around people who are working to re-architect the world to make hard things easier. And by easier, I… Read more »
That’s a pretty depressing and fatalistic post title, but I actually mean it in a positive and encouraging way. Let me explain. It’s easy to go about your life, every day, feeling like everyone else has their shit together and that the things you struggle with are unique to you. But then, when you get… Read more »