When you think back to college, what do you remember with the greatest fondness?
For me, there are a number of wonderful memories including dancing at college mixers, great professors, the beauty of the campus, and staying up all night talking about ideas.
Yes, I was one of those students who loved to think about, write about, and study ideas, and I had a nice group of college friends who similarly enjoyed conversations about changing the world and making things better.
About a decade after college, I was sad to find that many of my friends who enjoyed the all night conversations no longer made time for that speak, and there was, at the time, a dearth of support for that kind of endeavor. And then, the Internet happened, and now, once again, I have an avenue of endless idea talk, creativity, and debate. It's awesome.
In fact, this morning when I took a look at my thread, the ideas were so deep and rich, I had to put them on hold. Some threads that I enjoy are real stretches for me. The posts take lots of energy and investment to analyze, understand, and apply. Other threads are at my just-right stretch level. They're easy to read and offer ready application for me. Then there are those that aren't as useful to me any more as I've mastered that stage; I already employ those ideas.
In a sense, this idea share and think has all kinds of stages and levels, and at different times we're ready for different conversations. Many of my friends probably stopped wanting to talk all night a decade after college because they were busy nursing and caring for babies and young children. The real time needs and responsibilities are rich at that stage.
This post is rambling, but this morning, a beautiful morning, I sat out on my small sunlit deck and stared into the trees. A pileated woodpecker was hopping up a 100-foot tree. Hop, hop, hop, stopping now and then to peck and eat. Similarly, as we engage with ideas, we move up with understanding, analyses, and application. Early ideas mastered are much like the base of the tree, and big ideas that still stretch us are similar to the tree's swaying crest, the part of the tree that's centered in the blue sky, clouds, night darkness, pouring rain, and/or sunlight. Like that beautiful pileated woodpecker, we travel up and down the idea continuum, returning to the base--ideas we mastered early that lay the foundation of our efforts, and reaching high into the treetops to stretch our minds and practice. We stop now and then to reach in, debate, and possibly embrace new think, and then we return to the action of application and seeking other, new, worthy ideas.
This readily available stream of new ideas, a continuum from foundation think to new perception, is changing the world as we know it. No longer are people locked away from the all night talks and debate of college days, instead the world of ideas, conversation, and debate is readily available at any time any day. As some say, it is the democratization of information. It's giving voice to all from young to old, needy to wealthy, multiple races, cultures, religions, and men/women.
How do you partake in this amazing worldwide, 24-7 conversation? How does it impact your work?
Like the pileated woodpecker, we're traversing our world in multiple ways seeking sustenance, survival, and enrichment. Today, more so than years past, our travels are a greater combination of real time and online, and that, I believe, is changing what's possible and what we do.
I have endless potential for all night "talks" now, and those "talks" are enriching the life I lead and the work I do. For that, I'm grateful.