Jakob's Journal

Anecdotes and ideas to provoke thought and build a better perspective.
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People skills

The need for specific skill sets fluctuates with the overall need of the economy. At scale, that need has been digital skills.

It’s no wonder millennials face a roller coaster of emotions when deciding on ‘developing a set of skills’ or ‘finding a career’. We’re in a transition phase.

A few generations ago (and still today), going into Tech was all the rage. “We need coders and programmers!” People doing people things was on the decline. After all, robots and machines will soon be able to do people things, too.

To the computer flocked an entire workforce.

Now, I’m no computer geek, and thus, I rejoice.

A gaping void exists in the workforce where once it was overcrowded. Our world now needs more People People, for the first time in a while.

Learn to communicate a difficult or complex message, empathize with emotions, strategize, inspire the people around you, and compete. Being human sets us apart in the digital age!

Asking questions

“A prudent question is one half of wisdom.” – Francis Bacon

To consider, act, and show care for our current and future selves is a prudent way of thinking.

To improve, we start by admitting that we do not know all that there is to know (and generally speaking, never will).
That admittance is the cost of entry.
Then, we must ask questions in order to learn.

[“But, what questions should I be asking?]
Ahh. Great question. In fact, that’s the best first question!

After all, wisdom (or purpose for that matter), does not fall from trees and bop us on the noggin, despite the story Mr. Newton might tell.

For each of us, our own path. A chocolatier might ask about sourcing ingredients or about a new baking process. The gardener, about planting seasons and soil maintenance. So, first, we ask “What questions should I ask?”, and that will probably lead us down the path of, “What am I really aiming to accomplish here?”

That right there is how a multitude of great stories begin.
With a prudent question.

Reward Thyself

Why is it that when we reward ourselves, we are almost always choosing to do things that are only a reward in the short-term?

Good workout today?
Reward thyself: Cake and Ice Cream
Result: must commit to a grueling workout tomorrow (one we probably won’t do).

Finished project at work?
Reward thyself: 12 pack of Busch Light
Result: Unproductive next few days, stress about being behind on the next project.

When we intend to ‘reward’ ourselves for doing something well, maybe we’d want to choose the route of compounding returns.

Something of lasting value.
Reward thyself with ANOTHER thing worth being proud of. Be good to you.

Flying with feet

To fly, we need wings.
To begin to fly, feet!
Think, every flying thing has feet or wheels, yes?
Birds, planes, insects, people with jetpacks.

Thus he cried,

“I traded my feet for wings! 
No doubt a mistake, but why?
Without feet I can’t get to running,
Which I MUST in order to fly!”

Creativity is no good by itself, with no action or learning.

All effort and do and order are a waste of time and energy, with no thoughtful reflection to pair it with.

No person embodies all of one or the other, though. And rarely, is our mix of the two, balanced enough to be effective at both. But it’s true, the greatest of our human achievements come from the far end of one spectrum or the other. The eccentrics.

The great balance.

We need both the imaginative spirit of the drunkard artist, AND the staunch discipline of the conservative.

Our synergy is obvious, if only we’d see our roles, and choose to work together.

If you’re a doer, I’d best find a creative and make friends… else you’ll never fly.
If you’re a creative, put down the brush for a minute when the doer finds you… else those wings will be a waste.

Many Worlds

We might be living in too many worlds.


Magically-engaged in a passion project, he hurredly leaves his desk, zips to Whole Foods on a Lime Bike for a to-go box and a 6pm Allegro Americano, then heads without pause to a shared workspace, mingling with other entrepreneurs until the wee-hours of the morning. Wishing the night were longer, he taxiis again back to his high-rise for a few quick hours of sleep. 


Anxiously pushing to finish the shed he’s been contracted to build, he thinks, above all, about his son arriving home from college soon. At home, his wife readies the grill and proudly slips her Eagles jersey on. It’s Monday Night Football, and soon, voices and banter from the whole family will fill their modest 3 bedroom home to enjoy a few too many Bud Lights and endless supply of laughter.


Border collie at his side, he enjoys waking up at 4:45am and strolling a middle-cut path of the road in a quiet, wooded neighborhood with more horses in site than people. Contemplating clearing and tilling, for a market garden, some recently purchased land, he enjoys the moon and stars from the back-end of the dark night.


Each in their own world, like so many others, these men might find a consistent joy.

Adding a social app or the national news to any of these paintings, and their nostolgic perspectives might fade.

Our minds aren’t often capable (yet) of comprehending the overload of environmental stimulation that we allow it access to.

Inter-connectiveness draws us in, then it ties us up in a knot.

It could possibly be that our mental capacity has not biologically adapted yet to be able to understand the complexities of EVERY regional culture + weather pattern, physical environment + city size + social norm + family dynamic + unwritten rule … the list goes endlessly on.

It’s ok to have your world, and to let other’s have theirs as well.

Before criticizing someone for their lack of personal diversity or cultural understanding, it’s worth considering that less than 40 years ago, talking to someone in another city meant writing a singular letter and waiting days or weeks before hearing back. That bought us a little time to reflect and maybe comprehend another’s experience.

While our physiology has been adapting for millions of years to outside stressors, our minds are trying to go from living within a few mile radius village setting to being able to empathize with the entire planet in the matter of 40 years.

Most of our minds are already on overload.

Be patient with one another.

We’ll catch up, but it’ll take some time.

Introvert AND Extrovert

Redefining our realities is a common theme in our digital world.

Imagine taking every social construct we know to be true, and duplicating it with a  digital reality. Each platform like a new dimension. We can be whomever we choose to be, and not one world needs to have likened carry over.

Each of us, existing in multiple dimensions, multiple realities, with multiple versions of ourself at once. All, however, with a singular, all-knowing mind.

The real life one.
The Business Facebook Brand one.
The World of Warcraft one.
The Instagram one.
The Twitch one.
The I’m-gonna-catfish-somebody one.
The Music.ly one.
The anonymous-shit-poster one.

Each taking on different character roles, thus making it possible, for the first time ever, to be both an introvert and an extrovert at the same time, simultaneously.

Feeling schizophrenic lately?

schizophrenia definition

It’s no wonder we have identity crisis’.

We don’t know who we are. And uncertainty, of all things, causes the default response mode to our limbic systems (fight or flight) to perceive uncertainty as a threat.

Defensive.
Aggressive.
Depressed.
Anxious.

No composure.
Remember, it’s ok to role play from time to time, but don’t forget to bring it back to real reality more often than not.

nineeleven

It’s not what it once was.
Nothing ever is.

I think back to the tragedy that caught the Nation’s attention 17 years ago, and the way everything stood still, collectively suspended, in awe. Together, in awe.

Maybe the last time we stood collectively about anything.
Neighbors that hadn’t spoken in years, sharing tears.
Family who’d procrastinated making phone calls, chatted all night.
Games stopped.
Drama stopped.
Walmart probably didn’t close.

Schools stopped teaching (or testing).
Children didn’t stop learning, though.
I was a child in 2001—a 5th grader.
I learned a great many things that day. There’s a lot I still have not learned.

Are we wiser than our former selves?
Who was the enemy?
That fear, for months following, made every other small issue disappear.
How could anyone do this to innocent people?
We are innocent people, but we are not AN innocent people.
What will it take to unite us again? 

Many of our enemies are faceless, big and small. A great many heroes emerged that day and for years after, many of whom are also faceless.

To the faceless, uncommon humans, the hero sort,

Thank you for your courage. Thank you for freedom.

To anybody living courageously in the name of something truly just, at any time, thank you.

Our Intellectual Paralysis

The sort of person that can’t wait to learn something new,
to expand my mind into uncharted territory, that’s me!

Spending all day thinking about thinking,
and toying with the ready-to-pop potential that each author boasts,
I can’t help but buy the book.

All the hours of the day
I spend thinking about all the new things that
I could be learning.

And so I sit. And so they sit, those books, as heaps of useless words,
like a junkyard of 8-tracks and CD’s in a world of iPhones.

It’s a wretched, frightful thing to own a vast library
of books,
most of them never opened.

The thirst for knowledge,
That chalice of existential meaning,
Is more like the Holy Grail than any of us would prefer.
The path is rugged and daunting.
The commitment, great.
The detail, mundane.
The time, tiresome.

The chance, the lesson, the reward?

is Areté

Pick up the next book you see,
and start now.
It’s always worth it.

Jakob's Blog

Anecdotes on Areté, Perspective, Leadership, Education, Communication, Poetry, Book Readings, and other random thought provoking ideas.

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