Day75 — Vocabulary of Deficiency

How Words Affect Our Minds

October 18th, 2016

Woke up super, super early. The moon was out. The sky black. Stars out. Time to start my jog. Woke up early today because I had an early session with my therapist before my morning class.

Haven’t had a call in a couple weeks. Updated him on some of my social experiments & what I learned from those experiments, mainly the one on asking girls out on dates.

We spent most of the session speaking of the “science,” the “math,” the complexities and simplicities of meeting girls that match.

The key takeaway is this: you tend to not get things that you don’t invest in. Finding someone you love, finding someone you are compatible. This requires investment. This requires intentionality. It’s important to play the game. And for pretty much my whole life, I have been on the sidelines. Leaving love to chance is really risky, might as well be proactive.

Now that I have realized that it is possible for me to get dates, it is all about practice and discovering what you want in a partner. Getting to learn the process of getting to know girls. Foreign territory. Foreign territory.

Quick breakfast. Time for Leap of Faith, my favorite class here at Watson. Today we continued our discussion on hope and explored the mechanics of moving from hopelessness to hopefulness.

Through discussion, we learned that this process is often about perspective. And perspective-changes often shift through contact with a few things. People you trust & love who challenge your assumptions and ask good questions. And contact with rationality. Hopelessness is unsustainable, so as people we have an incredible capacity to grab onto hope. It appears to be an effective strategy for human flourishing.

Moved onto another interesting topic about vocabulary. The main point is simple: the language we use shapes our thought, our perspective. We are handicapped by our own language. So it is really really important to be mindful of that. We used mental illness & mental wellness as our class example, which obviously aligns with the sort of work that I’m currently curious about.

As you can see, the vocabulary of deficiency carries words that are more heavy. More clinical in nature. Language generates categories of thought, which generates professions. In this case, the language perpetuates growth of problem-based industries. Our vocabulary teaches us how to be weak, how to be deficient

What if language had a bias toward positivity? It’s just as possible for language to teach us how to be innovative, how to be hopeful. Language could serve as a powerful, but often overlooked, mechanical solution to deep, societal issues. If we focus on what’s working, what’s healthy then we can generate more professions & organizations of “awesomeness.” Does that make sense? This is important because a lot of social entrepreneurship boils down to language.

We moved onto the topic of self-doubt, a topic that I have explored some in my blog posts. Well, self-doubt is real. Most everyone has it. And it affects you everyday. And yet, we don’t talk about it. We aren’t mindful of it. We aren’t proactive about it. We started by writing down our lists of some of the things that our voices are telling us, check mine below…

Yea, so those are some of my voices. We all shared just one of our voices. And it became really apparent that most of us share doubts, which is comforting, but at the same time, really, really sad! Why do we treat ourselves so poorly?! We do not and would not treat others like this. So why do we treat ourselves like this? It doesn’t make much sense. How incredible would it be if we all stopped treating ourselves like shit?! Like, dang. That would be crazy.

So, how can we transition this kind of self-doubt to something that’s closer to self-efficacy. We will continue this discussion next week. But as a little preview, it’s going to deal with stories, the kind of narratives that we tell ourselves. And so it is ultimately up to us to own our stories, shape our stories, and tell our stories. We are the authors of our past, present, and future. We write our life’s book.

Quick lunch. Walked down to SparkBoulder. Met with Aidan, who is a student entrepreneur and senior at CU-Boulder. We spoke of our projects and explored ideas for how we could support one another. Aidan seems super ambitious, nice, and smart. Glad to work with another and help one another in any way we can.

For the afternoon, I worked on my To-Do list. The highlight of my to-do’s was learning more about FuckUp nights, which is a non-profit organization that hosts events for entrepreneurs to share their failure stories. The organization has done extremely well and I am interested in getting involved by hosting a FuckUp event in Boulder. It would be a fun, creative process and I would learn a lot from the experience. Plus, it obviously really aligns with my interests and the brand of FailUp.

This evening I attended a workshop held by Danny Walsh, a friend & Watson alum who I more than likely have mentioned in a previous post. In his workshop, he spoke about customer discovery & validation. The material was similar to the sort of content I learned down in LSU. How to talk to customers and validate your assumptions.

But it was still helpful and relevant to attend, since this area is still a problem for me. I don’t have a validated solution or a validated business model. So more interviews, more discovery, more learning. Always more, never ends. Feel like I’m going in circles, but hopefully I have a feeling that I’m going at least a little bit North, even if immediate results are not tangible.

Long day, definitely feeling tired considering how early I woke up this morning. But maybe this will help me get into a better sleep schedule. Would love to go to bed around 10:00 instead of 11:30. Since the Watson scholar trip, my sleeping schedule has been about an hour later than it was prior to the trip.

It’s past 9:30PM on a Tuesday and I’m currently still at Spark, will head back to the park soon, may do a little more work then head to bed!

SOCIAL EXPERIMENT OF THE DAY — Ask 10 strangers for a hug

5 Yes’s. 5 No’s. It was a cold day so I was wearing brown pants and a brown sweatshirt, I maybe didn’t look like the safest guy around but I always smiled and had a friendly tone. My question was simple, “Hey! Could I have a hug?” Very different responses from people. Some, very happy to give me a hug. Definitely brightened their day and they left with a smile. Others, confused. Some, really caring. A couple, they were in a rush to get somewhere. Distribution between guys and girls was fairly even, can’t remember exactly. Anyway, solid experiment. I’m glad that I got some hugs.