detox and retox

Spending Bank Holiday Weekend down by the sea with my family has eased the slight sense of fatigue that was building in me.

My new career path and the extracurricular writing that I’ve been indulging in have meant a lot of hours on my laptop. It’s an obvious point but the creeping sense of deep tiredness that that involves had maybe got to me. I’d also had a stressful week with a chunk of work to get through where quality was not a minor consideration.

It’s been a relief that these efforts have not been wasted!

In pursuit of some of my longterm goals, I’ve been researching and participating in different online communities. I’ve tested ideas and learned various tools through interacting with strangers on the internet, curated groups of people assembled around a principle or a purpose.

This is partly what Seth Godin would call ‘finding your tribe’, partly it’s just a matter of utility. I’m this and want answers to that. I found a book cover community that offered total strangers’ feedback on your book cover designs. This is obviously based around aa functional purpose.

Radreads, a community I like very much, is ostensibly based around financial health but has become more of a general life optimisation community, charismatically led by its creator Khe Hy.

Now my experiences of Radreads have only been positive but it’s interesting to see how our constant need for a guru is facilitated by these communities. Either it’s around a principle from which gurus emerge, like the FIRE movement and Mr Money Moustache, based around financial prudence and early retirement, or it could be based around a person and their general teachings, a true cult of personality. Khe certainly has a warm personality and engaging manner that endears him to his followers.

Even the word ‘follower’ encourages the guru approach come to think of it…

To run one of these requires quite a constant effort at production. To grow an audience requires a constant output. To progress in anything really, requires a constant output rather than herculean bursts of activity followed by long periods of enforced indolence.

Whether this bodes well for me or not is up for debate. Physically I was always a sprinter - there’s a lot of evidence that this athletic mindset is now a better approach to knowledge work too. Plan, sprint, rest, repeat. The fact is though, that if you want to facilitate a group of people, you need to be on it. You need to be available and providing things for them to think about. Long bouts of indolence are not really an option.

Ben Mercer