Technology

The only thing you have left these days is endless opportunity

 

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We are on a mission to fight anti-intellectualism. Ignorance is a choice. Back our campaign HERE.

 

All these damn gadgets and gizmos are making people stupid. Get your head out of your phone and see the world around you they told me.

One deployment I read every book that Malcolm Gladwell ever wrote, and about two dozen others, on a Kindle that fit into the cargo pocket of my utilities by light of an elastic LED headlamp because we lived at night. When I got back, I liked Gladwell on Facebook. Years later, Facebook told me he did an interview with some guy named Tim Ferriss on something called a podcast. I downloaded that podcast for free on my phone while I sat at a red light on my way to work. And I listened to it seconds later. I listened for two hours, in my car, to and from work.

I learned what Gladwell ate for breakfast and who Tyler Cowen was. And that Gladwell had his own podcast. I listened to it and learned everything about the UC college system and something called the human capitalization rate (one of the most interesting things I’ve ever learned) and what happens when rich people give to rich colleges. I learned about the Mennonite faith and the first female Prime Minister of Australia. And the best way to shoot a foul shot, as long as you don’t mind looking silly.

Years ago my son was diagnosed with Autism. I was depressed. A friend of mine shared a commencement speech on Facebook that an author named George gave at his university. It was a moving message. And it helped pull me up from my funk a bit. I liked him on Facebook. Some time later, Facebook told me he had written an article on a presidential candidate for a magazine. So I read it and I was inspired again. I dug out his contact info from an old friend and sent him an email to tell him I appreciated his work and that it had inspired mine. And I shared some of mine with him in a link on an email. It took five minutes. He wrote back the next day and told me I might be on to something. And to keep going. And I kept going.

Back to that Feriss guy.

I subscribed to his podcast by clicking one button and searched his entire catalog at that same red light. He had someone named BJ Miller on. Miller started a different kind of hospice for terminally ill patients that focused on feeling the world around you until you couldn’t, no sooner. My mom died of ALS. In hospice. It was horrible. What Miller told me as I sat in traffic on my way to work was that it shouldn’t be that way. He told me about his different way. And then I realized how palliative end of life care is very similar to parenting severely impaired special needs kids, like my son. And then I realized something needed to be done to help people like my family continue to feel the world until they couldn’t. Because it’s hard for us to do it on our own. Too much of it is pain. Like dying. So I started a non-profit corporation Care For Us. I built the website for free on wordpress.com with the help of a 15 minute learning module on HTML coding from Khan Academy.

Here is our site.  Go there. Support that too if you can. We were up and running and helping people in 90 days. Check out the logo. I chose it from one of 80 designs 50 graphic designers competed to give me on a sight called 99designs.com. It took a week, most of which was reviewing the amazing work people sent me from all over the world.

At my day job, yes everything else is in the margins, my company gave all of us a free membership to a meditation app called Headspace. I downloaded it on my phone by pressing three buttons and using my thumbprint to verify it was me. And every day after I park my car, and turn off my morning podcast, I sit in the parking garage and complete a guided meditation study for ten minutes. On my phone. It’s changed my life.

Mornings are for podcasts (Tyler Cowen, Tim Ferriss, Ezra Kline, Stephen Dubner, Malcolm Gladwell etc.) and meditation. The ride home is for the five books a month I burn through on Audible. Which gives me free books to download in 20 seconds for my membership with Amazon that gives me free shipping with things I can buy from my phone with one click. It helps that I have a long commute. Which got shorter when WAZE told me how to beat the traffic every day.

And the blog I started, for free, with my thoughts and all the information in the history of the world at my fingertips and 30 minutes worth of web design on wordpress.com, had a million and a half people read it last year. It got so big I had to start an LLC. I used Legal Zoom. 15 minutes. You’re reading that blog now.

I’m asking for your funding to grow it more through my Kickstarter campaign HERE.

Because in 2017, you have to run away from knowledge and capability on purpose. And all this damn technology and these gadgets are giving us, is nothing less than endless opportunity. Ignoring all of it in the name of whatever it is you believe, is dangerous.

As Seth Godin, who I found when someone retweeted on Twitter, said:

“That’s the true danger of anti-intellectualism. While it’s foolish to choose to be stupid, it’s cultural suicide to decide that insights, theories and truth don’t actually matter. If we don’t care to learn more, we won’t spend time or resources on knowledge.

We can survive if we eat candy for an entire day, but if we put the greenmarkets out of business along the way, all that’s left is candy.”

Information is everywhere these days. And it comes at you fast. But you are in control of what you choose to pay attention to. I’m not going to feel bad any more about looking down on those who choose to spend their precious mind space on cable news or garbage click bate. Because they’re vote counts just as much mine and they’re not working hard enough at earning it. And they’re hurting our country.

You used to be able to say that they just didn’t know any better with a straight face. No more. Not knowing any better is a choice. Ignorance is a choice. Fight it like our future depends on it. Because in democracy, it does.

We are on a mission to fight anti-intellectualism. Ignorance is a choice. Back our campaign HERE.

9 replies »

  1. Great post, Sean. Happy to chip in, but your Kickstarter links aren’t working for me, and a search on the KS site yielded no results…FYI.

    Like

  2. I seriously put your post to work this week! I downloaded Headspace, found a couple blogs that interested me (and actually started following them, downloaded Audible and Overdrive, and have finished one book and started another. Thanks for the tips Sean!

    Liked by 1 person