Finding Balance & Purpose: II
My most popular article is the first one I published on Medium: Finding balance & purpose. Unfortunately, regardless of the effort, I lost it again. This article is the story of what I learned and how I redefined it. Suggesting you revisit the first article of this series before reading this article.
A spinner gets its balance from moving around a single point of focus… constant movement is what gives the spinner its balance… The point of focus should be on your purpose in life, combined with your priorities. If you see balance as a spinner, the only thing you need to learn is knowing when to pick it up, as the spinner will eventually stop spinning and fall… — Finding balance & purpose
In the middle of the pandemic, I decided to quit my job (what I wrote when leaving). Then, 6-months later decided to get a divorce from a marriage with two small children. If work-life balance is seen as a spinner and the key is to know when to pick it up, I picked it up, didn’t find it within me to get it to spin it again, and just threw the spinner away.
After enough pain, searching for a path, reflection, gratitude, and practicing my preferred art form, I found purpose again. Refactored, reduced, and refined into two simple words, only to realize it doesn’t matter.
The world doesn’t make sense, so why should I paint pictures that do? — P.Picasso
I’m now free to NOT obsess about my purpose and forget it.
This article pulls together all my previous writing into one narrative. Going through all my publications is meant to be a “Marvel experience,” with multiple timelines and stories coming into a final endgame. My grandfather, an avid family historian, told me every generation should write their own story. So this is my way of writing mine.
Additionally, some stories get personal and dabble with what many deem private. That is why I choose to write lengthy stories. To truly grasp what I’m trying to convey, you need to immerse yourself. You cannot read without attempting to understand. If you don’t understand, you will never feel. If you don’t feel, you won’t have a chance to form a sense of compassion. If you don’t have compassion, you’ll miss out on what makes us human and life worth living.
I argue that the type of feeling I’m after can only be achieved while reading, instead of consuming any other form of art. Therefore, this piece aims to oppose today's content that is supposed to be fast to consume. Additionally, it seeks to oppose getting to know a person via a few pictures and a bio.
This piece does not argue that getting to know someone is better than doing so in person, but between social media and the written word, I choose to reveal myself to the world by writing stories. Albiet who am I kidding? This is merely a different way of writing a biography, a collection of memoirs, or a blog. There is nothing much novel about it.
Nonetheless, the point I’m trying to make: is that a picture can SAY more than 1000 words, but it cannot make you FEEL 1000 feelings like 100000-word-story you immerse yourself in can make you feel. I’m an emotional thinker. To understand me, you need to feel with me, and if you let yourself feel, you might find yourself in the process.
Let’s fall down the rabbit hole, together.
Create a positive ripple.
- Tony Hsieh Instagram bio
Why I write
“Don’t try to change the world, find something that you love. Do it everyday and eventually the world will change” — Macklemore, lyrics in “Growing in Up”
Writing in the English language is my preferred form of art. When I practice my preferred form of art, I feel like I have a soul. It’s my craft, but it doesn’t mean I aim to make a living out of it, as it is just something I love to do.
Don’t Bend; Don’t Water It Down; Don’t Try to Make It Logical; Don’t Edit Your Own Soul According to the Fashion — Franz Kafka
My personal stories are merely a source for my art, sharing them my form of therapy, as writing is one of many tools to deliver on my purpose. By sharing these stories, I hope to serve as the point of reflection for those in need of it and those who feel lost, and for people striving for a better future to know that if you walk with me, you never walk alone.
If you don’t like your story then rewrite that shit — The internet
The story below is my writing narrative as I choose to write it today because life is a draft. Writing your lifes’ story is never done, and it’s always a matter of perception. This notion is the first reason I choose to write my personal stories on Medium as the label on all stories says “XX minutes so far,” meaning the stories are always up for editing. The second reason is I believe in Medium’s reason for existence;
To deepen understanding of the world and spread ideas that matter.
— As shared by the CEO of Medium when signing up.
Note: Medium may pose some limitations on how many articles you can read within a month as a free user. If you want to read all my writing and feel like supporting the made an effort, you can sign-up as a member through this link. Will grant me half of the fee and I’ll invest it into my children’s future.
- “Only leave until tomorrow, what you are willing to die leaving left undone” — I set something in motion with the goal of living a life without regret, by not leaving things undone. — L.I.F.E. exercise.
- “Truth is a bully we all pretend to like” — Regardless of taking actions for the right reasons, I couldn’t do the self-reflection exercise. The guilt and shame I felt trying to go through the writing process while we were going through our first marital crisis were overwhelming. — A father Pride & Joy
- “I am a strange loop” — Contemplated ending our marriage, but to not repeat the same patterns in life in an unwanted way, we decided to try to work things out.—The Landscape of my life: a snippet of a biography.
- “Start with the end in mind” — Besides, the mother of my children deserves better, and I couldn’t imagine facing my children as adults if we didn’t try. — Advice about parenting from the entrepreneurial world
- “I love you more than life because life is not worth living without love” — It was hard trying, but at times things were good. However, work did not give me more energy than it took. So, after spending a week in terrible conditions, I decided to quit if returning to work felt the same way. — A letter to my previous future employer
- “Art is a lie that enables us to realize the truth”— A lot of uncertainty and returned to the fact I love writing. — What the 15-year-old me already knew and what the 30+-year-old-me has learned since.
- “Judge people by the size of their heart” — Regardless of the uncertainty, there were a lot of opportunities, and I found myself helping a friend who had been there for me when I needed it. Of course, one of my ways of helping was writing his story. — The small things that matter.
- “Gratitude is the healthiest human emotion. It’s the opposite of loneliness” — Additionally, I took the time to write about past experiences. Practicing gratitude in reflection. — A letter to my people: II
- “There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come, and nothing more ubiquitly pervasive than an idea whose time won’t go” — I wanted to express my ideas about topics of interest through gratitude;
— Leadership cannot be defined, or can it?
— The difference between leadership and management
— Air, Water, and Food — Analogy for thinking about organizational metrics
- “Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working” — After enough practice, I found flow. — The Landscape of my life
- “Doing the right thing doesn’t always come with relief. Doing the wrong thing does not always come with grief”— However, it wasn’t enough, and I understood that our marriage wasn’t doing either of us any good. — When to play the game of life as if it’s a 2nd-person game.
- “For the one I hope to die with” — It wasn’t as much about getting a divorce as it was realizing we may not spend the rest of our lives together as a couple, but we could still be friends and great parents to our children. — All of me Loves all of you.
- “The only way out of hell is through it” — Regardless of the sound reasoning for breaking up, I fell down the rabbit hole. After six sleepless nights, I couldn’t see past the next day. Even the next hour was a struggle — A letter to my son: I
- “Writing is my favorite form of therapy” — My friends and family pulled me out of the hole. I SPENT TIME WRITING when I couldn’t make decisions past a day or week. — A year of rhymes and poems
- “One life to live, two eyes to see the beauty in it…” — Blessed as I am, I have the role models to give me a sense of direction and friends to carry me when I couldn’t. — The Landscape of my life: My Grandfather.
- “It’s the light in you that lights my way” — I found my way by reflecting my way forward. — A letter to my people: III
- “The world is not black and white, it’s a million shades of gray, and sometimes we forget it’s also full of colors”— I’ve come to realize that my reason for doing things has always been part of my narrative, but I couldn’t see it until now.
— A letter to my people: I
— The scarcest resource in today’s business world is human capital, but for how long?
This narrative brings me to how I found purpose again and, after finding it, why I can now forget it. I appreciate that my storytelling might be interpreted as intense. Know that I do not take myself all too seriously, this is for me a work of art, not a bible.
Sometimes writing is just an art and has no other meaning than existing, avoking a feeling in our inner worlds.
Sometimes, it can change a broken world with just a few simple words
— Yours truly
The axis focal point is your priorities as it gives you the ability to spin without wobbling, and the point of focus is your purpose — Finding balance & purpose
If you’ve followed my story so far, I couldn’t set my spinner to spin because I felt like a hypocrite regarding my priorities. They were for a long time, 1. Family, 2. People, 3. Product, 4. Finances
Putting “Family” first was not something people could say I’ve done given divorce or if you’d look at the relationship I had with my childhood family in early adulthood. Additionally, I didn’t have a specific product to concern myself with anymore, nor do I believe I will constantly have one during my lifetime. Furthermore, my relationship with finances has never been a personal concern, as much as it has been so for others because if I need money I always know how to make more of it if need be. Hence, I had to find a new way to express my priorities;
Learning — By learning as much as possible, about as many things as possible, you battle ignorance, and ignorance breeds fear, fear breeds hate, hate makes life sour, and is the opposite of what makes life beautiful. Additionally, learning allows you to become the best in the world at what you do, and that has the ability to give you not only financial freedom, but spiritual freedom unlike any other means of gaining wealth.
“if you’re not learning you’re not living, so live to learn and you’ll learn to live” — Yours truly
People — If your expertise doesn’t cut it, you should find people who can help you. Others are also more likely to help you if you give them a helping hand first. Furthermore, products and organizations don’t build themselves. People build them, so take care of your people before any operational problems. Additionally, we don’t become ourselves despite other people, we become who we are because of others.
“We are, therefore I am” — An interpretation of the African pro-verb umbuntu.
Health — Finally, if you can’t help the people around you, their loved ones may be able to do so, and the same goes for you. Thus, it would be best if you always took care of the relationships vital to you before taking care of anything else.
“Life is not about the destination, nor the journey. It’s who you get to travel with” — Snoopy
Why highlight relationships before physical health? Because there is nothing deadlier in this world than loneliness. According to studies, Loneliness is as lethal as smoking 15 cigarettes a day and is a pervasive feeling found in all age groups. It’s even unhealthier than obesity.
I know what it feels like to be alone, even if other people surround you. I know exactly how devastating it is to lose relationships that define you. Additionally, the social pain of deliberately cutting such a relationship equals having to cut off a body part, and the feelings of guilt and loss that follows can be all-consuming.
This understanding brings us to my definition of my purpose.
The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away — P.Picasso
Finding Purpose: Curing loneliness
Waived my story like a red thread is the sense of loneliness and the desire to cure it. It’s always been there, but not even I have been able to see it. It just pours out of me when I write like the ending of A letter to my people: I
Even if I couldn’t articulate it at the time, I always hoped that anyone who interacted with the organization would feel… whatever your quest might be in terms of a better future, you wouldn’t feel alone.
The way I saw my job as “President” regarding that of Marianne (being the CEO) was to ensure she didn’t feel alone, as Horowitz describes being a CEO as the loneliest job in the world.
When I was as old as you I felt alone and felt alone ever since, until I realized all I need to not feel alone is myself. Because I hold all the memories of my loved ones, they live in me and are thus always with me.
Furthermore, my previous purpose definition, “helping individuals, teams, and organizations be the best that they can be by inspiring action,” started to feel too long and distant. It was also very tedious to explain. It needed to change.
Inspired by my heroes Bill Campbell (The Trillion Dollar Coach), because of his ability to be “close” with so many people in life, and Tony Hsieh (Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose), who chose to operate his company differently to that of others. Bill died in old age in 2016, and he had more than 2000 people at his funeral who all felt he was a close friend. Tony died in 2020 of smoke inhalation after being rescued from a fire in a room he had barricaded himself in to be alone.
Tony got many things right but isolated himself from those who cared about him. Bill got many things right but couldn’t build a company himself. You can’t deliver happiness as happiness is not a feeling as much as it is a perspective of life. However, as studies have shown, loneliness is an actual health problem. Combine this with how Bill chose to combat loneliness by being present and inclusive while coaching the most prominent teams in the Silicon Valley, and my purpose is;
Curing loneliness by making you feel you don’t walk alone.
How I choose to exercise my purpose can be done in many ways, and it’s not mutually exclusive from working for a company with a different purpose or working with people who have another purpose. However, I can define which domains the companies operate in to more effectively decide how to spend my time if need be. I chose the following because I believe the next generation of purpose-driven founders will aspire to build organizations within the following domains.
Organizations that operate with the notion that time is the scarcest resource in tomorrow's world. Organizations that aim to give humanity more time on this earth aim to provide each individual more time to walk this earth, and organizations that bring joy to people by making their lives easier or more enjoyable while we spend our time here.
Disclaimer: I appreciate many next-generation founders will want to build within the realm of web 3.0, but the way I see 3.0, it will enable a different type of societal infrastructure to enable new ways to deliver solutions on the three domains mentioned above in whatever form it takes when it comes to fruition. The final form may not be fully decentralized as many hope for but, what web 3.0 is doing is driving the shift of TIME being the scarcest resource any organization has by enabling faster capital flow to where knowledge is formed. However, I’m also biased to think many founders wanting to build on 3.0 are more likely to be modern-day “gold diggers”, because of the sheer amount of private capital pushed into the domain and the glamour the fact some of the solutions are in opposition to how the world works today.
I won’t go into further details as to what the work I do may look like at any given time, as it will defeat the final point about the topic of purpose that I want to make;
Living a life of purpose is mutually exclusive to living a life of happiness. At any given moment you can’t have both, you need to choose. — Yours truly
To live a life of purpose, you will be condemned to wallow in the past and obsess about the future because the process of defining purpose requires nothing less. After all this writing about the past, I understand that now.
To live a life of happiness, you must live fully in the “now.” Because happiness is a matter of perception, and one can only perceive the world in the present. Additionally, since happiness is a matter of perception, it’s a matter of choosing how to see the world. Like a glass half empty, or a glass half full. After you’ve done enough meditating, combined with practicing gratitude, you’ll start to understand what it means to see your world differently.
However, I don’t think I would’ve ever gotten to this point of letting things go if I wouldn’t have been for my obsessive nature. I needed to write my past, my story, and express my feelings so I could let it go. I wrote down everything to gain the ability to forget my purpose and to be able to live in the present.
If you feel like you stand for nothing, you’ll start fearing death because you wouldn’t have stood for something. — Yours truly
Nonetheless, every moment presents an opportunity to write about that moment, but I surely should remember to drop in a joke or two to remind readers that art doesn’t have to be serious and to remind myself, that neither is life.
Don’t take life too seriously. You will never get out of it alive — Elbert Hubbard
For all readers who have gotten this far
Thank you for taking a trip down the rabbit hole. The rabbit hole being my consciousness and a strange loop.
The world doesn’t make sense, so why should I write articles that do? — The madman who’s been writing alone for to long.
If you aim to label me and this piece of work, know that I define myself as what others deem to be a rare breed called synergist (as opposed to operator visionary or processor). I’m the glue that makes a group of high-performing individuals act as a team, I’m the campfire that lights the faces of those brave enough to tell their stories, and warms the faces of those who just want listen. Finally, I’m the empty forest that will hear you when you scream in it, and you feel all alone.
This body of work was the outcome of a co-creator crisis to become a synergist leader.
They experience their crisis when they feel their own subjectivity and begin to question their still existing evaluations… All this is interpreted more and more symbolically, and they notice how the past, present and future slowly dissolve in their chronology.
I identify with this since the chronology of my writings does not matter to me anymore. I am all I am, the past, the present, and the future: the good, the bad, and the ugly.
I found grace in the silver linings of life by expressing gratitude and not resentment. I also appreciate the fact I’m born with privilege, and my little trip down my own rabbit hole is nothing compared to what some people in this world have to endure. I know that all the luck I ever needed in life was to be born in this country (Finland) and by my parents.
Everybody has their own problems. There is always someone that has bigger and different problems. — The internet
Final words of advice — Don’t listen to people who compare you to others and forget whomever I use as my reference points. Additionally, forget trying to be like me, and for the love of all things beautiful in this world; BE YOU! YOU define your story. Be the reference point for yourself and become the prototype. If you are ever lost, know that you’ll find yourself in reflection and gratitude.
You choose who’s part of your story, and you can always go back and rewrite it because everything is a matter of perception. However, remember that you can only find happiness in the present. Nobody will come and save you, but you can save yourself by knowing everything in life is a choice.
Finally, when push comes to shove, and you want to give up, take it day-by-day, practice gratitude, and know that my words will always be right here to remind you that you are not alone.
There are people all around you fighting invisible battles everyday
The greatest heroes of today, are not made on the battlefield, they are made in the day-by-day
— Yours truly
P.s. Friends & family have encouraged me to get a copy editor and have people read through my writing before publishing it. I will in the future, however, understand that this was a piece of art I wanted to construct in a certain way, to make a certain point, during a certain period in my life, when I needed to be able to trust my gut again and become at peace with my own “Darkside”. I essentially went to war with myself.
I’m fully aware I cannot always express myself without a filter when associated with specific responsibilities, nor should I when I do.
P.P.s. Subscribe so you’ll know when I start writing again.
P.P.P.s. Medium may pose some limitations on how many articles you can read within a month as a free user. If you want to read all my writing and feel like supporting the effort, you can sign-up as a member through this link. Will grant me half of the fee, and I’ll invest it into my children's future.
“For the one I hope to die with”— Anyone familiar with the Marvel universe knows that there is always a prologue to every Marvel movie, except the endgame, and this is not the endgame. — For the one I hide, but is never hidden