This week I said goodbye to SmallWorlds.com; a venture I have invested more of my time in than any other single project in my life. It’s a timely moment to reflect on where I am in my life now, and how my priorities have changed in the last 10 years.
I think it is natural that as you age you increasingly recognise your finiteness. This brings a certain focus to one’s perspective. 10 years ago I was satisfied with expressing & testing myself as an entrepreneur. Now however I find that’s not enough and I’ve realised that I can no longer put off the sense that I have something more important to do.
We are all born with a unique perspective on life. I think part of the payment for being alive is sharing this perspective with others. Believing in our perceptions enough to risk telling others what it is we see and what about it is important. Asking ourselves “What need do I see in the world that people aren’t paying enough attention to”? I call this a personally significant perspective, or PSP.
The author Steven Covey would characterise this as a question that is important, but not urgent. The trouble with these questions is that it is too easy to put them off till later, and to prioritise more urgent matters in the meantime. When we all do this together we end up sacrificing what is significant for what is immediately satisfying. As I look around the world I reckon this strategy is not working for us. The decline in life expectancy, the growing gap between the haves and the have-nots, and our collective failure to arrest other large scale systemic issues like climate change and breakdowns in democracy are just a few examples.
I think we need to stop procrastinating with sharing our PSP. Imagine that the perspective of each person is a piece of a puzzle that represents the capacity for us all to flourish in our lives, and on our own terms. Only when all of the pieces are shared and then assembled, can the full puzzle be unlocked. We are currently not all flourishing; not by a long shot.
Of course its bloody hard to work out how to turn your PSP from a heart and thought space into a project that you can afford to invest meaningful time in. I often think of this as the enduring question of how to balance “now-care” with “future-care”.
I’m curious about how people are managing this delicate balancing act in their own lives. I’m also interested in how we can support one another to bring our PSPs out into the world. If you have any thoughts on this I would love to hear from you.