Why do we ignore our middle chapter?
Like a lot of people I’ve got much more in podcasts recently, and my go-to is without doubt Shane Parrish’s Knowledge Project.
I think I’m pretty safe in assuming his most popular interview (and also longest – something of an oxymoron today…) is with Naval Ravikant, founder of Angelist.
Just one of the gems of wisdom in this conversation concerns the subject of happiness.
To help understand what makes you happy and what you may want to change, Naval suggests asking yourself two simple questions about each of your past 10 years, or perhaps 5 if you’re under 30.
What was I doing?
How was I feeling?
I gave this a try thinking it would be pretty easy.
It really wasn’t. I had to think hard.
Going back 3-7 years felt particularly difficult – in my case (from a career point of view) to the middle years.
I made a mental note to go back to this another time. Perhaps I wasn’t feeling very lucid that day.
And then this morning I went to my first Creative Mornings event in New York. CM is something of a phenomenon – running in 183 cities globally, always free entry, always sold out in seconds. They’re without doubt one of the leaders in the new school of curators (another post coming shortly on those and why they’re going to matter so much in the future).
This edition’s guest speaker was Scott Belsky, founder of Behance and highly respected investor and author.
His very eloquent and (of course) beautifully designed talk opened with a graph outlining the journey a company or project takes from start to end. I found myself thinking this talk may be another spin on the startup hero’s journey; we’ve probably all had our fill of those.
But Scott wasn’t there to talk about the buzz of the Start or the against-all-odds Finish. He was here to explore The Middle; the times between the Start and the Finish that oscillate from mundane to meltdown, vexed to victorious.
We don’t often talk about The Middle.
In fact we often forget it even happened – either publicly when we’re selling ourselves and our ideas to others, or privately when we’re telling ourselves the story we’d rather hear.
Scott suggested how to endure the lows and optimise the highs that The Middle brings, as well as the benefits of maintaining your curiosity throughout the journey.
In fact there’s easily enough not yet said about The Middle for a book or three – perhaps he’s working on it.
I left feeling a little better about struggling to remember my Middle, but also realising the importance of recognising, remembering and respecting it much more frequently – no matter whether it’s veering from mundane or meltdown, vexed or victorious.
What can you learn from your Middle?
And on a similar note, The Dip