Category Archives: Pragmatism

Execution & Resilience

Maybe now that I’ve gotten some of that off my chest, I’ll start blogging more frequently again. May as well spit these words into the void, instead of keeping them trapped and eating at me.

It’s been 2 years, since I wrote that and they have absolutely destroyed me. We’ve all lived in the shadow of what came immediately after that last post, fatefully titled ‘What Even Matters‘. While those two years have been enough to deal with, what I’ve had to live with for the past 18 months has been so much more potent at undermining my very being. But I’m still here and I’m going to be for a long time.


On 8:24PM August 18th, 2020, I was robbed at gunpoint, while at work. I’m still struggling with the PTSD and other fallout from what occurred that night in a matter of minutes. It wasn’t the first time I’ve had a firearm pointed at me, but something from this situation has broken my ability to exist around strangers. It’s only been in the last few months, that I realized what has left me so unsettled and broken; I survived an execution. After the individual grabbed the money, I was marched to the bathroom where I was instructed to get on my knees, and had the gun pointed at my head while he requested my phone.

The helplessness of the situation lingers in my mind, and I can’t stay still or deal with people on a day to day basis without possibly having a panic attack now. I can barely handle grabbing groceries or visiting with friends. I’ve found that I can’t relate to my friends as much, or they can’t relate to me in this situation.

I spent a few months in therapy, but week after week the appointments became the same thing, where I’d discuss a new thing I’d learned but was still beholden to others in trying to find employment and struggling. I’m still unemployed after all this time even though that’s what I really need to find normalcy.

Now I Execute

All I’ve had to focus on is taking care of my family, and the things I could learn to help me execute even better. I’ve explored so many things, because all I can do is execute on the small things. I don’t have the resources left to execute on scale. I launched Friendhaven on my birthday last year, but still haven’t invited anyone or made it publicly available to others because I can’t provide the sustainable platform I want to in my current position. I hope to see people there soon.

Through it all, I keep my head up and trudge through the shit. I may get frustrated or anxious, but I have so much to give to the world still that I can’t give up. Like Don Quixote tilting against giants, I’m resilient and will continue to challenge the adversity I face. I’m going to fight until the end.

Will I come back to write more here, I don’t know? There’s only been 3 posts in the past 8 years. But I’m still here, so there’s definitely a chance that I’ll keep coming back for more if I need to get something off my chest.

Keep persevering.

Reframing Ideas

One of the greatest techniques for advancing thought has been an ability to reframe ideas. When you can change the problem, or sculpt a new solution with a different understanding, you have an advantage.  And there are more than just a few ways to reframe ideas, from inversion to analogy.

Reframing by Inversion is one of my personal favorites because it’s so simple. If you can look at the negatives you can look at the positives; if you can start with a problem, what about starting with an answer. Inversion allows you to quickly expand your perspectives in ways that can show openings. Pivoting the thought process allows some drastic changes. Or it can ease stresses when used for comparative value.

Scope Selection
Reframing by Scope Selection is taking the idea and expanding it to some extreme or shrinking it to others. Think about how it could be applied if some constraint was raised, and what avenues that that may open. Or you can think about how simple you can make something, that still does what you want.

This kind of reframing can be used to increase productivity or target forward thought. If you can simplify the implementation details, you can save time, even if it took a little longer in thinking about the initial process. And if you think about expanding the concept and those avenues, you can project paths forward.

Reframing by Analogy is taking the idea and viewing through a completely different lens. It’s like taking an item and representing it as both a 3D object and a split projection draft. They are the same conceptually, but provide very different observations. Analogy also provides a great way for making conversation move a bit more fluidly by providing terms others may understand.

Ultimately, all of these examples of reframing allow changing the perspective in a way that allows growth. And sometimes a new viewpoint is all that is necessary for brilliance to be achieved. Just because something works, doesn’t make it right. And just because somethings right, doesn’t mean it will work. But there are times when you can take chances and see if it will. Play with the concepts. Maybe you’re working at a higher or lower level than necessary.

Regrets Are Not For The Living

One must not have regrets while living, to do so is a waste of time, since we cannot change the past from the present. No wrongs cannot be righted in some form, though not always brought back and mended to the original intent. If there is a regret for not doing, then the logical response is to do. If there is a regret for having done something, then to reverse it you must act with equal or greater impact in the other direction. This becomes that regrets are now actionable and somewhat dispossessed of guilt.

First Principles

Everything must come from some logical point of understanding, unraveling into more complex forms. First principles are the basis, the irreducible components, of any logical system. If you can understand the basics, you can build up an understanding of incrementally more complex tools and systems. First principles are the foundation, necessary to build a strong structure of robust knowledge, without them you may understand how to use a tool, but not understand the tool itself.

Something of those with considerable, and respectable, intellect that also have successes to show is that they tend to refer to first principles as a huge part of their thought process. That is anecdotal, but over and over again, I’ve seen people bring up the concept of first principles, and it’s started to stick out to me. The most noted moment for me occurred when re-watching Elon Musk episode of Foundation, where he is discussing his various ideas and ventures with Kevin Rose.

For me, it’s not the first time I’ve thought of or heard the concept, particularly in an education perspective. I think it’s very important to understand the basics, at least at some point, to  build from on your own. With a solid foundation to work from granted by education one can learn and expand further from those concepts outside the bounds of education independently. The biggest key is to independent thinking, if you can reason the solutions and then process their expansions, you’re in good shape.

Sometimes you have to jump backward, saying, ‘No,’ to the commonly accepted ideas, and work your way back up. Doing this often means placing constraints within your path; once you know it is possible, the question is how to do it better, for some definition of better.  This is a tool for thinking creatively.

Persistence Of Value

I’ve had several discussions with people lately about various things, from community in my town, arts & tech in school, and also about what and how I ended up doing what I do. I may talk about those later, because they are interesting, but I’ve also noticed the idea of persistence popping up, even as an aside.

A quote of advice I received a few years ago, from someone much younger than me was, “You don’t wait for them to call you, you call them.” I sort of ignored it, probably due to person’s age as well as my assessment of their mental acuity,  though even in that moment I realized it was something I had never considered. Thinking over the recent conversations, it brought me back to that quote, but also recent changes I made. I’d now rephrase that as “Don’t wait for the actions of others to tend in your favor. Come back with a reason for them to act in a favorable way. Present your value, and if they do not see it, come back again and again with something different.”

I lived my life free from most needs, but it also means that stuff is normally easy to attain. Breaking through the walls where I need to, is different, I tend to relax and soften rather than tensing up and getting hard enough to break through. I’ve accomplished this in minor ways, but I plan on continuing further with it. Bring the value, and keep bringing it. Build and build, let the inertia continue to push you all the way. Persistence of value is the key.