The typical commuter now spends the entire train ride on a phone, swiping and watching, watching and swiping. Watching the polished perfect lives, cute outfits and most of all, incredible experiences. All had by someone else.
It’s easy to become a spectator. To get stuck behind the glass, imagining just how much fun you might be having.
Modern industrial life is a collision between two poles, and we even have a Latin phrase for each of them, so they must be important:
Seize the day (carpe diem)
Buyer beware (caveat emptor)
We’re reminded of our insufficiency and our mortality every day. We’re pushed to buy more, engage more and avoid missing out. Entire billion dollar businesses are built around FOMO.
But we’re careful. We’ve been ripped off before. A reader sent me this recent poll:
Trust is in short supply. Because trust has been abused. We’ve seen the marketing-industrial complex trick us, time and time again, baiting and switching. No one wants to go to the Fyre Festival twice.
And so we retreat.
It goes beyond the categories on the chart. Bosses aren’t particularly trusted either. Bosses who promise that if you simply comply, you’ll get what you deserve.
Hiding out in a low-trust world, though, is hardly a way forward. It’s possible that our lack of trust is turning into a trap, a trap to keep us stuck.
The alternative? To leap. To do the hard work of figuring out who’s worth trusting, and most of all, to trust ourselves.
If we can trust ourselves enough, we can see where our fear lies. We can separate the too-good-to-be-true fast-internet pitches from the hard work of actually living a life we can be proud of.
My experience is that this leap begins with generosity. When we leap on behalf of others, when we contribute energy and insight, it’s a lot easier to dance with our fear. And it has the magical side effect of building trust as well.
Trust in the systems we choose to build. Trust in the people around us on a similar journey. And most of all, trust in ourselves.
Learning to trust your desire to make a difference is the secret to leveling up.
It’s difficult to sort out all the options in front of us. To decide what to click on, what to invest in, what to believe in. But we’re smart enough to figure it out. Smart enough to avoid dumb shortcuts as we work to find the path.
Have you found your path yet? The repeated forward motion that lets you become the contribution you’re capable of being? Once you find it, you can build on it.
Trust the process. Life’s too short to hide.
[I hope you’ll check out the altMBA. That’s our best version of a process that works.]