Execution, Reflection, and the Friction Therein

Posted on October 17, 2010. Filed under: startups, venture capital | Tags: , , |

I’m staring at a blank page of paper, trying to find my voice, searching for the window into my thoughts that allows me to write three paragraphs in 15 minutes, and wondering why it is so fucking hard to find right now.  Galpert is sitting next to me, tapping away at his newsletter, 90 words a minute, and I can’t seem to hear myself.  This has been a regular occurrence over the past few months.  At earlier times in this blog, my thoughts and reflections flowed so freely, the commitment to post was not a commitment at all.  But lately words have been slow to come.

I think it is largely because I am in a state of prolonged execution, not just professionally, but in all facets.  These past few months have been about checking boxes and getting shit done, and I believe that state is at odds with deep reflection.  Sometimes you are moving too fast to stop and think about your movement.  This isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  Execution can often be governed by intuition, a recipe which does not require nor even necessarily accommodate deep reflection, but the yield on periods of my life that are governed by one vs. the other are quite different.  Right now, for example, I miss the deep analysis of myself.  I miss the frequent attention to nuances of human experience, and generally floating 10,000 feet above ground level, looking at the world and population move by, not actively participating or engaging with it at ground level.

The past few months have been about to do lists, and moving, get the gas turned on, push the product, hire the people, buy a couch, get new clothes, find healthcare,  etc. etc. etc. These are the things that need to get done, but when I find myself sitting in a café with a pot of tea, the music I’ve been waiting to listen to all week, and an opportunity to revisit interesting thoughts or observations that I’ve had over the past few days, I realize that I can barely recall them.  It’s not because I am not having them, but more because “bookmarking” them and taking notice before they flea into the abyss that is my ADD black hole of a memory is not something that is easy for me to do when every pause in execution I have trained myself to glance back at the to do list instead of upward at the sky and the clouds, and inward at myself, my imagination, and whatever direction my mind would go if it wasn’t autofocussing on the next task ahead.

Every so often I notice friction points in my life, where a function doesn’t move as smoothly as it should.  The shift between states of execution and reflection is a point of friction that I will now actively work to diminish.  Like everything else with the mind, you can exercise the weak elements and build toward frictionless computation.  Execution is the order of the day, but welcome back reflection.  I missed you, let’s hangout again tomorrow.

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5 Responses to “Execution, Reflection, and the Friction Therein”

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Ha, I feel you on this one. Hard to see the forest when you’re among the trees, but it’s no good looking down on the forest when you need to be on the ground putting out forest fires and planting more trees. Best of luck trying to find a happy medium.

yep, can totally relate to this also, that’s why i religiously follow the “30minutes with myself habit” once i get up in the morning. just me, my coffee, and a nice view outside the house.

Jordan – Good thoughts man. Just recognizing the need to step back is a good sign. Let’s line up that call sooner than later.. I have some thoughts for integrating this exact line of thinking into your work with new technologies. -Todd

I absolutely love this. Thanks for making me pause and reflect for a moment.

Amber Rae just everywhere these days


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    I’m a NYC based investor and entrepreneur. I think there is one metric that can be used to measure the value of a human life and that’s impact. How did you change things? How many people did you touch? How different is the world because you lived in it and how positive was the change that you affected? (p.s. i don’t use spell check…deal with it) You can email me at Jordan.Cooper@gmail.com

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