Ever since I was a small boy, everyone used to tell me to focus. Focus focus focus. I'm very good at being obsessive, but I'm not good at focus. Everything excites me and I end up focusing on everything.
In John Hagel, John Seely Brown and Lang Davison's new book The Power of Pull, they explain that the world is changing and that instead of stocking resources and information, controlling everything, planning everything and pushing messages and orders from the core to the edge - innovation is now happening on the edges and resources are pulled as needed instead of stocked - that the world is going from stocks to flows. There is a excerpt of the book on Techcrunch featuring yours truly.
One of the great thoughts in the book is the idea that you should set a general trajectory of where you want to go, but that you must embrace serendipity and allow your network to provide the resources necessary to turn
any random events into a highly valuable one and that developing that network comes from sharing and connecting by helping others solve their problems and build things.
This reminds me a lot of Edward Hall's definition of polychronic time vs monochronic time (p-time vs m-time). In m-time, we delineate time and space into meetings and cubicles allowing organizations and institutions to scale massively. p-time is like a Arab majlis where everyone is invited at the same time and they all mill around in the waiting room of the sheikh while the sheikh has a series of meetings in the open inviting people into the meeting like a long flow of consciousness. P-time lacks scalability and order, but it is rich in context and serendipity. At some level, if you plan everything, you are very unlikely to be able to embrace serendipity or be as "lucky".
Most of my best meetings have been serendipitous and like Granovetter's strength of weak ties, it's those connections outside of your normal circle that often provide the most value, even beyond just the obvious arbitrage opportunities.
So while my life may look completely chaotic and disorganized, my previously post in retrospect, I feel like I am floating in a rich network of highly charged people and serendipitous events, not a single day going by where I don't feel like "Yay! I just did something really good!" Although the heavy travel is wearisome and the lack of stability slightly disorienting, I feel like I'm surrounded by loving, smart people and feel happier than I've ever been in my life.
Although my dream is still to achieve peace of mind and happiness in a becoming-Buddha sort of way, it feels like I'm going to get there through the some sort of Tai Chi action that involves being in a network of energy flows instead of meditating in some mountain cave.
We'll see how this "focus on everything" model works, but I'm not convinced that it doesn't. On the other hand, the standard caveats do apply: "Don't try this at home and your mileage may vary."
Update: Fabian Wolff did a German translation. Yay!