We sometimes need a reminder to bring us present to the depth and breadth of a situation, a wake-up call that says we’ve left something out. Perhaps something essential. Something that clarifies our view, like cleaning off smudged glasses or noticing that we’ve transposed numbers.
In 2003, Beijing was home to 26 million souls. Its fractal grid would morph from broad boulevards to local thoroughfares to capillary thin hutong alleys. I’d find a section of town on the map that I’d not yet explored and set off
Making a difference rarely is the result of stunningly bright talent alone. Genius and the odd bent of ability, while useful, will only serve for a portion of any extended journey. Persistence and the knack for continually being able to put yourself in front of what you want is required to achieve anything remarkable.
Our views and perspectives seem stable, even as the winds of uncertainty blow at the edges of our awareness. We experience ourselves with a homeostatic stability. The ever-changing world outside our window moves slowly enough to create a sense of predictable, stable change. But time is a curious solvent.
Unlearning is the ability to recognize and take apart a groove-worn habit, comfortable mental construct, long-held belief or increasingly wobbly emotional preference. It is the process of recognizing that something in our lives lacks ease; that something we’ve learned, and learned well, is no longer of use.