The more time you spend doing something the more you realize that what often separates people is information. Someone doing a thing for ten years, for example, has much more information about a topic and is much more successful, than someone in his first year. Or, this person over here might have one piece of the puzzle. Over there, is another key piece. And way up there, the final insight. In many organizations information is a spigot controlled by the people at the top of the pyramid. You only know what they want you to know. They run things via a top down approach thinking that because they have more information they hold power over you. This is the traditional business structure, but also one of the worst.

What separates people is not their ability, but what they know. Knowledge is restricted so that those in control, who are not the best of ability, can continue remaining in control. The higher up you go the greater access to information you have. Knowledge helps you make informed decisions, and without knowledge decision making becomes difficult.

Knowledge

Look within your own organization and see what sort of barriers exists to knowledge. What controls or hierarchy systems are in place to provide structure, but instead of providing structure how do these things limit the valuable flow of information?

Are you helping or hindering people around you from accessing knowledge? Sharing knowledge with others leads to more valuable answers and increased performance. Instead of relying on the analysis of that information by a select few individuals, information can be tweaked and viewed through a variety of lens, adding color to the end conclusion. The reason so little innovation exists with entrenched organizations is because of their information flow.

Businesses kill innovation by hoarding information, not understanding that information changes constantly. Not a set quantity of information exists in the world. We do not need to fight to keep information to ourselves. We can give it away and acquire more. We can give information to others and learn from others via their interpretations. What we learn creates new information, and new information means new knowledge, new ways of doing things, new innovation.

There is a difference between showing up, and doing the work. Usually you can do the work anywhere. The work comes from inside, and doesn’t need a specific location to happen. But, you can show up only where you can be noticed. You can show up and half ass the work, or not do it at all. You can show up and preen yourself like a peacock, displaying a bunch of bluster and effort, spending money to prove that you can, walking with swagger. Or, you can just do the work.

Most of your actions when you are doing the work is mundane and would put onlookers to sleep. Doing the work is not glamorous or exciting. Showing up is exciting, especially when you can show up and act the part of the entrepreneur, artist, or financier. But, doing the work, the grind, that is so boring on a micro level but so important on a macro level.

So many want to just show up, send a few emails, talk about what they are going to do, get lunch, talk some more, and then call it a day. You can show up all you want, but if you do not do the work then showing up means nothing.

Anyone can talk. Anyone can show up. Few can actually do the work. Few want to do the work. Their egos like the attention of showing up, and hate the work. Doing the work requires finding a different motivation besides your ego getting massaged.

Doing the work requires you find something else to love. That could be a chip on your shoulder from all the people that said you’d amount to nothing. Or, maybe you love the challenge. Or the game. Whatever it is, find something outside yourself, something larger that can continue to give motivation no matter what level of success you reach.

If you value the money, the accolades, the compliments then just keep showing up. They will continue as long as you keep dancing for the crowd like a monkey. When the spectacle stops so does the ego boosting.

But, if you keep a larger aim in sight all of those other things will come. Those accolade and compliments are byproducts of doing the work and doing it well. Showing up is the short cut, and doing the work the long game. Always play the long game.

If you have been doing the work, not just showing up, and want to punch all those phony people in the face, let it go. It doesn’t matter. They don’t matter. You are working hard, putting in the time, in quiet, while others are basking in the spotlight and doing nothing. I understand the frustration. But, know that it doesn’t matter. All that matters is the result. What have you done. What are you doing. The results will speak for themselves. So, keep doing the work. Let those that show up, keep showing up. Their time in the light will end soon enough.

Human’s desire creation. They want to make things. Empires. Legacies. Art. All creation comes from a place of solitude, whether you are an artist or a finance executive. That content inside your head only gives you an edge over your competition if you pair those ideas with hard work. Sometimes we want to delegate this hard work. We have the ideas, the conceptualization for where we want to go, but fear the work. What we ultimately learn is that your creativity, your edge, cannot be passed on to another for fulfillment. You must do the thing by yourself, in your own way, because only you know what that means.

We want to involve others in the process, to remain inclusive and community oriented, but the only thing we end up doing is fragmenting our vision. At some point, you need to go forward and get your hands dirty or you risk putting your ideas on the chopping block for others to tear apart like a bunch of vultures. You cannot outsource your entire life. You cannot pay for everything you want done.

Stop consuming, and start creating

This push towards creativity means a move towards solitude. You need time within your own head, to hone your ideas and to execute them. No one can get inside of your head and do this for you. Your success or failure depends on your willingness to get within yourself, embrace solitude, and follow your vision.

Solitude

Solitude is not a condition to be feared. Time away from others, from social media, television, and all of those other distractions in life frees you to unlock all that lives within yourself. Technology stops us from seeing ourselves.

This constant connection to everyone and everything gives us the jitters when we turn off our phone for a day. We believe ourselves so indispensable to the world that our prescience is constantly needed. In reality, none of us are so important that the world will stop spinning without us.

Acting as social creatures stunts us from finding our true self, which is a prerequisite to creation. Around others we are always selling ourselves, always performing. We hide a bit of ourselves. Solitude unlocks these bits of us that we keep deep within our selves.

When you reach in to this part of you and begin using it to create or push forth your ideas you are starting to get things right. In this place lies universality. Within those parts of solitude you discover how others crave, struggle, or search for the same things as you. We fear solitude for the loneliness it sometimes brings, not recognizing that when you find yourself in solitude you are never really alone.

Love and solitude are opposite sides of the same coin. Both are necessary for existence. While love is outer, solitude is inner, a process of respecting and admiring your own mind so much that you delve in to its depths now and again. Just as you cannot appreciate one without the other, you cannot create good work without occasionally locking yourself away from others and following the vision in your head.

The tendency is to think of challenges as either good or bad, and act accordingly. In looking at the situations we face, we want to either complain when things are bad, or rejoice when they are good. We think of good and bad as forces acting against us on purpose. Instead, they are just random acts of reality. Good and bad are nothing more than stories told from a certain perspective in our lives.

A story can entertain, distract, or enrage. We are all storytellers, though we might not know it. Stories define how we interpret the world. They give meaning, but also limit meaning by pigeon holing us in to one point of view. But, the truth is, that stories only do us so much good.

At some point you need to set aside your stories, or at the very least question them. There are many times when we let the spiral of a story drag us somewhere we never wanted to go. Stories can take on a life of their own. They need only a willing narrator to set the stage, and they can grow and develop without your conscious help. When we look back, after the dust has settled and the damage has been done, we wonder: How did I end up here?

At that point it is almost always too late to change that story. You must now accept where that plot line took you. Stories are not all bad, though, which is why we rely on them. At times, the stories regarding good and bad in our lives help us cope with situations that we have trouble understanding. They also help build up the good times, and focusing on the good can bring us very far.

The good that stories bring is why we trust them, even when we should not. A story is nothing more than how you interpret a situation, one way of looking at the world, one viewpoint, one perspective, one attempt to understand.

The Challenge

When facing challenges, good or bad, sometimes we do not need to understand as much as accept. If we are able to pause from our story making and just encounter and over come the challenges before us we stop taking life personally. A challenge can just be a hurdle we need to overcome so we can continue on with our mission, how ever you define that.

Putting a story to a challenge gives roadblocks in your life more meaning than they should have. Why glorify your struggles? Instead, see struggles as a necessary part of life, but not the norm. Stories make challenges the status quo.  Regarding bad as impersonal turns challenges in to just another day, just another obstacle.

We act as if good and bad are these things just floating around the universe that pick out people at random and act upon them. But, good and bad just are. They occur because that is life, and for no other reason. The challenge is not giving stories credit. The difficulty is refusing to build up the importance of challenges through stories.

Self Motivation

Acting impersonal towards challenges is not the same thing as acting without passion. Impersonal behavior sometimes has a bad rap for not caring, or for disconnecting you from life. I’m not telling you to live without passion. Instead of stories, the challenge is focusing on growth. You must observe good and bad with fascination at the wonder and diversity of life, and pursue your mission with passion.

Passion is really just another word for self-motivation, or living with a desire to continually improve yourself. This is something that you should never become impersonal about, and a place within you that any story can never touch. Stories add color to life, but stories provide entertainment. They are not meant to control your emotions and define your actions. They distract, not make you better.

The next time you face a challenge, and you feel a rising anger, pause for a second. Before the story takes hold, or before the story starts a new chapter, realize the plot line of the moment. Realization, consciousness, destroys the hold emotions take over us. Awareness returns you to what matters, and puts all of your challenges in perspective.