Guiding Light: Maps That Mark the
Discovering dynamic principles for connection
The most dangerous thought you can have as a creative person is to think you know what you're doing.
I finally discovered the talk called “Inventing on Principle” a little late but somehow at just the right time. Yesterday, I stumbled upon the body of work by Bret Victor by chance while scrolling by casts on Farcaster and spent the day listening to this brilliant man speak insights to rooms full of programmers and computer tinkerers.
I needed a night to marinate on these concepts, so here I am, Sunday morning, sipping coffee in bed, attempting to understand my own driving principles. Wondering how the hell I’m going to make it all make sense.
With these talks, Bret Victor has built an understanding of his own obsessive calling toward dynamic mediums of immediate feedback through coding, just as I have been called to dynamic spaces of human connection.
In his talks, there are multiple references to nurturing ideas, a “responsibility” or duty as technologists to bring ideas to life through computing.
He says that this guiding principle is “creators need an immediate connection” and does this by demonstrating how code should provide a visual representation of the changes being made without delay.
One of the things I personally got from his talks is that he seems also to be a Great Observer. He says that he looks around for places where this principle has been violated and then tries to fix it.
This week when talking to a friend and brainstorming some new ideas, I noted that is the way I, too, nurture my own ideas and concepts for community building. As an observer, I am constantly consuming media in an effort to observe the connections between people, learn from those connections, and try to fix the pieces where my own principle has been violated.
You know, a lot of people talk about a need for a North Star that guides you but I like to think of it as a Guiding Light, which is more dynamic and adaptable rather than an immutable North Star.
I choose to think of this principle as dynamic because, as humans, we are meant to be adaptable to the ever-changing situations surrounding us. I imagine with his inclination toward dynamism, Bret would agree with this assessment.
I’m often asked about my history with community building, how I got here, why I create connections between people, and what drives me to do so.
I’ll typically give a general timeline noting what seems important to the person I’m talking to, and no matter which examples I give, this Guiding Light never changes:
Let’s break down this principle into three bite-sized pieces:
Prioritizing human dignity
My calling to create spaces that prioritize human dignity takes shape through empathy and understanding, a duty to foster diverse connections so that each person I come into contact with is rest assured they are cared for.
I believe in a depth of understanding that spans multiple levels of expertise, not relying on a single skill set to reach a goal or aim. This part of my principle gives significant weight to constant learning through experiencing people and their lived understanding.
The joy of connecting humans together is freedom. When I joined the blockchain space, I was consistently asked how I could be so confident and how I could possibly live authentically.
Well, dear reader, it took a long damn time to get here and though it is often a struggle of various forces, my goal is to always aim for authentic connection not just with myself but between others. This aim, though a duty in itself, is a selfish one as well since I believe that community care is self-care.
Finding Your Guiding Principle ✨
One of the aims of Cloud Scouts and this newsletter is to be its own Guiding Light, a compass to a greater purpose, and to help members find their identity through connection.
While I was listening to each of these talks, what I loved was that the visuals Bret used were also dynamic in nature, meant to be observed and tinkered with to show immediate feedback.
So, when you’re crafting your Guiding Principle:
Take stock of the entire breadth of experiences you’ve had in life. It will likely take a while to consider them all. Write down as many as possible and celebrate all the love you’ve given to the people around you through them.
Self-exploration and reflection give way to self-awareness so finding your core values goes a long way to discovering a single principle to guide your work. Do this through journaling or writing regularly.
Whether we want it to be true or not, we are not the only ones who have opinions on our values and systems that guide us.
Seek council from others to find common threads. Often when speaking to others, we have our own eureka moments because the people we hold close have perspectives they’ve earned themselves through lived experience.
This final step relies on constant iteration and alignment. Your Guiding Principle, while not entirely dynamic, should be adaptable to surrounding situations.
Make an educated guess based on your self-reflections and outside perspectives to then take action. Once your principle is revealed, you’re able to fine-tune this process and create goals at work, play, and love that act as a compass.
Fully and completely commit to the principle. Don’t hold back your authentic expression.
This obsessive calling to connect people wherever they may be leads the way like a lighthouse helping to navigate ships in the waters of life.
Technologists like us have a responsibility to nurture the ideas in others and to dedicate ourselves to fighting for others on principles that guide us to greater understanding.
With a world in crisis, our principles must be steadfast and whole. Not defining ourselves by skills or specializing in very specific excellence as a craftsman, but by solving problems through understanding why we act.
It took me over 30 years to know and recognize this Guiding Principle, so it will take time. It will take effort and patience on the path toward self-discovery.
It is never too late to find your guiding principle that is both adaptable and dynamic. Self-discovery, acceptance, and awareness are all adventures worthy of love and care.
I hope that through this process, you can show yourself the love deserving of a human moving through life’s travels, and if you ever need help, Cloud Scouts and I are always here to be the map on your journey.
Hunting and Gathering 🔗
Here are some things I found through the week
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