Finding Your Tribe

I know every mile will be worth my while. I would go most anywhere to find where I belong.

Michael Bolton, Disney’s Hercules

High school can be bad if you get caught up in the cliques. These little groups focus not on who they can include, but who they can exclude. They become insular to the point of being antagonistic and even hateful of those who “are out”. It’s a blessing to be able to ignore and avoid groups like that.

Humans are social creatures. We join together as groups when faced with adversity and divide ourselves into groups when we have the chance to create the adversity. We choose to bond with others, and can fight like hell to protect those bonds when challenged. Those we are bonded with the closest we consider family, but every group we bond with becomes a tribe.

Some tribes can be bonded over politics, some over religious views, some over the kind of dog we like best. We can bond over the silliest reasons, or just because we were at the same point in our lives at the same time. We choose what tribes to belong to, but we also need to realize when we are in a tribe we no longer belong in.

Everyone belongs somewhere, and it’s not always where you are right now.

If there is something you want to pursue as a career, you should find people that want to do similar things and choose to bond with them. The support and kinship you find in the bonds you create makes you into a tribe. They will help you to not be discouraged, and to keep you from feeling alone. It takes a ridiculously strong person to face adversity alone, and no one can face it on their own forever.

There are always ways to connect to people that share your interests, your drives, your passions and it is easier than ever to look for them. Look into social media sites such as Facebook, Discord, online forums, and specialty websites that fit your focus. Be willing to be vulnerable and show the fruits of your interests to others. The right ones will appreciate and welcome you.

Search for people that you can trust to connect with you that you can each add to each other’s lives. You will meet good people. You will meet bad people. Do not discount the good because of the bad, and do not ignore the bad for the good.

Be picky. Your tribe is out there.

See you next Wednesday.

Chris Jabas

Seeing The Masterpiece

“Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.”

Michaelangelo Buonarroti

Growing up, I loved the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. They were cool, dangerous, funny, and always saved the day. Being into art, I also liked that they were named after famous Renaissance master artists. It got me to look into each of those artists as I grew up, and even drove me to visit Italy for a month on my own, but that’s a story for another Wednesday.

Michaelangelo (the sculptor, not the turtle) created multiple of the most famous sculptures in the world, and worked at every one to bring out from the stone the sculpture he saw in his head. While not all of us are sculptors, we all are working on a masterpiece of our own. Becoming manager, writing that book, creating that game, being a good spouse or parent: we each have that ultimate goal we started chasing sometimes years ago.

Over time, that masterpiece can be harder to see, or what we’re doing isn’t what we imagined in our head of what it was supposed to be. Like an errant golf ball or a dog that flopped into a lake, we can get lost in the weeds.

We have to remind ourselves what our masterpiece is supposed to look like.

There’s a great book by Rich Christiansen called the Zig Zag Principle. He describes it a bit differently than I do, but the idea is the same.

As you pursue your masterpiece, your perspective changes. You can see new ideas, new challenges, new information that you didn’t have when you started. Is the stone chipping too easily? Are your tools too dull? Did you not have the right tools?

You may finish a statue and have it not be the masterpiece you wanted it to be. Does that mean you failed? Only if you don’t keep trying, and learn from the mistakes you’ve made to not make them again. We can only hope to be as tenacious in our pursuit of our masterpieces as Edison was about inventing the lightbulb:

“I have not failed 700 times. I’ve succeeded in proving 700 ways how not to build a lightbulb.”

Thomas Edison

Keep pursuing, keep trying, keep climbing, keep creating.

Maybe someday someone will name their turtle after us.

Cowabunga, dude.

See you next Wednesday.

Chris Jabas

What To Do When The World Doesn’t Care

Did you know there comes a point where sunflowers will stop turning to face the sun?

The sunflower will physically rotate itself for the head of the flower to receive the most sunlight it can. It needs the strongest connection to the sun to gain the energy it needs to continue to do its job: grow. Our phones, computers, and televisions are a tad easier to deal with. We can just plug them in.

In the extreme ends of this planet where the lengths of the days and nights change wildly from season to season, there is a form of depression called Seasonal Affective Disorder. During the seasons where the daylight hours are short, people can feel hopeless, be sluggish, and lose interest in normal activities. In the United States alone, it affects 3% on the population. As of 2020, that’s 10 million people. This can leave a person feeling drained to the point of not being able to even get out of bed.

We all spend energy to accomplish the tasks and activities set in our schedule, but not everyone recharges their battery.

Someone who never charges their phone and yet expects it to keep working is seen as a fool. We see it as “normal” to run and run and run until we collapse, then down an “energy drink” to get back up and do it again. Spending your energy without ever seeking out enough to replace what was spent is just as disastrous as spending more money than you earn.

If you don’t seek out what recharges you, you will eventually fail to function.

Taking care of yourself can recharge you. Doing something for the fun or joy of it can recharge you. Even getting encouragement or recognition for your efforts can have an affect. That’s why sporting events have cheerleaders and support groups have meetings. It builds you up when you wear yourself down.

A sunflower still growing that stops turning to the sun dies in just a few days. People with Seasonal Affective Disorder need the sun in the same way. We all keep needing to seek energy in some way until the day we die.

Make sure not to starve yourself.

See you next Wednesday.

Chris Jabas