The Art of Engagement

Deep immersion in things that don’t involve consumption like eating, watching movies/sports, and listening to podcasts uplifts the soul and changes daily habits. 🤔 Sometimes, doing the opposite of expectation triggers the inspiration to blaze a path that never existed. In a time when no one knows what the future brings, the journey from consumer to producer is challenging, yet it keeps one from becoming a zombie. For me, it’s unlocking a ton of interests and learning new stuff. I’ve never been busier and more inspired by side projects.

For entrepreneur Jim McKelvey (who I’ve had conversations with), it’s making glass art:

For social entrepreneur Dr. Larry Brilliant, it was launching the Seva Foundation to help Dr. V’s eye clinic scale in India and treat blindness. This effort remains strong over 40 years later as Dr. Brilliant shares recent insights on tackling the pandemic:

Forty-three-year-old Jim McKelvey launched the startup Square with Jack Dorsey during the prior recession. Thirty-four-year-old Larry Brilliant co-founded the nonprofit Seva Foundation in 1978 at a time when America was in an economic tailspin. He went on to find commercial success, too.

These are just a couple of case studies showing the value of maintaining side projects — no matter your age — which spur deep engagement, fuel one’s passion, and open new doors. The ’tried and true’ path to success gets chronicled as the result of relentless grind, sheer genius, or amazing coincidences. I disagree and believe side projects away from technology involving deep immersion fuel the fire to do something new, potentially significant. It’s possible to escape the cycle of nonstop consumption driven by technology. There has never been a better time to learn and do something new.