I have to confess, up until he sadly passed away, I had no idea who Aaron Swartz was, living, as I did, in my bubble of fatherhood, jiujitsu and screenwriting… I had NO idea, and for that I’m regretful.
While reading about him, however, I stumbled across his RAW NERVE series and it’s, well… it’s bracing, challenging and the whole thing moved me to tears.
so this week I thought I’d highlight each post in his RAW NERVE series and the first is:
For most of my life, I saw my job as just making good choices. I was the decider, tasked with making the best selection from the options life presented. I could play with this friend or that one, go to this college or that one, take this job offer or the other one.
Even my problems I dealt with this way. If someone was annoying me, I’d choose to avoid them. If something was bugging me, I’d choose to stop thinking about it. I mostly kept my eyes on what was in front of me.
But recently I’ve started appreciating the virtues of stepping back and trying to see the bigger picture. Instead of just picking the best option, I try to invent new ones. Instead of just avoiding the stuff that bugs me, should I start making plans to fix them.
It’s given me a weird feeling. I feel more in control of my life, more able to cope with my problems. I feel like I’m charting my own destiny, instead of following some track. It’s hard to explain, but it’s a feeling like I’m getting stronger — not physically, but psychologically. It’s a good feeling. I feel like I’m growing as a person.
So I started wondering: Is there more where that came from? I realized I’ve never stopped to ask whether I could get better at life. After all, in my day job, I’m constantly looking for ways to learn and grow — reading the latest books and articles about the field, talking to other people with similar jobs and hearing what’s worked for them. Why aren’t I doing the same thing for life?
Go read the rest here: Take a step back (Aaron Swartz’s Raw Thought)
He goes into great detail on just how not be be better at what we do, but to be better, and this alone makes it worth the read… more tomorrow, and again, it’s really society’s loss that we don’t have him with us any longer.