In the Quaker tradition, one does not speak at services unless "they are convinced that they have something that must be shared." I've been thinking about that a lot since this newsletter has been on an unanticipated and unannounced hiatus for the past month. There's been a lot to digest this summer but if I could pinpoint the overarching theme for me, it would be understanding how we construct our realities and how that impacts our capabilities as entrepreneurs.  


Thirty years ago this summer, Guns N' Roses was preparing to release their 3rd and 4th studio album Use Your Illusion I and Use Your Illusion II. I was just starting 8th grade, feeling good in my Express lycra sets purchased with my corn detasseling money, was switching from the oboe to the bassoon in the junior high band, and I remember my cousin, Becky, scoring the CD from her local record store. I was more of a P.M. Dawn and Crystal Waters fan at the time but enjoyed some GnR on occasion (LOL). It was a great year for music with Heavy D, R.E.M, Metallica, Nirvana, Jesus Jones, and D.J. Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince all cranking through my mom's Buick.

But Use Your Illusion is one that's been on my mind a lot this summer as I work to take in the rapidly changing world. It all started when I heard an entrepreneur say "I don't have time". To have limited time is a common reality for entrepreneurs (and all humans), but our understanding of how we control our time is what matters. "I don't have" indicates a lacking instead of statements like "that's not a priority for me" or "I can't bring myself to do that right now" or even more bold "I choose not to spend my time doing that".  All indicate self-awareness and choice. It might seem like a small shift, but ultimately our thoughts shape our realities and we have a responsibility to reflect on where we feed our illusions and where we challenge them. Without challenging the common narrative of thinking, we perpetuate the lack so persistent in our current mode of work

Then I realized, with a little help from GnR's Locomotive, that's the thing about illusions, we use them to take us where we need to go and have a really hard time letting them die. Oftentimes we have spent so much time, energy, and emotions building up our illusions that we become resentful when someone challenges us to look through them to a different experience of reality. From Locomotive:

You can use your illusion 

Let it take you where it may

We live and learn

And then sometimes it's best to walk away

Me I'm just here hangin' on

It's my only place to stay at least

For now anyway

I've worked too hard for my illusions

Just to throw them all away

Illusions are rampant in the entrepreneurial community from the creator economy, to the rise of the girlboss, to Jeff Bezos thanking his employees and customers for making his spaceflight possible. Yesterday, while watching a Godaddy commercial I was reminded of how innocently it begins. This idea that throwing up a website is all it takes to make it happen. It's all so intoxicating like the fossil-fuel smell of a new car. 


Which is (not) a natural segue to an interview I was listening to between Rick Doblin, the Godfather of the modern psychedelic movement, and Lex Fridman, an AI researcher at MIT. Rick has been on a 30+year mission to bring psychedelics to a regulated therapeutic setting and improve mass mental health. And in this conversation, they get into a discussion about the weight of the current state of affairs. At one point Doblin reflects on an often-quoted statement from Einstien from 1946, "Einstein said the splitting of the atom has changed everything except our mode of thinking and hence we drift towards unparalleled catastrophe. What shall be required if mankind is to survive is a whole new mode of thinking. So what is that new mode of thinking?" This was Einstein's call to consider the idea of collaboration over competition, particularly when it comes to war and nuclear weapons.

But the same can be said about entrepreneurship. We are in desperate need of holding ourselves accountable to learning a new way of thinking. If the last decade was dominated by grinding (gluttony), hacking (sloth), rapid growth (greed), branding (pride), influencing (lust & envy), and cancellation (wrath), what can replace these illusions?

I challenge you for just this week to acknowledge when you're using your illusions. And when you are ready, reframe them. You'll feel better. What new mode of thinking will you bring into the collective consciousness? This weekend, while at the beach, I overheard my very spirited beach neighbor giving investment advice to a close friend when he said what has now become one of my all-time favorite mantras "Algo this and algo that, don't you think my a** looks fat? There ain't nothin greater than the human mind, don't you forget it."  


Our next book club will meet on SEPTEMBER 14th at 7 pm. We will be reading Kate Raworth's Doughnut Economics. This is a free event, please email me to register. 


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