I have a variety of interests and opinions, so as you might imagine, I struggled to come up with a name that would represent my true hopes for this blog. It seems like a permanent enough thing, being on the web and all. I took an unorthodox approach to generating the name that seems to have had significant positive effects. I took all of my personal writings for the last year or so, coded up a Ruby script that would calculate and sort the word frequencies, read through the list, and then took a nap.
My subconscious worked on it for awhile, and when I woke up, I asked myself what the correct name should be. A couple of strange hazy names came to mind, and then in literally a flash of insight, ‘22 idea street’ popped into my head. It immediately seemed correct, although I didn’t necessarily understand why. I excitedly woke up and wrote it down.
After thinking about it for a few minutes, each of the parts actually represents something that is deeply important to me.
Let’s start with 'idea.’ It represents novelty. Whether this means truly new and original ideas, the ability to apply newer practices to old problems, or to seeing a general solution to problems that others have been solving inefficiently, it is the essence of creating things that are truly valuable. Ideas have a great deal of energy, and are the driving force behind all great or inspired creation. When the going gets tough, you need to have the original vision of the idea clear to have the motivation to keep going.
'22’ is something that is specific. In this equation, it is the physical manifestation of the idea. It springs forth naturally from ideas that are truly founded with the end value in mind. No idea, no matter how interesting, has any value unless it is concretely implemented. The idea of fire doesn’t give you warmth or food. Building a fire does. But although it is one of the outputs in the process, it is not the end in itself.
The 'street’ represents people. A creation is worthless unless people desire to interact with it. Things must be appealing functionally as well as aesthetically. No one on the street is going to visit a booth if the presentation is unsightly, and few people will tolerate something that doesn’t resonate with them at a deeper level. A busy street captures a great deal of human interaction. It is inherently a human thing. If you walk along a street or visit a crowded street party, you can feel the energy and silent and verbal communication that takes place. The street is fundamentally about people interacting with their world and each other.
Both the '22 idea’ and 'idea street’ portions indicate that ideas are related to one another, and consistent thinking, analysis, and innovation spur other ideas. Hence, a multiplicity of ideas is positive, as long as the ideas that are given time are important in the long run. Every experience you have shapes you indelibly, so actively seek to cultivate interesting ones. Continuous learning and deliberation assist you in every area of your life, even when you don’t apprehend it at the time.
The entirety of the idea '22 idea street’ means creating value from ideas while never forgetting the people that produce and use that value. It’s about balance and taking the time for recreation (or as Thoreau would say, “re-creation.”) It’s about realizing that you only have one life to live, and then it’s over, so you must say “yes” to the right things, and an assertive but peaceful “no” to everything else. It’s about investing the time required to do the job excellently. It’s about taking pride in your life and managing your future with your heart as well as your brain. It’s about thinking outside of the box to come up with better approaches to solving the world’s problems without making new ones. It’s about having meaningful and open relationships with all of the people that you come into contact with, because they are the neighbors on your street in life. And finally, it’s realizing that by nurturing these relationships and placing trust in others, a whole greater than the sum of the parts can emerge.
By understanding these things that are important to me, I have a good guideline for living and growing. These beliefs are hardly immutable-I expect them to change. Nonetheless, writing them down is an important step of living with a purpose. It’s tough to live well before you enumerate what you are living for. Although some of my future posts might not have quite the same passion, gravity, or verbosity, I hope to get there with consistent effort. Hopefully you will join me in my journey. :)