Reading the book Ignorance: How it Drives Science by Stuart Firestein.  There is a remarkable line that the author attributes to neuroscientist John Krakauer.  

Two of his mantras are that “plants don’t have nervous systems, because they don’t go anywhere,” and “the reason to exist is to act.”

Placing these ideas in the context of a cause, they illuminate the fact that actions feels rewarding.  Even when it may not be the best step, perhaps driving around a new town looking for a hotel or gas station late at night versus stopping to ask directions.  Out nervous system is seeking movement and therefore we can only stand planning in reasonable doses.  Striking the balance between strategizing and acting is essential for keeping the members of the tribe engaged and connected to the cause.  

This insight provides me with a paradigm shift about how to schedule meetings, planning retreats, and gatherings.  Fans need appropriate opportunities to celebrate action and reflection.

Too Much?


Every once in a while there is a chance to do ‘too much’.  A series of events fall in a compressed timeframe and the opportunity exists to push ourselves beyond what we might consider reasonable.  Two races overlap, conferences in two cities, travel itineraries, or meetings.  What I have discovered is that I enjoy participating in the frenzy of activity when it renforces my belief.  Flying overnight to a conference to only return the next evening for an engagement is energizing when my purpose is strengthened.  Racing on Saturday and Sunday, even when my legs tell me they have no interest in moving Sunday morning.  Connecting with a series of individuals in short sessions that are scheduled one after another.  It is not be confused with multi-tasking because each activity is take one at a time, there is just another event to follow immediately after.

International travel with a short duration in a new city holds the same spark.  See what you can and then sit back on the departing train or flight and allow it to soak in completely.  Take a deep breath and feel the transformation.

Too much is when there are no reasonable moments to pause.  But an energized period of action in an interval that expands our understanding of our capabilities and ou beliefs.