This is part 2 of how our decisions impact our destiny. And what we can do to push the balance more in our favour.
The dual nature of our realities means that we simultaneously:
🧘♀️ - Use intention to choose the things we do (and create the narrative of our journey)
🤷♀️ - Have no control of the choices presented to us (and thus live as if we were a leaf being blown around in a storm)
Internal vs external control
The nature of our mindsets shape our habitual responses. This directly influences who we are and how we show up throughout our lives.
It is commonly understood that two individuals experiencing the same set of circumstances make different choices. So each person has the control to be 'themself' in a given environment. However, we are still all shaped by our environments
Two things that make me thoughtful are:
The macro network effects that determine the path of our lives and wider environment we exist in - See part 1
The micro daily habits and the things in our environment that determine the nature of our days
This week I will explore how our daily habits can influence the day to day experience we have.
2 - Micro daily habits
Our habits are dictated by the people we are around as mentioned before. If your friends are sporty, aspirational or even vegetarian, you will trend towards the group norm.
However, other things in our environment impact our daily habits as well as the people.
Mobile phones have become an extension of our being, the apps we have on them directly control who we are. They dictate the use of our time each day and influence what we do. We are what we do after all.
If you fill your commute with:
Playing Angry Birds - after a year you are good at Angry Birds (perhaps increased thumb dexterity and game bird physics...)
Playing Duolingo - after a year you have made progress in learning a language
Facebook might be mindless entertainment for one person or a fascinating learning experience for another.
If you feel that you develop anxiety from the apps you have on your phone, or they’ve created urges to check what is going on, they are likely a bad thing.
Apps like email, Facebook etc… use highly addictive techniques to pull us into our phone as much as possible.
Notifications nudge us into them.
We get lost using them for a period of time. During that time we also invest in the product by giving it information about us, we create more reasons to come back to it by posting on it, messaging others.
We have more notifications reminding us to come back to it. We want to know what people think of what we did.
There is a constant slot machine in our pockets and we don’t know what it’s going to give us next and so we keep playing.
Nicotine feels great initially but then we quickly become addicted. Instead we feel worse without it and can only reach normality with it. Over the years you feel the health and financial impact and lose the benefits.
Social media felt like a great idea that benefited our lives when it started. Our increasing dependence left us less and less rewarded and increasingly empty without it.
The main problems I feel are:
Anxiety - The natural urge for status and attention is leveraged in a highly focussed way to get us to return to the app
Close minded - the user gets surrounded with content of their own philosophy and loses diversity of thought. We lose the ability to see the reality of the world when we see a micro part of it.
Anger - Reading text is easy to mis-interpret. We don't grasp the intent and don't empathize with the author and see them as a piece of text rather than a human. This makes it very easy for things to escalate in the wrong direction. This both harms relationships and causes effects like "cancel culture"
Considering both the macro and micro forces in our lives, I am curious to see if we can create a way to give ourselves more control. Why can't we have habits that benefit us on a daily level but empower us to fight the macro forces as well?
Instead of leveraging attention seeking urges to create anxiety, we can recognise the natural human needs, and drive behaviours that create feelings of purpose and inclusion.
Our vision is a social network for experiencing media together. This reverses the nature of social media:
Users are social around media, instead of creating media about themselves
Users can be present as themselves, instead of presenting themselves
The beneficial components of this are already happening in the online gaming community which has long been the best social network in existence. For those of us who aren't avid gamers we need something better.
Presented with the opportunity, I believe humans honestly enjoy doing good. Talking to numerous people they love recommending content to others.
They want to:
show to others that they care
create excuses to chat without seeming needy
help someone with an issue
enhance their collective learning through discussion
You should be able to curate content and share experiencing it together. This starts from a standpoint of giving and facilitates understanding of each other.
Wherever I am in the world, my friends can't share the physical experience with me of commuting on a train or jumping off a waterfall. First principles, you can't break the laws of physics.
We can both listen or watch the same digital thing wherever we are. That is an experience we can share.
If our social media enabled us to share experiences with others we could intuitively build relationships with those at a distance without the friction.
The world is a funny place with a lot of strange things going on. We can complain about things or we can do something about them.
Complaining is a null option and the things we can't change we should just accept. But some things we accept that we shouldn't.
If you're curious to fight the effects that control who you are and who you are around.
Then we’re building Syncify for you.
- The future of feeling: Building empathy in a tech-obsessed world - Kaitlin Ugolik Philips
- Your life is driven by network effects - NFX
- Replay - Ken Grimwood
- The spread of obesity in a large social network
- Social networks can motivate people to exercise more
- The collective dynamics of smoking in a large social network
Designs by Pedrik Ludwig of Syncify