Designing a better life by understanding one concept
Think of the organization you work at. At its core is a mission. It is the lens through which you and other employees like you view the world. It doesn’t change.
Coinbase wants to increase economic freedom; Stripe, increase GDP of the internet; and Amazon, be the earth’s most customer-centric company.
To fulfill such a mission, the org nurtures a culture. Stripe has radical transparency. Amazon has two-pizza teams. Culture too is slow to change but could conceivably do so in the face of big market shifts.
Then there’s the governing structure. It’s plausible to have org restructuring every few years–new CEO, new business heads?–to be better set up for success.
And finally come business models–what’s the best way to make a profit?–and they are often aligned with customer habits, which are evolving all the time.
With each outer layer, change quickens. More things call out for attention. Yet, power rests with the lower fundamental layers. They make the foundation on which your business will be built. The foundation carries all the weight. It absorbs all shocks.
This analogy explains a concept called 𝐩𝐚𝐜𝐞 𝐥𝐚𝐲𝐞𝐫𝐢𝐧𝐠.
First proposed by Stewart Brand, what is pace layering and why should you pay attention to it?
So that you don’t get caught up in superficial change and forget the core that drives any complex system. The most important complex system for you is you.
The outer layers carry your thin desires. They are highly mimetic. We want what others want. Do what others do. Wear what others wear.
The innermost layers are your thick desires. They’re independent of what others like us want. It is dangerous to want a new spouse because someone else you follow got themselves a new one.
Where does your attention go over a lifetime? Clothes, cars, property, rank, status? Or job maybe?
But if you lose your job, you only lose your means for commerce. You do not–should not–lose your mind because you still got education, that intermediate layer of intellectual infrastructure to absorb the shock and get you another job. Doesn’t that mean you should pay more attention to your education, to self development?
In his original model, Brand chose from the outside in fashion, commerce, infrastructure, governance, culture, and nature as the layers. His choice only serves a taxonomy. You can use its principle to deconstruct any complex system.
The most important complex system for you is you.
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