Deciding to attend the University of Illinois 8 years ago was my most recent blank slate. It was a new environment, new people, and most importantly, a new ecosystem. This blank slate of mind allowed me to evaluate the mistakes I’ve made in the past, and make the necessary changes necessary for growth. Analyzing data, and creating new rules.
I knew right from my freshman year in high school, what my future held. I would go to my dream school and get drafted by my dream team. As you can see in the comments, my peers echoed my aspirations!
After football was over and I had no offers, I knew I had to use my head to get onto the field. With no scholarship offer, I’d have to be admitted through merit.
A few months later, I received an e-mail from the admissions office, “Congratulations, you have been admitted to the Division of General Studies.” When it came time to choose a major, I wish I would’ve listened to Ben Horowitz’s speech to Columbia’s 2015 graduation class about NOT choosing your passion.
Instead, I did everything I was passionate about and failed miserably. The life of a student-athlete wasn’t the paradise I had envisioned. In fact, the locker room was the biggest echo chamber I’ve ever been in.
I didn’t have time to code, so I felt like I sucked coding. I wasn’t getting any playing time, so I felt like I sucked at football. What made it worse was that everywhere I went, others echoed my thoughts: “stick to sports” and “stick to school”. After 5 semesters of going through this cycle, it all came crashing down.
I stepped away from my athletic bubble into the entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Echo Chamber to Ecosystem
An ecosystem happens organically. It’s a complex system of interconnected networks. Within these networks, our “Relative Performance” is determined by our “Network Constraint”. The larger, more open our networks, the higher our performance. The smaller, more closed our networks, lower our performance. This article goes more in-depth about the paradigm shift of social networks.
I sat through a presentation on consciousness the other week that stated in order for anything to be created, there are three requirements:
In order for you to write on your slate, you must be very conscious of the people, places, and things that will attribute to your experiences. This experience, after all, is the ink, and our conscious decisions are then pen.
When I realized that probabilities vary based on one’s environment or ecosystem, I knew I could never go back to an echo chamber. When you think about it, the probability of you being challenged in a larger network is higher than in a smaller one. I had to find people that ran faster than me, intellectually.
By immersing myself in an ecosystem of different thinkers, scholars, builders, and doers, I was able to change the probability of my success, or what I deemed to be a success. Being interconnected in this ecosystem has catapulted me to new levels.
Remembering where you come from, either increases or decreases the probability of you ever going back there. Being connected with ourselves and others help. Whatever you store in your memory, affects the probability of your actions. I know what it feels like to think you suck at coding, but believing you do will actually decrease your chances of successfully doing it.
This is sometimes called the Law of Attraction…but that’s for another day!
Tabula Rasa: Part I – Blank Slate of Mind
Tabula Rasa: Part II – Ecosystem v. Echo Chamber
Tabular Rasa Part III – Coming Soon.