Squishy vs. Load-Bearing Projects (When You're the Project)
January 01, 2021
Today I saw a new post written and shared by Jason Lengstorf, Squishy vs. Load-Bearing Projects (or: How Not to Flatten Innovation). I'm glad he wrote it! We've been talking a lot about finding this balance on teams -- the push and pull between "mature, well-established work" and "the Galaxy Brain wouldn't-it-be-cool-if ideas at the other extreme". Please go read it, it's amazing.
What struck me in reading it was its relevance to how I've been pondering what I want out of my life in this next year. As I wrote in my 2020 year in review, "I tend toward perfectionism, which can pull me into a cycle of procrastination and "all or nothing"-ism." Despite the fact that I consider myself pretty successful, living through this cycle over and over has left me, overall, with a feeling of constant dissatisfaction and inconsistency.
So this push and pull jives pretty neatly -- a balance between foundational consistency (load-bearing habits) and joy-seeking experimentation (squishy creative exploration). Without the load-bearing habits, the cognitive overhead of daily life would be unbearable. Without the squishy creative exploration, life would be less novel and joyful. The key is figuring out what the key pieces of foundational consistency are, and then taking advantage of the brain and life space it opens up. I need "The Process™" in my own life -- but as a support beam, not a cage.
Anyway, none of this is novel. It's just interesting how this pattern keeps coming up lately.