Why I Don’t Sleep In

I don’t have to be anywhere this morning until 8:00, and the meeting is 7 minutes from my house. Yet and still, this morning I woke up at 5:30, made a cup of coffee and pulled out the laptop and got to work.

You see, I don’t sleep in.

One advantage to having once been immersed in Evangelical Christian subculture is long-term exposure to what genuinely passionate and devoted people look like. It is life-changing, actually.

I was once listening to a sermon preached by an “apologist”. If you don’t know, an apologist is a person who has devoted their lives to proving their chosen faith “true”. Think of them as trained rhetoricians who want to argue with non-believers about the veracity of the claims of Evangelical Christianity.

So anyway, this apologist was berating us for not having memorized the 5 pillars of Islam and the arguments from the Christian Bible against them, and he mentioned that devout Muslims often memorized the entire Qur’an.

“They are willing to do for a lie what you are not willing to do for the truth!” he shouted at us from the pulpit.

Now, I think his arguments against Islam are full of holes, and how do you argue against faith, anyway? – but the point is that line – “they are willing to do for a lie what we are not willing to do for the truth”. Or, in other words – they are willing to work harder than you are, and that is why they win.

I think about this all the time in my work.

For example, much of homelessness is a byproduct of unfettered capitalism. So, I read business memoirs all the time, because I want to understand capitalists. (You can’t change people you don’t understand).

Almost all of them have very detailed, rigorous morning routines. Virtually none of them sleep late. Many of them take great pride on waking up early, going to the gym and getting to work before anyone else does. Lots of them talk about strategic decisions around clothing (like this article about Obama’s productivity secrets and why he only wears grey or blue suits) or what they eat for breakfast.

In other words, they apply extreme care to their day, and their day is designed, purposefully, to generate the results they get.

Meanwhile, in most of the activist circles I hang out with, meetings don’t start on time, they run over, you aren’t sure if the guy leading the meeting showered today and we spend the first half of the meeting arguing about how the meeting will be run. These people don’t reply to email, and they won’t hire anyone to answer it for them, and then say they can’t afford it, but somehow can afford artisanal food and laptops designed for graphic designers when all they do on them is type.

While we slept in this morning because we don’t want to be held down by the man, the man was up early, ate a balanced breakfast, and planned how to increase corporate profits by laying people off or shuttering a company. And he did that before you got out of bed.

They are willing to do for a lie what we are not willing to do for the truth. And that is why they win.

And that is why I don’t sleep in.

I Miss You

When I moved to Raleigh, I didn’t know a soul here. I didn’t have a job here, I didn’t have new co-workers. Nothing. Zip. Zilch. It was incredibly isolating.

So I decided to change that. My goal was simple, but not easy – one conversation with a new person each day, and coffee or a meal with a new person each week. I kept that up for years. As an introvert that needs people, it was both a challenge and fun.

And it worked. I soon had a wide circle of friends and acquaintances, from many different segments of society. It worked so well I quit doing it.

These days, I have a set of coworkers I love, but that I spend most of my daylight hours with. Instead of walking the streets all hours of the day and night in pursuit of my work, these days I do most of my work at our Community Engagement Center, so in effect the streets come to me. I feel rushed a lot, and always behind, so it’s easy to not prioritize outside meetings or meals.

It is incredibly isolating.

I hate that it is so easy for me to feel so busy that I don’t have time to prioritize relationships, when the reality is, those relationships are my work.

Facebook makes this both better and worse. Better, because I have friends I first met nine years ago in one of those weekly coffee meetings that I have been able to keep up with, see their kid’s pictures from recital, and hear about how they have learned new things, developed new passions, heard about their marriages, their divorces, their hopes and their struggles.

And it makes it worse, because some of those people live six blocks from me and I haven’t laid eyes on them in more than a year. Because I still feel “connected” to them. It’s maddening.

Not only is it bad for me – it’s bad for business. Love Wins Ministries was born as a result of those conversations years ago. So many of the projects I have developed over the years began in conversations over coffee. Much of what actually fed me and kept me alive in those early years came about because of those meetings.

So I intend to make 2017 the year of intentional connection. This is the year I begin having intentional meetings to develop relationships. It is the year I begin to commit to coffee dates again, to meeting new people, to finding new opportunities, to learning new things. This is the year I commit to lean in to the hard work of relationships – because, as I am fond of saying, all of us are better than any of us.

So, if I haven’t seen you in ages – I want to have lunch. If we are really only “Facebook friends”, I want us to be real friends. If you only see yourself as one of my “fans” – I hate that term, but more and more people are introducing themselves to me that way – please let’s really connect. And if my assistant reaches out to you with a lunch invitation, please know that means I thought it was important, and that you are important. Because honestly, if my assistant doesn’t schedule it, it probably isn’t going to get scheduled.

Blog Rebooted

In the last 13 years, I wrote nearly a thousand blog posts on my personal blog. And now I’m abandoning it, so I can start blogging again.

The internet has changed a lot since December of 2003, when I wrote my first blog post. But one thing that hasn’t changed is the need to have your own space on the internet – a piece of digital real estate where no one can censor you, where you can speak your mind, where the forces of capitalism need not dictate your options.

The web is more commercial than ever before. Rather than selling products, now we all are the product, with our lives becoming increasingly content fodder for corporations to profit from.

More and more, I want a place that is not just against that, but actively opposed to that. My thoughts on this have been heavily influenced by Gina and Andy and more Andy.

I give you Hugh’s Blog.

Few pictures. Short posts. No editorial calendar. Intentionally minimalist in design. Easily navigable. Highly readable. No plan. 100% controlled by me.

All while holding real estate that tells how to get in touch with me, how to hire me and where to find me.

Obvious influences are Gina Trapani, Kevin Kelly, Leo Babuta, Jason Kottke, and Derek Sievers.

Yes, they are all sorta nerdy, mostly introverted creative types who have rocked serious change in the world.

Yes, these are my people.

One of the new features is the Now page. The first time I ever saw one of these, it was on Derek’s blog. The idea is, what am I up to “now”. Imagine you ran into someone you hadn’t seen in 20 years, and he asks, “What are you up to?” The Now page is the answer to that question.

So, poke around, click buttons and try to break things. There is still some trim work to be done, but overall, I like it.

I was about to ask, ‘What do you think?”, but I also disabled comments.


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