Ditching the Default World
Live life by design, not default
Life is complicated. The life of an entrepreneur is extra-special complicated. To help us out, our human brains adapt patterns into neural pathways to automate some activities we perform regularly. This is why we switch into autopilot on our daily commutes and are mystified when we arrive in our driveway.
The same goes for knowledge, or what we think we know. Often, we just hear the same mantra so many times, it becomes an assumption of truth in our minds. This can be a powerful or a dangerous tool, depending on the situation.
While we appreciate those opportunities to give our brains a rest and ride the neural autobahn, in other cases, we actually need to be awake and aware in order to question our own assumptions. Without this, we forget to think about the possibilities. We need to reflect and question our own assumptions about what we think we know as true and set and decide how we think things could be instead.
I lifted the term Default World from my escapades at Burning Man, the infamous music and art festival that takes place annually in the Nevada desert. For “burners” the Default World is the whole rest of the world that is not Black Rock City during the event. For us not on the playa during those ten days in late summer, the Default World is a perverse and pervasive view on reality that is not reality at all.
We often get into habit of how life is without questioning how life could be. We are complacent and commonplace when we could be active designers in our totally kickass destiny.
Sometimes, going about our business in the Default World, we start to feel a tension. It may come slowly, as a nagging feeling of uneasiness. Or it may hit us with a jarring epiphany. Ah-ha! This is not working for me!
My own tension against the Default World started as a slow, irritating tap, like when your little brother invades your space in the backseat of the car. The tap evolved into an itch and festered into a burning desire for dramatic change.
Despite being idea-generating machines, entrepreneurs are just as susceptible to the Default World disease as anyone else. We are all at risk of complacency and simply succumbing to “the way it is,” but, we have choices and an obligation to question things. I have seen PacMan’s ghost outpace a pirate ship sailing past a phone booth and a man in a tutu in the middle of the desert. Anything you can imagine can be made real.
Grab the feeling that status quo is no longer acceptable; venture into the wild jungle of opportunity; and hack your way to the destination of your dreams. Ditch the Default World and Design your Destination.
Which assumptions should you be questioning to free yourself and unshackle your life?
Now ask yourself again, going deeper: What terrifying “truth” needs to be questioned and may, in fact, not be set in stone?
What would your world look like if you took bold actions to explore or overturn ideas that are holding you back?
The answers to these questions can lead you to exciting places in work and in life.