You feel pain. It is not physical. Physical pain is easy. It is external. You cut the cords; it frees you from the pain and lets you focus on the fix. Psychological pain is different. It is internal. There are no cords to cut.

The pain is from a fire inside you. When it is consistently fed stuff to burn, it is ok. But when it runs out of fuel, it starts burning You.

You have the right to feel the pain; it is painful; to you, to me, and to others like us.

I want to talk to you but I have had my own share of pains in my life and they have led me to adopt ways of thinking so I can deal with this pain or avoid it altogether. These thoughts and believes are going the be the framework that we are going to use to discuss and analyze the pain. Lets talk and see if they make sense to you and you like to talk to continue; if not, close the tab; no hard feelings. Either way, I feel your pain.

Throughout this conversation, I am dissecting the causes of the pain. Most probably you already know all the individual pieces. I’m trying to put them together in a way that reaffirms the decision that you already have made, because I think, it is a good decision.

Their Fear

I believe we are inherently good. Everything that we do, that is bad, is because we are scared of something. Fear, brings the worst out of us. Most people are scared of losing what they have collected, because, they have spent time and energy to get what they have and they know finding it again is hard. So naturally the want to protect it. To protect it they need to know, for the lack of a better term, the battlefield and the enemy. They need to place themselves in a zone of comfort; in a field that they know, with known enemies, to feel comfortable and protected. This means that, naturally, most people play the short game. They take small steps with known results. They do not like big changes and surprises. New fields scares them because they are unknown. To have to do a lot of work and spend resources to get to know the new field and the new enemies, is hard and scary.

Companies are made up of people, so they are people. Just like people, they spend their resources to collect things, to make promises and to provide a means to bring value to their own people and others. But also just like people, they fear losing what they have so they play the short game.

You have lived a slightly different life, surrounded or inspired by brave people. This is hard to accept for you. I get it. But our reactions to fear, is the result of tens of thousands years of evolution and is not gonna go way anytime soon. Lions are not running after us in the African savannah anymore, so we can adopt a different behavior, but that is going to take an evolutionally long time.

If this is the environment that we are living in, we have to find a way out of it.

Our Needs

You have four psychological needs:

  • Power & Significance
  • Learning & Playing
  • Love & Belonging
  • Freedom & Autonomy

In order to feel happy and fulfilled, these psychological needs must be satisfied, regularly. This is the fire inside you. You need to feed it.

The intervals and the methods really depend on the individual and how their brain has been wired throughout their life.

You feel pain, because, your environment - being the group of friends or the company you work for - does not satisfy these needs in the way you need. For an environment that is playing the short game, everything they do that remotely satisfies your needs, is to get you to go in a direction that benefits the game, not you as the individual.

If this is the environment that we are living in, we have to find a way out of it.

Our Escape

We need to find the environment that is right for us. The environment needs to satisfy our needs:

  • Respects our skills; Gives us access to tools (Satisfies the need for Significance, and Power respectively)
  • Provides a playground; Shares the knowledge we seek (Playing, and Learning)
  • Loves who we are; Connects us to more people like us (Belonging, and Love)
  • Lets us be autonomous; Lets us go our own way (Autonomy, and Freedom)

This is an example of an environment that plays the infinite game. The goal is not to win. The goal is to live! and that is a never-ending game.

But so far, we talked only about us and we have only taken from the environment. The stuff that we took, came from other people in this environment. So naturally, to be sustainable, we need to give that all back, to an environment that actively seeks them from us:

  • Respects their Skills; Give them access to the tools we make
  • Create playground they can play in; Share the knowledge we have and they seek
  • Love them for who they are; Connect them to more people like them
  • Let them be autonomous; Let them go their own way

I think you know what to do. It is not about the company, or industry, or etc. It has always been about the environment. If you live in a bad environment, then run way; make sure you use your resources effectively; phase your escape plan, and ensure that you are covering your basic needs in the meantime.

Good luck ❤️