Introduction from Alana:
I’m so excited! Today, I get to introduce you to my pal, Jack Blake. Though more than two decades separate us by age, we totally get one another! I’m consistently learning from him and remain impressed by his maturity and the depth of his intellect and curiosity. Plus, he’s all kinds of interesting… he’s a skipper, a talented videographer, an avid reader, a life-long learner and an adventurer.
In fact, two years ago, on the weekend of the University of Kansas’ graduation ceremony, rather than march in cap and gown with his classmates to collect his diploma, Jack was, instead, competing in the Skipper Academy off the coast of Croatia. More than simply serving as the captain of a yacht, having taken a semester of sailboat training, Jack crafted a recurring opportunity to grow a global network for himself. The experience taught him leadership, courage and was very literally an example of jumping in and doing something for the first time. Now that he’s back on dry land, Jack seeks similar models and is constantly trying new things. Here’s a bit of his perspective on the matter… meet Jack Blake!
Guest post from Jack Blake
By definition, “conviction” is a firmly held belief or opinion.
At age 15, you probably believed your parents were wrong, so you held your ground with rebellion. At 21, you were opinionated, but those opinions didn’t have the type of impact you’d hope for.
Now, at age 24, I firmly believe we (my relative network) are capable of having more quality conversations, where quality is a measure of depth and objective discussion into a subject—that we can go beyond the surface.
What happened between ages 21 and 24?
In my case, I deliberately changed my experiences. What I sought out and ultimately experienced was enormously and uniquely different than what others around me believed was even an option.
Unfortunately, our beliefs and opinions are often not our own.
We are influenced so much by socially constructed reality, that it’s nearly impossible to think for ourselves. The only way I found to balance this was to try something for the first time. My experience, while some may say was radically different given my landlocked origins, became a catalyst to thinking for myself.
I realized that a belief is a poor substitute for an experience.
For me, to be in the consensus is to preach or talk about what others believe. And it’s comfortable because you’re experiencing what others are experiencing.
This isn’t to say you’re not thinking about your own unique convictions. To be in the consensus just means you hold in your own perspective.
By contrast, to go against consensus, is to have the courage of your own convictions.
When we’re hanging on to our (or others’) previously held beliefs, we hinder our own allowance for change and new beginnings. We let others do the experiencing for us.
We fall back on the issue, that it’s so difficult to think for ourselves, because socially constructed reality is so much a part of our lives.
If you want to strengthen your ability to think for yourself, then you need to have the courage of your own convictions. Avoiding the consensus is where I suggest you start.
The consensus could simply be your self’s poor substitutes. The difference between you now and you in the future.
Because: “You can expect the future to take a definite form or you can treat it as a hazily uncertain. If you treat the future as something definite, it makes sense to understand it in advance and to work to shape it. But if you expect an indefinite future ruled by randomness, you’ll give up on trying to master it.” – Peter Thiel, Zero to One
This is about experiencing things for the first time. More accurately and ideally, it’s about deciding to build momentum from these experiences and create your own beliefs. A belief that few can firmly hold true.
When you’re choosing experiences that require you to think for yourself and for the first time, you’re creating a definite, yet uncertain, optimistic view of the future—a view which favors firm convictions.