The tension of familiarity and discovery

The summer seems to be passing so quickly this year. Perhaps it’s the delightful weather we’ve had in Austin so far. We’ve been able to enjoy many evenings on our back porch, often accompanied by rare and fabulous rain. I hope your summer has had its share of slow conversations, happy surprises, and moments when you’ve completely lost track of time.

News and such

There are now 106 of us reading this weekly dispatch about Uncommon. Something feels symbolic about that number. I suspect it’s that 100 committed people can accomplish just about anything.

It’s been great fun meeting each of you. I’m struck by your creativity and spirit of adventure. The goal is for all of us to have that experience, of course; I really appreciate your patience as we come up with ways to make that a reality.

Many of you have offered your diverse skills to help with just that. I can’t thank you enough. We have a small team of folks working right now on a single-page website that will be a friendly starting point. Meanwhile, there are endless conversations taking place about what Uncommon is and what it can be. Just hit reply or email to join it. I can’t wait to start creating the real thing together.

Your thoughts

Here a few of the thoughtful replies you sent this week, about endless queues, curating content, and unexpected friendships.

[The problem with overflowing queues] is when I have time to sit and process, I’m not creating enough space for the content to affect me. I go from one article or episode to the next, never allowing any one to simmer. — Justin
My problem? I have plenty of "great" content available to me. A shelf of unread memoirs and short fiction collections. An absurdly overflowing Google Reader account. My untouched-as-of-late NIV. Instead, I attend to the biting flies of the information age. It seems to me there’s plenty of lovely, meaningful, challenging, inspiring content out there; it’s just buried in blech. — Kelley
About three years ago, I asked someone a question on Ravelry. What I enjoy about our relationship is how we found the things we had in common and from that a great friendship has developed. We may never see each other, as she lives in another country, but we have become like family. — Susan
In my mind, the best community is one that is reinforcing and bathing itself in things that are edifying, but pruning back for new growth to work it’s way in. I think we need to learn to live in the tension of familiarity and discovery, consistency and serendipity. — Adam

Uncommon reads

The Science of Compassion by David DeSteno

Simply learning to mentally recategorize one another in terms of commonalities would generate greater empathy among all of us — and foster social harmony in a fairly effortless way.

Are you Busy at Work, but Still Bored? by Mark de Rond

What I suspect [my boss] realized is that my boredom stems not from having nothing to do but from having nothing that seems worthwhile doing. We human beings are addicted to meaning, and this kind of existential boredom signals its unhappy retreat. Surely, it shouldn’t ever be as if you never existed at all?

Your turn

Finally, a few questions for you...

Full of ideas or fully perplexed, I’m eager to hear from you.

P.S. For next time, keep this thought in mind — What was my favorite place I went this week?