A Short Thought on Healthy Confidence

There’s this mindset that you should be supremely confident in your words, all the time, and command respect everywhere you go because — within this mindset — your social respect is your total value. Now, I think this is a horrible mindset — and I think we’ve all seen this mindset play out in social and professional situations. In the worst situations it can be toxic; even in the less egregious situations, it’s manipulative and produces less-than-optimal project outcomes. Having a base level of confidence is healthy and good. But beyond this base level, I try to keep my confidence … Continue reading A Short Thought on Healthy Confidence

Start with Experience, Not Ideology

Main point: Many people filter their experiences into representations of their (oftentimes political) ideology. Don’t do that. That’s bad. Instead, follow your experiences and integrate that into who you are. 1. Debate.org This shouldn’t be surprising to anyone who knows me. When I was a teenager, I spent about four to six hours a day debating philosophy, theory, and politics on an online debate forum. I made 1000s of posts on there. (You know these long rant-like pieces I do here on my blog? I can read many of my first manifestos — which had way, way worse writing, and … Continue reading Start with Experience, Not Ideology

The Importance of Win-Win Relationships in Organizing

Over the last two years as a hobby, I’ve been reading a lot of self-help books. Really, my reading self-help books is a spin-off interest of one of the main driving passions of my life — organizing. They’re really quite similar fields: the caricature of self-help is that “if your life sucks, it is up to you as an individual to fix your mindsets and behaviors, and then you can thrive,” while the caricature of Left organizing is that “if your life sucks, it is up to you as an individual to gather as a group and create/alter social structures … Continue reading The Importance of Win-Win Relationships in Organizing

3 Thoughts on Radical Trust

I’m curious what your thoughts are. 1. I’ve gotten to a point in my development where — as long as it’s not prima facie ridiculous/dangerous, until I am proven otherwise, and especially in the moment — I am believing totally in the truth of what other people are telling me, regardless if I know them or not, and as a principle. This allows me to more fully empathize with other people and the complex grays that are universal human consciousness. It also opens space for others to trust me back, which is the open and honest space a lot of … Continue reading 3 Thoughts on Radical Trust

In Defense of Positivity Culture

As the sort of meta-emotional-cultutal — idk, how to say — “vibe” sinks lower and lower, more and more people are turning to self-help, spirituality, and New Age ideas to cope. And with the rise of self-help, spirituality, New Age thought, etc., so too has risen criticism from the Left (and others), particularly around “positivity culture,” which is the idea that you should think positive and that by doing so you can improve your life through “the law of attraction” (similar internal thoughts/energies attract other similar thoughts/energies) and “manifestation” (internal thoughts can become your external reality). The criticisms of positivity … Continue reading In Defense of Positivity Culture

Union Organizing toward a Meditative Energy

I touched on this topic in a post a year ago, where I explored in detail how inner beliefs (such as self-love) affected one’s subtle behavior, and how putting effort into changing one’s inner beliefs could, thereby, actually create a massive improvement to one’s organizing results. I’m quite proud of the theory I proposed in that post. A year later, though, I want to expand on that topic, but this time, to go even further: to explain how the best union organizing requires a deep investigation of one’s emotional being and how complete presence (i.e., existing without much thought or … Continue reading Union Organizing toward a Meditative Energy

Against Pure “Authentic” Organizing

David Letterman has this new show on Netflix called “My Next Guest Needs No Introduction.” The first episode has now been released, which features an hour-long interview with former President Barack Obama. Sad and drunk on a Sunday night, I’ve been crying for many more minutes than I’d care to admit — weeping hard at about the 29 minute mark of the interview. Obama is now a historical figure who’s greatest life’s work are definitely behind him. He has nothing to prove, nor any outcome or effective agenda at this point in his life or for the rest of his … Continue reading Against Pure “Authentic” Organizing

An Exposition on Mental Health & Organizing, Part 2: The Subtle Ways Your Soul Makes a Profound Impact

A month ago, I posted this:  An Exposition on Organizing & Mental Health, Part 1: My Story. There’s a lot, a lot, a lot of stuff in that post to unpack, but for now, I want to expand on this central idea: if you are using Left organizing to bolster your sense of self-worth, you will necessarily create a co-dependent relationship with Left organizing, since there will always be more campaigns to win, it will never be enough, and you will always still feel perpetually incomplete (as I’d found through many years of personal experience). Instead, if you learn to … Continue reading An Exposition on Mental Health & Organizing, Part 2: The Subtle Ways Your Soul Makes a Profound Impact

On the Importance of Having Thoughts & a Life Outside the Left

This is a hard organizing truth that took me the better part of four years to truly internalize: if the majority of what you think about and talk about is Left politics, you will not be an effective organizer for the Left. Why is this? 1. While if thinking about and talking about Left politics the majority of your waking hours might make you a leader among the Left — there is already an abundance of leaders among the Left, whom Lefties follow. What is needed, now more than ever, is moving and activating the vast majority of people who … Continue reading On the Importance of Having Thoughts & a Life Outside the Left

The Beauty of Union Organizing

For me, one of the best things about union organizing is getting to listen to dozens, hundreds, thousands of people’s life stories. And really, what are we but what we’ve done, what we’ve been through, and our values, our beliefs, and our feelings about all of life’s Stuff. Being a union organizer is getting to be — way more than full time — an explorer of humanity, and your job is to find some way to connect as deeply as possible with as many people as possible. Wow, how beautiful. Continue reading The Beauty of Union Organizing

The Postmodern Apology

There’s this thing that I call a “postmodern apology” that’s pervading our conversational language. I first noticed it as something we tell ourselves; increasingly (or maybe I’m just going crazy — it’s not like I have quantitative proof this is happening in our culture), the “postmodern apology” is something we’re using with others. Here’s an example of me doing it to myself yesterday. I thought to myself, “I can’t believe I ate so much. I do this all the time. Uggghhh, this is unhealthy…” Now, notice: it’s not that I ate a lot, I felt bad, and so I thought those … Continue reading The Postmodern Apology

Golden Rule of Left Organizing

General rule of thumb: the more Left organizers want to talk with me about anything but politics and organizing, the more I trust them. They care about me as a person; naturally, that makes me care about them too. Yes, rapport building is important for organizing. But importantly, rapport building not for the sake of organizing. That’s the wrong frame. You give a shit about other people, period. Also then organic relationships help politics and organizing. The world is too dark for anything else. Continue reading Golden Rule of Left Organizing