We Are What We Create

How to Play the Game of Building Your World

By Tyron Mott on February 23, 2019
Last updated on February 5, 2020
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Sunnyvale, CA, US

Creating Building February Black History Month Destruction Construction

Hey there - Welcome to VentureTy! Thanks for stopping by and being a part of my first blog post ever 🙌🏾! If you’re fluent in fun and are looking to jog your mind, improve yourself, deepen your connections, and find some inspiration, you’ve come to the right place. Having basic proficiency in emoji and dry humor (attempted or otherwise) is a plus.

So, who am I? What is this place all about? What should you expect? Patience, young grasshopper - all will be revealed soon! You could check out the About page if you wanted a sneak peek of my story and what VentureTy represents. I won’t judge you for skipping ahead, but you’ll definitely want to come back. Now before we begin, relax and let your mind wander a bit. Take your time on this journey. This is your time, and you deserve to reclaim it. Envision yourself zooming out over your life so you can have the perspective to make new connections and play with the ideas that await.

🚀 Zoomed out yet? (View of Medellín, Colombia)

We Create

First, I’m going to remind you of something you already know: We’re all creators. Builders of our selves and the worlds around us. Who we are, how we’re growing (or shrinking), and the environments we live in help shape the types of things we build and the ways we create. Our creations matter because they’re the strongest signal to ourselves and others around us of who we are, what we stand for, and what we have to offer. They’re the objective content of your voice that lies beneath words. Maybe you’re building a family? A career? A company? Some of us might be building experiences, joy, unity, safety, or wealth in ourselves and our communities. Others, intentionally or not, may build chaos and divisiveness.

The first critical step arrives once you have some clarity on what to build (i.e. a vision). You must start taking some action - both to create and to improve your capacity to create. How do you approach turning your vision into action? Are you an intense planner before making your first move? Or do you throw everything against the wall and roll with what sticks? Are you a delegator, or do you prefer to roll up your sleeves and jump in yourself? Of course, each thing we set out to build requires a unique mix of approaches, and it’s our job as creators to be intentful with the balance.

This is how I created my song, Plus One. As I write and revise the song, I use stickys for meta-notes about the music such as tone, tempo, voice, or structure that I want to weave in.

Destruction and Construction

One dimension of creating that must be balanced is destruction vs. construction. For me, every creation project comes with a mix of both - letting go of something old to make space for future progress. Good news is we don’t necessarily have to start from scratch. We can usually recycle old materials for use as scrap metal to apply to our new construction. For example, I recently decided to disable all phone notifications outside of specific office hours. My phone and various social media and app accounts were the old materials that I decided to simply use in a different way. For me, this new way preserves more room to focus deeply on my creations (though, admittedly, at the expense of having to protect and train others on this new boundary. Not to mention dealing with FOMO 😬).

It’s great when we can build on top of what’s already there! But sometimes, the entire forest needs to be burned to the ground and cleared out before our visions can begin to take root. It’s valid to decide that the cost of keeping something and transforming it is not worth it. Maybe the effort to transform is too high. Or maybe it’s too costly to maintain, and would only weigh you and your vision down.

In the software building world, this dilemma is a flavor of the classic Buy vs. Build problem, where you must weigh the cost of buying existing software and spending to customize it to suit your business needs against spending to build a custom solution from scratch to suit your needs specifically. In relationships, we may create projects to build depth or have new experiences with those we care about. But inevitably, we have to choose if the people and values that make up the relationships can be transformed into what we want, or if they must be released. And as a musician, I remember a period back in high school jazz band when I would marvel at all the fast runs the sax greats like Charlie Parker, Cannonball Adderley, or John Coltrane would rip in their solos. I still do actually 🎷. But as I began to model my own improvisation after those licks, one of my instructors at the time taught me that the space in between notes is just as important as the notes themselves. What you don’t play, but let the audience expect to hear can be a powerful blank canvas for making a musical statement. Jazz is all about making statements through burning expectations.

But sometimes we need to start forest fires. Figuratively. Sorry Smokey.

Do you ever feel like when you focus on an important project, other creations you’ve built start coming apart or screaming for your attention? Maybe you’re doing great eating healthy, but your work performance is slipping. Or you could be crushing it at work, while straining your relationships outside the office. I’ve struggled with this feeling as I was managing a career in software, actively maintaining some substantial weight loss, launching a music company, recording and writing for other musicians, holding an executive seat in my fraternity, adulting, and trying to remember to connect with others and have fun. Looking back now, I see that life was telling me to choose something(s) to purge so fewer things can be built and maintained better.

We, as creators, can do anything, but not everything. And we shouldn’t try for the same reason we shouldn’t try to have everyone like us - we end up giving up more of ourselves than we can afford, which hurts our ability to focus on what’s core to us. In trying to do it all, we divert necessary energy away from what we love most and what we need to improve ourselves.

What needs to be destroyed in order for you to start or continue building?

Yes, I shed a small child once. I had to let go of comfort - physically, emotionally, and in relationships. Since then, no matter how fun or exciting a new creation might seem, I've chosen to not let it touch energy I direct towards continually creating a better version of myself physically.

Play the Game

Destruction vs. construction is just one dimension to keep an eye on. The larger point is this: To be successful at creating, we need to define what success means for us, identify our principles that give us space to create, boldly execute, and work to nurture our ability to continue building. Stay tuned for more content to help bring your blueprints into focus, inspire you to take bold action as you craft your world, and show you ways I’ve dealt with obstacles, so that you’re prepared to identify and tackle your own 💪🏾.

I’ll use this space to share my art, thoughts, plans, and sources of inspiration with you all. I’ll also use the power of asking the right questions to help you along. Go ahead and respond to The Prompt, and share via the buttons below if you’ve found this post helpful.

Let's create our own world with space to continue important discussions and learn something from each voice, no matter how different from our own.

The Prompt

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What are you creating within yourself and for those around you?
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I promised to share more, so here are some things I’ve created in February. February is Black Heritage. Love. Connection. This is the month to honor relationships and connections of many forms - whether through deepening existing bonds or creating new ones. As we aim to create better worlds, we must identify which connections to things should be destroyed to make space for the right conversations to be had and for bold action to thrive. Maybe it’s comfort, convenience, ego, or fear. But something’s gotta go!

There’s always a cost in choosing to not destroy something that needs to be let go. That’s because everything you own also owns a part of you. These reciprocal relationships require some level of constant energy to be maintained so as to prevent unintentional destruction through neglect. But, that’s a topic for another post 🙂. Just know that if we fool ourselves into thinking we can create without destruction, we’ll either fail to create or destroy something anyway without realizing it. Thanks in advance for listening and receiving!

These Ancient Eyes

I enter the day individually blind,
Sensing the world through ancient eyes.
They pierce through every modern convenience and distraction,
Reducing All This Complexity to more simple, primal forms.

I am blinded by social media.
These eyes see community divided, conquered, and controlled.
Atop each dollar in my pocket,
I can vaguely make out a smug, grinning face.
These eyes see slave owners still putting me in my place.
I am blinded by the fast-food-like ads and hype.
These eyes see through the mass distractions,
But its tears cannot douse the fires consuming the village -
Pillaged. Walled off. Still burning to the ground.

But these eyes have seen a lot...
They roll at the same old images cycling again -
This time projected on a shiny, slick, modern backdrop.
These eyes sharply cut in defiance towards the same oppressive forces -
Now repackaged and polished for easy swallowing.
Yet, these eyes are resilient - not a crow’s foot in sight!
Black don’t crack.
Revealing in plain sight what’s hidden,
Black absorbs all the light.
So know that we enter the day collectively glowing -
With power and with ancient vision.
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