Friends Don’t Let Friends Think Alone
Howdy everyone, Happy Tuesday! Today we have an exciting announcement to share with you. We are launching a new aspect of IHD, but more on that later. First, in case you missed it, last week Shane wrote an awesome article that argues why we should value in-person school over most other considerations when we create policies to manage COVID-19. Read the whole thing to decide for you yourself, but here’s a hint: humans, especially kids, need connection and collaboration more than any individual piece of knowledge. And that brings us to our Stuff.
ONE FROM THE AGES
We’ll begin with two short ideas from former Chief Supreme Court Justice, Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.
“To have doubted one's own first principles is the mark of a civilized man.”
"Many ideas grow better when transplanted into another mind than the one where they sprang up."
ONE FROM TODAY
Author Seth Godin on tribal connection:
“A tribe is a group of people connected to one another, connected to a leader, and connected to an idea. For millions of years, human beings have been part of one tribe or another. A group needs only two things to be a tribe: a shared interest and a way to communicate.”
Source: Tribes: Why You Need to Lead Us
ONE FROM US
Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. was appointed to the Supreme Court by the most gritty and bold American President, Theodore Roosevelt. He eventually rose to Chief Justice and authored many decisions that set legal precedents that still affect many aspects of American life today. His legacy now extends far beyond his legal role with the seemingly endless quotes—from his decisions and other writings—that offer pithy wisdom to us all. It is not an exaggeration to call him one of the best thinkers in history.
Yet, his two above statements reveal how he came to think the way he did—other people. While trusted for his logic, compassion, and independent, objective thinking, he might direct much of that credit outward. Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. knew that while we can acquire knowledge in isolation, we only grow wise through our connections with other people. We require challenge from relationships and discourse to fully embody our knowledge. We often require collaboration with others to bring our ideas into their best form.
Information is awesome. I love books, podcasts, TED talks, and just about every other form of information transmission that humans have come up with. But knowledge is only as valuable as what we do with it. And most of the ways that we integrate new information into our lives require other people. Try to explain a new factual tidbit to a buddy and you’ll find out how well you actually understood what you read. Debate a thoughtful and articulate person with opposing views and you’ll discover just how “well-reasoned” your ideals are. In nearly every area, we learn more from exposure to others than we can from months of study in isolation.
We say that “it takes a village to raise a child,” but we never outgrow our need for communal influence. It also takes a village to create and maintain a capable and wise adult. Our mission for IHD has always been to create a tribe—a group that provides the challenge and collaboration that pulls everyone to a higher standard. We assembled (or rather you all assembled yourselves into) a great community of readers and subscribers around the values of growth and education. Many of you have taken this connection even deeper through the 30x30 challenge or other courses.
It would seem that we have both ingredients of the tribes that Seth Godin describes—shared interest and a way to communicate—until we think about what it means to truly communicate. Online, distributed tribes lack the connection that happens through repeated face-to-face interactions. As amazing as our technology is, we cannot simulate body language, facial expressions, and the sound of another person’s voice. Passive online courses and even follow-along videos lack the vulnerability we feel when we speak directly to a group and the passion we feel as someone else expresses their unique perspective. This is the shortfall that we aim to solve.
We are launching live IHD courses. These are the closest virtual equivalent that we can create to a Socratic seminar or a campfire chat. Each course is limited to only eight participants and consists of eight 60 to 90-minute video group discussions over four weeks, each meeting centered on a theme and an assigned reading. We’ve laid out the course outline and readings, but plan for each discussion to travel to unexpected areas based on the members’ different perspectives. The small group setting and balance of structure and freedom will create the optimal environment to explore different values and incorporate pieces of what you learn into your life.
The first course is called You Are What You Stand For, built on the idea that every great society throughout history defined a heroic ideal. Modern culture now offers justification (and even celebration) of many destructive patterns and no clear guidance on what it means to live a meaningful life. This course will guide you to define your personal heroic ideal. You can find more descriptions and details here:
Each month, we will run new sessions for this course. We’re beginning with only a single session this month, but in the future, we will offer multiple sessions. So, if you don’t get one of the 8 spots this month, you’ll have another opportunity to sign up soon. We would also love to hear from you with any topics you’d like to see in a future course.
We’re are offering members a 50% discount on all live courses. You can find the discount code in your Podia account here. If you aren’t a member yet, now is a great time to sign up. The savings on your first live course is more than the cost of an annual membership.
Join us to create the type of intimate tribe that Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. no doubt had behind him!
I look forward to meeting some of you “face-to-face” soon.
Life is too short to be normal.