I met up with jonah today for dinner since he was visiting the city, and we atlked about what we’ve been spending time on and the projects we’ve been working on. Jonah’s been spending time working at Bubble as well as deeply exploring the crypto space: investing, developing, and now learning how to audit. One thing I really admire about him is that he goes all in on things. You can tell almost off the bat that there’s this inner fire burning in him that compels him to act and contribute and push forward for the things that he cares about.
We talked about our dating lives and the kinds of things we look for in a partner, and one of the shared aspects we’re looking for is this sort of inner fire. It’s hard to quantify and more of a “IYKYK” sort of thing. I think the closest that I can come to capturing it is finding someone who you know to be singularly dedicated to their passions and wants. One giveaway is that they’re unafraid about being intense about said passion. They may not actively show it in public, but they have a stability in their identity being tied to this thing that they love so much. It’s the quiet confidence that you see in a craftsperson, one who prides themselves in their level of craft and their dogged dedication to honing it. I think this is a great signal for people who feel steady in themselves, who are unafraid to seize what they want regardless of what the world says or the hardships that the journey implies.
At the same time, I think you can take this fire too far to the extreme and become exacting on the kinds of people and things that are “worthy” of your time. If you let your ego catch up, you start to think that everyone else has to be at a certain bar to hang out or collaborate with you, that others' need to match your fire exactly in order to pass the litmus test.
The ideal state is one where you have the fire for what you want to do, but its touch is gentle. The goal state is an oxymoron. A feathery intensity, a gentle hurricane, a soothing fire. It means being uncompromising about what you love and fight for, but also embracing playfulness in every moment. I think the people that can create fun in whatever they do (whether it’s picking up trash or making a drink or walking in the rain, etc.) while pursuing irrationally ambitious ideas strike that perfect balance, between raging like a wildfire towards your dreams and flowing like a gentle wake through every wonderful moment of life. At this paradoxical meeting point, I think you approach living life as fully as you can.
It’s a great example of the IQ bell curve. If you go too far in analyzing your far and exacting out the value, you become trapped in the middle, trying to exact the perfect arrangement of peers and activities to realize self-actualization. On the far end, you love what you do and you’ll dedicate your life to pushing those passions forward, but you also enjoy life for what it is and enjoy the creation of cool things for the simple joys.
I’m sure this balance is something we’ll work on for the rest of our lives, which is probably means it’s pretty important that your partner is on the same page for chasing this path.
This is the 72nd installment in my experiment of publishing raw, lightly edited mini-essays every day towards achieving 100 public pieces. Check out the rationale and the full list here.