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Erik Trautman

“Everything you can imagine is real.”
-- Pablo Picasso

Zyglis trump

Trump, The Long Con and the Great Con

The proper way to start a conversation in San Francisco during the past couple of weeks has been to ask "how are you holding up?" A palpable sense of pain, disbelief and fear has captured the city since the recent and historic upset in the presidential election. To those outside the city this may seem like an excessive comparison, but I honestly haven't felt a sense of shared loss and mourning like this in the 15 years since the national tragedy of 9/11.

I knew this outcome was a possibility, especially given the trends of the previous few weeks and the dangers of voting between such deeply unfavorable candidates. On the trading floor, you have to develop a healthy appreciation for clear signals that "the market" is trending away from what you consider to be "the fundamentals". In this election, it felt like sentiment was divorcing aggressively from fact but, until the very end, it still seemed like the results would be forgotten as just a painful close call.


Rocky ii training montage

Those who Challenge

A common saying holds that you are the sum of the five people you spend the most time with. More simply, the people you surround yourself with matter. They are the sounding boards for your ideas and the key forces which shape your growth.

Growth is achieved only when you are challenged. It isn't a single-track process but occurs across four dimensions (which are simply the four dimensions of self):

  1. Physical
  2. Intellectual
  3. Emotional
  4. Spiritual

Most of the challenges you will receive across these dimensions are laid extrinsically by others because it's basically impossible to change a system without some form of external stimulus. People can challenge you via three modalities:

  1. Inspiration: They inspire you by exhibiting a behavior you aspire to enable in yourself.
  2. Collaboration: They offer to work with you towards a shared goal.
  3. Direct Challenge: They lay a gauntlet at your feet and say "show me".

Inspiration is the wind at your back and it's maximized by putting yourself in an environment where you are constantly inspired by the people around you. Moving to San Francisco and choosing to live in a co-op based around the goal of "mutually assured non-complacency" were two big steps towards my doing this and I'm endlessly curious to find people who inspire me, whether they are intellectuals, artists, entrepreneurs, or pretty much anyone living their life fully engaged.