Friday, December 21, 2007

The art of start - Make meaning

I've had this book for many months now and only now did I try to read it -- ok ok, because I've been pushed to do so now. It's a book about starting something -- a business book. I know, I know...boooring...but it's really not. It's easy to read, inspiring, and most of all - easy to understand. There are some business books that are easy to read but you get to say "huh?" in the end. This one really relates. This one just boosted me out of it.

Philosophical musings on Kawasaki's Art of the Start book
Part 1

The Art of Starting
In the first chapter of Guy Kawasaki’s book, The Art of Start, one must note three important points.Make meaning. Ask Women. Get going.

Make meaning.

Before we delve on the “make meaning” part, let us first define the word meaning. Meaning is a word too often used but never really quite understood. Oftentimes, it is associated with words and defined as significance, importance, worth, even value. In Kawasaki’s book, the word meaning was more associated with word, reason. Reason is used in a more active sense whereby it is used to describe a certain force to push you to initiate a change by which you yourself must believe in. Thus, to make meaning, is really to create a central force that you must first understand and internalize before anything else. A force you have to build and push until it is big enough to push you and the others involved. This is a very fitting form of the word meaning because when you start something, that something is not yet in its actual state but a potentiality. It has the potential to be a success and it has a potential to be a failure. Thus, the word meaning in the context of starting cannot be associated with the word value or worth or significance. You cannot find those when you are starting because you are still building a ‘worth’ and a ‘value’ for it to be something of significance. Thus, in the art of starting, it is often a mistake to ask one’s self the value of your start. It doesn’t have one. It cannot have one… So don’t ask if it’s worth it. It will never get you anywhere. It’s like writing and editing at the same time…In the end, you make no sense.

In view of Kant, people have this intrinsic worth in virtue of their capacity for autonomous choices that makes meaning a function of the exercise of this capacity. We all have the ability to create choices, and to start is a choice. So to make meaning is to exercise your capacity to decide. Make up your mind, only you can push yourself to start something.

So to make meaning is to push a force out of you. You must find a reason to start, a reason to focus on, a reason to ponder upon until it makes your head aches and makes your feet itch until you do something about it.

Some examples of Kawasaki’s meaning of meaning are:

· Make the world a better place.
· Increase the quality of life.
· Right a terrible wrong.
· Prevent the end of something good.

These may seem too universal, but I think, what he is driving at is that you have to find a reason -- build a force that will does not only involve you but rather would be a linking chain you can share with other individuals as well. On a deeper, I think Kawasaki wants to point out the fact that you must not be lost in existential meaninglessness. By this, I mean the sense of being ‘lost’ and considering it a state of being. For you to be able to come up with a strong force to begin with, you must first be able to embrace life. You must live and love it coz the journey to starting something is a journey where you might be relatively lost sometimes, and your embrace for life will put you back on your feet again. To be relatively lost is to be specifically confused and disappointed because of some discrepancy between established criteria and observable actualities and is based mostly on intellectual information. To put it simply, starting something doesn’t necessarily mean you can end it. You have to know what you want and you must fight for it. It’s a dog-eat-dog-world out there.

Be tough not only for yourself but for everyone concerned.

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