Streams


I’m working on a different mental model. New mental models can be extremely powerful. An example mental model is first principles thinking. Elon Musk described first principles thinking applied to battery manufacturing. First principles is also used by physicists and mathematicians. They use it to better understand the freaking universe.

I like to think in streams. Streams is a different mental model than events. Goals are kinda like events. You do it once, you achieved the goal, your done. There’s no flow, just a point in time. The event model doesn’t work well everywhere. Sometimes you never get there. Sometimes you hit your goal and the desired impact never comes. 

# information

Information streams pass through me every day. If I lived 50 years ago I would read newspapers every morning. Each news source is a stream of incoming information. Some of these information streams converge at me and become an outgoing stream of ideas, conversations, and correspondence.

# communication

Communication works in streams. Sometimes you have almost the same conversations twice or thrice. You need to repeat a consistent message. You need to ask the same questions over and over. Don’t worry about repeating yourself. If you do, you’re thinking too much. What’s important is to broadcast out streams of communication. 

They probably didn’t hear you the first time. Say it again. Instead of thinking of it as a singular event, think of it as a stream of similar but different messages. Re-broadcast your values and ideas until they stick.

# value

You add value to people in various ways. You are rewarded for this value. Value streams out of you and back in. Sometimes value can be represented as a number. Your bank account. Sometimes it can’t. Value ebbs and flows.

# time

Time is more valuable than money. Time flows. Most people think it flows at a constant rate. You can jump forward in time. You want to be somewhere in five years. Find someone who’s already there and sleep on their couch for a week. See how 5 years condensed into 1 week. Time travel.

You give your time away to people and things. Time streams out. People give you their time. People take time to listen to what you have to say. Time streams in. Time flows in streams.

# Mixing 

Streams mix and interchange. Time is traded for money, and money traded for time. The same for information. You hold the levers and switches to control these flows. You control where your information, communication, value, and time flow. In and out. 

# Direction

Most people soak up streams. They don’t generate any of their own. They consume, but don’t produce. What if you pumped out as many ideas as you took in? You could even multiple the streams. Producing more value for more people eventually reflects back to you. It’s giant network where each mind is a node. Don’t be a terminal node, let the streams ebb and flow.

Keep the streams flowing!

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