Issue #2: Spectator Mode
If you ever played Minecraft, you will already know that there is a feature that allows you to switch to what’s called a ‘Spectator Mode’. In this mode, the player is allowed to fly around and observe the world without interaction. It also allows you to be invisible.
Life also tends to have a Spectator mode, and 2 other modes.
I would say that there are 3 modes that we can operate through in life ->
While in Minecraft, switching between modes is as easy as clicking a couple of buttons. In real life, however, switching between those modes can take a couple of more challenging steps.
1. Spectator Mode
So many times in my life, I was very much only a spectator. I was simply observing life passively as it was happening to me.
I remember on my last 9-5 job, I would wake up and immediately feel this dread filling me up from the inside out. I would arrive at work, make my coffee, then within an hour or 2 zone out for the rest of the day. Watching the clock wishing for the day to end but at the same time feeling helpless at my life wasting away one day at a time.
I didn’t feel I had a say in any of it. It was as if my life was a bad TV show that I did not enjoy watching but couldn’t change the channel.
This mode of living was not just in my work life, but was how I also operated in other areas such as my relationships and my health.
2. Proactive Mode
This mode is about being proactive while participating in whatever it is you choose to do. Being engaged is a requirement.
This mode is the threshold for a Minimum Viable Life (MVL). It’s where you actively take feedback from your reality and circumstances then iterate on your MVL adjusting your habits, mental models and actions taking radical responsibility for all of it.
Without this mode, we fall back to spectator mode where we are just drifting along waiting for things to happen and outsourcing responsibility and with it our self-respect.
It’s important though to distinguish between proactive mode and hopeful mode. The former can sustain you while the latter wears away.
While being hopeful is great, it doesn’t carry you when things get tough. I mean a new year is coming up and a lot of hope for many people comes with it. We all know how busy gyms get come January and how they start to go back to their pre new year’s levels by February… It’s simple - things get tough and building a new habit is hard.
Hope alone doesn't cut it. Being proactive and adapting to your changing circumstances does. The more flexible you are, the more sustainable you can be, the more likely your new habit will stick.
3. Creator Mode
As the name suggests, this is basically GOD mode and no one can achieve it!
No, just kidding…
This mode is where the real magic happens as far as creative living goes.
Choosing to be in this mode for me is choosing to NOT be an endless consumer of, as David Perell put it, the Never-Ending Now.
What you choose to create is not as important as the act of creating. It’s about being in that mental zone of creation that matters.
So how do you make a choice to be in the Creator Mode or the Proactive Mode ? Well it all comes down to self-awareness and knowing what values you want to align your life with.
What worked for me was meditating every day as well as journaling. This helped create that mental space to be able to choose my operating mode in different areas in my life.
Also labeling these modes separately helped me to separate them from my ego. Hence, they are almost like an alter ego or a persona that I choose to take on when undertaking a new endeavor or doing actions that initially contradict who I was before.
(For more on this idea of creating an alter ego, I would highly recommend this book ‘The Alter Ego Effect’ by Todd Herman)
For me I have chosen photography and starting this newsletter as my creator mode outlets. I am also dabbling with filmmaking and learning to code.
This is what I have chosen to commit to. Those creative outlets might evolve in the future or I might narrow down on 1 or 2 of them that I enjoy the most. But it really doesn’t matter as it’s being in the creator mode that counts.
Quote that stuck with me this week:
“The evidence is in, and you are the verdict.”
Tweets that I found powerful →
I really love this tweet above because it illustrates the deception of time so elegantly. This concept of being too late or too old to start from zero is often nothing more than a social construction that so many of us have let into our consciousness as if it was the truth while it’s nothing but a narrative that killed so many dreams and talents.
I enjoyed the simplicity of explaining wisdom in such a way that’s very concise while also having layers of meaning.
I loved the way you carried that game mode metaphor through the piece, Dana. Nice!