What Does The White Man Want?

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What Does The White Man Want?

I had dinner tonight with Deanna Latson and Patrick Combs talking about a variety of topics. At one point I asked them about which direction they thought would be best to take Swift Kick between adding an additional channel to focus on corporate culture training, or to continue to build out services for student leaders and stay within the edu vertical. As we debated between the validity of both paths, I left the conversation without a clear conclusion, but a lot of thoughts.

On the drive home from dinner, Patrick mentioned a story he heard about when the United States were pushing the Cherokee Native Americans further west, one of the eldest Cherokee members would often ask his people, “What does the white man want?” As it seemed like there was never enough, and the American immigrants from Europe always wanted more.

Our brains have a habit of pushing us to seek what’s next instead of being content with the moment we are in. I sense my anxiety increase when I compare myself to others, or I feel like I’m not getting what I want. Often I get that thing I wanted, but my brain still wants more. As if it’s saying, “Great, you got it and that’s cool, but it’s not nearly as cool as what’s over there.” And onward I march up a mountain that has no end and only false rest stops along the way.

“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.” – Albert Einstein

Maybe the whole concept of “want” is the root of the problem. What would it be like to live life without an attachment to wanting something, but rather doing something because it feels right? Or living in each moment for the moment that it is, instead of plowing past it to achieve a specific want?

If I asked myself, “What do I want?” I could create a laundry list of things that every western self help book has taught me to do. It’s what I know, it’s the society I’ve been raised and trained in. But maybe the answer to my original question isn’t to start with the end in mind, but rather come from a place of “Now” and move in the direction that feels most right, and let go of all my attachment to specific wants or outcomes.

“I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of so they can see that it’s not the answer.” – Jim Carrey

Tom Krieglstein
Tom Krieglstein
Student retention fanatic. Founder of #SAchat, AlumniChoose.org, & SwiftKickOnline.com. Also, NY #TechStars Alumni.