Culture Pivots

Any time is a good time to change, but some are better than others. Beginnings of years, months, weeks or days work pretty well to take stock, look around and set out in a new direction, project or context. Historically humans have created many other ritual junctures such as the beginning of a new school year, a new season, or a new job and in addition to these generally held opportunities for pivoting, the faith or belief systems you have been born into may also provide excellent times to detach, reflect and set set off consciously in new ways. Several somewhat specialized cultures I was born into in no particular order are starting books, entering new school years, being a New Yorker and being a Jew, all of which could be argued are variations on the same theme. My mother was a school teacher so growing up the beginning of the new school year in the fall seemed more important to her than the New Year in January. Since everyone in my house read lot of books, there was a pretty good chance on any given day, that one of us was starting a new one which was in some way entering into a new universe every time. Then there was being a New Yorker, which means living in place that is so full of vigorous vital change as to still be unmatched even after living elsewhere for decades. This evening begins Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year which was explicitly designed and designated as a time to pivot, making it a truly excellent pivot time shared by millions around the world.

What do I mean by pivoting? Well my definition does not matter, yours does. Whatever you are doing and whatever dream you are living in, there is always an opportunity to step back and observe yourself and your activities at a meta-level, to ask yourself who you are, what are you doing and why, and to observe who is asking these questions?

As infinite voyagers surfing the dimensionally vast set of options and opportunities, sometimes called problems, we are to some degree always aware of choices we have in terms of where we live, where we work, who we spend time with, what we are focused upon and the huge set of constructs and frameworks we voluntarily subordinate ourselves to at any given moment.

The fact that a group of people thousands of years ago thought it was worth while to annually detach and zoom out to look at life from a broader perspective, from which we could effect a restart with no blame by forgiving ourselves by letting go of the past, is informative. The fact that millions of people worldwide will begin this ritual cultural reset is instructive. It must have worked somewhat or they would not be doing it for thousands of years. Personally, I am always willing to use any excuse to pivot since the world and my life rarely appear to be the way I think it should be which propels me to be an involuntary innovator who welcomes pivot points. It makes me feel alive to let go of where I was and go somewhere new, as I like to be in motion and clearly I am not alone in this perspective. Creative people are forever re-engineering their lives and our world which is where progress comes from, which is a good thing worth celebrating and calling out.

As an infrequent practitioner of the religion I was born into, I had to be reminded by my sister that Rosh Hashanah was coming in a few days. As a dedicated pivot fanatic I immediately jumped on the excuse to regard today as a special opportunity to change. To be fair, I do have a lot of these days, as I feel any moment could be a time for change, but why waste a perfectly good culturally sanctioned coming down from above directive to zoom out and take a look from a meta-perspective at what is going on, and how to change it.

This holiday occurs at a point where seasons are changing, especially clearly in New England where leaves are on the move and the color show is just breaking out. Coincidentally the school year has just begun for millions. I will be driving today through said foliage on the way to a super exciting school in New York City, making the number of pivoting excuses at an all time high today, even for an entrepreneurial involuntary innovator addicted to pivoting.

Guess it is time to figure out what to pivot about now that I have invited all of you to do it.