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April 9th, 2019

Every individual has a limit to the resources available to them.  The two most notable resources that we near constantly feel the limits of are time, and money.


Our financial resource experiences a bottleneck when we ponder some exotic trip or some new wondrous toy and then simultaneously bills rain down through the mail.


Likewise with time, a bottleneck occurs when a child desires our time, but our work schedule doesn’t permit a chance to join that fieldtrip or see that jazz concert.


This extends to even the richest people on the planet, who are still only granted one lifetime, and no amount of money can be garnered that might redirect the whole world.


On a personal level and on an interpersonal level, our management of resources, whether they be time and money, or each other, experiences a web of bottlenecks.


For the individual, it may be possible to cut costs to free up available income, or design a new income altogether that might free up time while bringing in just as much money or more, allowing for that wondrous toy and time with children, spouses or friends.


We might even be able to see global bottlenecks as being composed of smaller bottlenecks of nation states, and from there we might see the bottlenecks that hinder a nation-state as the bottlenecks that hinder individuals.


And for the individual, we might wonder: where is the bottleneck that keeps a person from changing their life around?


More than money, time is the crucial component in this case.  If the resource of time is completely spoken for, than there is vanishingly little chance that a person will be able to ponder upon the design of their own life.  The racing rat has no time to think about the foundations of the wheel upon which it runs.


The ability to pause and zoom out on one’s own situation requires the time and space to do so.  Many people are so mindlessly inured of their own routine that no stock of their own life is regularly taken. Unexpected and traumatic events are often required to get a person to stop and look at what they’ve been doing and where they’ve been going.  But we need not wait for such unhappy circumstances to slow down and ponder about another way to go about this funny business we call living.


The daily meditator may seem to sacrifice 10 or 20 minutes a day in order to do nothing.  10 or 20 minutes that might seem wasted to another person, but the meditator gains back this time and far more by mindfully being present when others are too wrapped up in the swirl of their own daily drama.


It seems like a step backwards – to give up time in order to make other moments more useful, but it’s akin to the painter stepping back from their work to see how it looks from far away.


We might see another bottleneck cracking in a similarly counter-intuitive way.  Moving to a part-time job may severely hinder the cash flow and seem like a tighter bottleneck, but if that extra time can be spent thinking about other forms of income and other clever ways to drastically cut costs, the freedom of such a schedule also lends to more time with a family.


With the bottlenecks that seem to suffocate our resources, it’s often a tradition or entrenched behavior that keeps at bay the hack that can circumvent the clog on our potential. 


Conversely, there are all sorts of things in our lives that – if bottlenecked – would benefit us tremendously.  The easiest one is bad food.  If there were some sort of systemic bottleneck on the amount of junk food we could get our greasy paws on, there’s not a doubt we would get healthier.


Bottlenecks on social media, entertainment, and screen time in general would no doubt proffer huge benefits also. 


We might even glimpse how the placement of one bottleneck frees up another.  Severely limiting time in front of a television certainly frees up some time that might otherwise be spent on something more productive.


Inevitably, bottlenecks are good for two things: the first is -naturally- pouring a limited amount from a bottle, unlike jars, bottles were designed like this to limit how much we might swig.  This can very easily be a good thing, if this bottleneck were limiting a potentially bad thing in our life, like social media or alcohol- to be as literal as possible.   The second good that comes from bottlenecks is that they form a good handle, that can be gripped and swung, to break and release all the stopped up potential that might help you level-up.


This episode references Episode 42: Level-Up.

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