Yesterday, I was wondering what it would be like to return to a state of innocence like before I was aware of the wicked ways of the world.

Remember Supertramp’s Logical Song, kind of like that before they sent him away!

I was ruminating about this over a turkey sandwich in Starbucks and this poem poured out:

Before you became aware of your sexuality,
Before you became aware of sex,
Before you became aware of good and evil,
Before you became aware of violence,
Before you became aware of deceit,
Before you became aware of betrayal,
Before you became aware of hate,
Before you became aware of work,
Before you became aware of money,
Before you became aware of death,
Before you became aware of sin,
Before you became aware of ‘I’
Before you became aware of limits,
Before you became aware of heartbreak,

There was bliss.

Chad Dickerson’s words bare repeating:

Maybe if we all gave each other the space to be complex people — not reduced to public perception, our professional bios, our LinkedIn profiles, others’ narratives of who we are — we might understand each other better and give ourselves the room to be messy but wondrous human beings

This is the first thing I read this morning and it has set the tone for the day. The things is, I spend a lot of time fighting with myself inside. On one side of the divide, I’m trying to limit myself online, to niche as as they say, because the logic goes: you’ll attract a larger audience, the narrower you go.

On the other side of the line is me, the renaissance man, the jack of all trades, the curious George into everything.

I hate the idea of putting myself in a narrowly defined boxed.

I like things to be messy.

I feel as human beings we have the capacity to be many things all at the same time and that we don’t need to be small, we can be big and expansive into anything and everything, exploring our curiosity.

We don’t have to be like insects and be specialists. We should indeed celebrate our infinite capacity to be many things.

I stumbled upon the “stock and flow” conversation again today. Quite timely really as I’ve been reevaluating where and on what I spend my time on when I’m on the Net (actually as I wrote that last bit, I thought, hold on, the Net is always on…am I ever really off of the Net (as my watch just dinged me to let me know I have a new notification, but that is a discussion for another, I think).

Robin Sloan, the guy who wrote the original post, defines stock and flow as:

Flow is the feed. It’s the posts and the tweets. It’s the stream of daily and sub-daily updates that remind people you exist.

Stock is the durable stuff. It’s the content you produce that’s as interesting in two months (or two years) as it is today. It’s what people discover via search. It’s what spreads slowly but surely, building fans over time.

*stock and flow btw is an economic concept that Robin adopted as a metaphor for writing in the connected world.

As Robin writes:

Flow is ascendant these days, for obvious reasons—but I think we neglect stock at our peril. I mean that both in terms of the health of an audience and, like, the health of a soul. Flow is a treadmill, and you can’t spend all of your time running on the treadmill. Well, you can. But then one day you’ll get off and look around and go: oh man. I’ve got nothing here.

That’s the situation I’m trying to avoid – having no stock – because I spend way too much time creating flow. And there’s a good reason for that. Flow is quick, as quick as a retweet or a share. Creating stock, on the other hand, takes time. Time to sit and think. Time to digest and make sense. Time to craft the sense-making into something readable to others. And, finally, time to share.

That’s a lot of time.

And who has time?

Of course, if I cut out the time I spend on flow, I’d have more time to spend on stock. But you ignore flow at your peril too:

This is no time to hole up and work in isolation, emerging after years with your work in hand. Everybody will go: huh? Who are you? And even if they don’t—even if your exquisite opus is the talk of the tumblrs for two whole days—if you don’t have flow to plug your new fans into, you’re suffering a huge (get ready for it!) opportunity cost. You’ll have to find those fans all over again next time you emerge from your cave.

Somewhere in all of this, there has to be some balance.

And that’s the trick isn’t it, balancing the two – stock and flow.