top of page
  • Writer's pictureMichael Barrett

Four Minute Friday #4 - Agency, Social Media & Thoughts on X.

The Super Simple Process to Create What You Want.

Check out last week's post for the discussion on internal and external reality.

This week I'm briefly addressing the philosophical side of this diagram, specifically:

The Channel Of Life.

It's more philosophical with an actionable takeaway at the end.

How much agency do we have?

The simple answer is: As much as you decide to have.

In practice, the answer is more complicated.

Intentionally selected: orientation > thoughts > words > actions > habits

Skillful execution of this sequence will give you significantly more agency than without, but obviously, there must limits.

What sits above this sequence, is a knowing that you are an individual component of a bigger whole. The bigger whole is the channel of life and it is NOT optimising for your individual experience.

This may be confronting but it's natural. Nature doesn't optimise for the experience of an individual organism. It optimises for the whole, for the continuation of the ecosystem that contains all the individual organisms.

You do the same. The bacteria in your digestive system are individual components that make up a greater whole (your body). Sometimes you might optimise your decision making in their best interests but often your decisions don't consider their welfare at all.

For example: You may take antibiotics, at the suggestion of a doctor, for an infection unrelated to the bacteria in your gut. In this circumstance, your gut bacteria, have effectively zero agency or influence over the outcome.

This is a harsh and uncomfortable reality.

It is an inconvenient and unpalatable truth.

Because it's a truth, ignoring it will only reduce your agency in other areas where you can have influence over the outcome.

Remember you (the you encaptulated within your body) are a small piece of a bigger whole.

The bigger whole optimises for itself, with at best, temporary consideration of your experience and welfare.

The upside is a paradox.

Recognition and acceptance of how powerless you are on this higher level, can give you enormous power on the lower level of creating your every day life.

It's simple but far from easy.

Where are you at now?

Behind and need to catch up (-1>0)

Stable but want to be better (0>1)

Maintaining through life changes (1>1)

Accomplished with BIG ambitions (1>2)

Through my observation, the fastest transformations are often (-1>0).

But only for those who start.

My Take on Using Social Media, continued...

I'm following on from last week's post when I introduced this topic.

Similarities and differences between online and offline life.


  • Locations are used for different purposes. Guidelines are established (written or unwritten) for appropriate conduct within any given space.

  • When you're new, you'll probably have a vague idea on how to conduct yourself but understanding all the intricacies will take time.

  • You will make some social faux pas, this is normal and happens every day.

  • Even if you get everything right, some people will like you, others won't and most will be indifferent to you. This is exactly how the social world has always worked.


  • Communicating with several people at once is much easier.

  • There's a record of interactions that, in some cases, cannot be erased.

  • The volume and speed make it difficult to distinguish the important from the urgent.

  • Our body language, facial expressions and vocal tonality are often left out.


  • All social interaction occurs within context. What's socially acceptable changes, often in a short space of time. Your historical post will usually be judged, within the current context, rather than the social context at the time it was posted.

  • There are big financial incentives for the platforms and creators. This results in content that increases engagement. Usefulness for the consumer is often an afterthought at best.

What I find the Hardest:

  • The absence of non-verbals. It's like trying to understand someone in a noisy space, when they wore a Covid mask and you couldn't see their lips. There's important information you are missing from an interpersonal interaction. Missing this nuance can be inefficient and result in frustrating misunderstandings.

  • This is why I will move more towards creating more videos. Because of what can be added to a message in terms of expression and body language

The underutilised benefit:

  • You have a much wider reach in finding people you have something in common with. That's how friendships are generally formed, when two people are in a similar life stage. The problem is, the older we get, often the less in common we have with friends from our past. We're just not in compatible stages of life anymore. Generally speaking, meeting people requires increasingly active participation as we age. Without intentionally prioritising this, it doesn't happen.

  • Seeking help with something specialised is much easier on the platforms. Someone has probably done whatever you are looking to do and they are often sharing this information liberally.

Blurring the lines between work and play:

  • Increasingly, work is becoming about drawing broad information together and combining it in a unique and useful way.

  • This often requires a team of talented individuals with very specialised skills.

  • Talented people often have strict criteria for what types of project they are willing to work on. Usually the combination of personalities they want to work with too.

Talented individuals want to enjoy their work.

They don't call it work. The sentiment is:

"I'm working on a project I enjoy with people I like spending time with. There's no difference between Work and Play"

The network effect of social media drastically increases the probability of this group of people finding each other.

In last week's post, I spoke about including my personal Rules of Engagement for participating in social media. This post is long enough so I'll include those next week.

My Current Thoughts on X.

As I mentioned above, I'm moving towards creating more video content. Spending the last few weeks on X is part of this decision. While I will continue using X, it will not be a main focus. Simply because I'm finding the format (short form, text only) a chore. The ideas I have, I'm excited to communicate via a format I will have more fun with.

Expecting everything to be fun is unrealistic and naive, there's definitely a time for doing your chores, but this is not one of those times or one of those chores.

The pyramid of cubes from my banner will be a central part of this.


bottom of page