Tag Archive: active participation

Active Participation at SXSW

I’m at SXSW in Exhibit Hall 5, waiting for a presentation. I’m sitting in the second section of seats, next to an aisle and near enough to a door for easy exit, if I’m not enjoying myself at any point. I have a great view of the speaker podium and the big-screen TV where the speaker will be projected in larger-than-life. I’m thinking about the fact that I always choose this seat.

It has a great view of all the action, but it’s not really in the mix. Not pressed by crowds, not irretrievably committed to the event. It’s a perfect snapshot of my old life — the one I left behind. I’ve spent much of my career in the background, reluctant to take the spotlight or make a no-going-back move. I like to leave my options open. This seat perfectly reflects that.

In the last nine months, I’ve done the opposite: left my job, left my lease, left my stuff and committed to a major change. I’m creating things and pursuing them to their logical end. I’ve abandoned the easy-out approach to life and decided to give this period of time all I’ve got, so I’ll never feel like I didn’t try. So far I’ve done a lot and learned a lot, and I can feel this accelerating. I’m hitting the gas pedal harder, not the brake.

But I’m still sitting in this seat. Why? I promise myself, for the rest of the conference, that I will sit in the center, in the mix, and make myself part of the event instead of observing quietly. I intend to get the most out of this, too.

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