My Origin Story — And Why We Need Human Embodiment AND Technology

Dall-E-2

My Origin Story — And Why We Need Human Embodiment AND Technology

You’ll notice that I weave back and forth between inner transformation and technology.

This is because I believe that our survival for the next age will require human embodiment AND technology.

I feel that weighting one side over another either ignores the urgency of the moment, or the riches of our biology.

Since I started this series, a few people have asked me how I arrived here, so I wanted to share my origin again.

Go here to read the series

To begin…I have to start with a story…and a confession.

My story is this:

Once upon a time, I ran operations and go-to-market for Blizzard Entertainment China, specifically World of Warcraft China, which at the time was the largest branch of one of the largest massively multiplayer online video games in the world.

I’m a member of a small club of people who have overseen operations of massive games like these.

Given the size of my business, I was also one of the most senior women in video games, globally.

I was living the life in Shanghai.

My apartment was in the New York Times and I had a busy social life.

When people ask me about what living in China was like, I answer quickly, “I had the time of my life.”

Both professionally and personally it was a period of intense growth.

Professionally, I had the opportunity to develop a proven skill set on a scale shared by probably less than 50 people in the entire world at the time.

Personally, I traveled extensively across Asia and took up combat sports – even having two fights.

My confession is this:

I was successful by all accounts but living with a deep loneliness, and a sadness about feeling so lonely, that I told few people about.

You see, at a very young age, I decided with child’s logic that I would be on my own in life and would need to be able to take care of myself.

The hyper-independence that began as a coping mechanism, became a habit, that as I grew older, compounded, and I felt less and less connected.

When I hear statistics that loneliness is an epidemic – I really get it.

To me, loneliness has nothing to do with how many people you know, how popular you are or aren’t, or how many face-to-face interactions you have.

From my experience, loneliness has everything to do with how interconnected you feel.

This is where the anti-technology folks miss something.

It’s not the technology.

It’s the level of interconnectedness between us.

It wasn’t just me though.

Many of my friends felt lonely and weren’t happy either and none of us knew why.

I was in my mid-thirties, smart, successful, healthy, and popular with a bright future.

I was also afraid.

That I wasn’t smart enough.

Good enough.

Pretty enough.

Hard-working enough to get married, get rich, get noticed, be valued, be wanted, be safe.

Of course I didn’t realize this yet.

All I knew was that my emotions swelled and rolled.

That I jumped at the shadows of anyone’s disapproval.

And that I constantly auditioned for friends and potential boyfriends alike.

My mind was wearing me out.

We all have decisions made with child’s logic – that no longer serve us.

But, how often do we get to break free of them?

I’m very lucky, because I did.

I broke free in a garden in Southern Japan, outside Kyoto.

Somehow, I found my way into a Vipassana silent meditation retreat.

This retreat changed my life because ten days later, I left feeling happier than I had ever been.

And unafraid.

I now know that the human mind grows fearless, when the inner chatter is low.

And I now know that when the noise inside goes down, our ability to connect with others goes up.

When I felt this, I recall thinking:

Maybe, just maybe, I’m not alone.

And with this, the sadness that had been with me for a very long time – lifts.

And I feel more alive than I had in all my years of accomplishment.

More alive than I had in all my travels.

More alive than when I fought in the ring.

And like anyone, who has been in a jail of the mind, when I see my moment, I make for the walls.

And I fly out.

Free.

First, I want freedom for all who I love.

Then, I want it for everyone.

For you.

For us.

This led me to neuroscience, psychology, technology, and a great deal of personal development work.

To neuroscience and psychology to understand what happened to me — mentally and emotionally.

Because I believe 1st principles applied to the human condition, will ultimately lead you back to the human mind.

And Technology because it is that thing that makes what is scarce — abundant.

And thus scalable, affordable, and accessible.

So why not the same for mental and emotional wellbeing?

Being on the back-end of a game like Wow, I witnessed — connection, community, friendships, and shared experience.

I’m not an auto-rejector of technology.

I think we need it to be better designed and human centered.

So I wondered, what if the technology in our lives supported us mentally and emotionally?

Could we open greater levels of happiness, connection, meaning making, emotional regulation, self-awareness, creativity, imagination, lower fear, empathy, compassion, wisdom.

And even joy?

Could technology help transform our minds, and thus our world?

And personal development work because I had a childhood to make sense of.

Halo habits to deconstruct. 

A nervous system to unkink.

And a mind to expand.

And that’s how my journey started.

I can describe the growth triangle in such detail to you because it’s the framework I used to shift my paradigms, break my patterns, and increase my capacity.

I work one side, and then another, and then another.

Initially fast and desperate.

But now in friendly slow and easeful cycles, ever deeper, ever curious.

I listen closely to other peoples’ growth journeys and can place the tools on the triangle to help me understand more about their experience.

When we think about our minds, our emotions, and our ability to connect with one another most don’t typically think about technology.

But we should.

Because the future of the human mind is in fact an exponential technology story.

I believe my journey across neuroscience, psychology, technology, and personal development work is why I can weave back and forth – pulling here, pulling there, bringing transformation and technology together.

To successfully navigate the future with our humanity intact, we must harness technology to assist us in putting out the fires of the human mind.

In getting the skills in place for social and emotional health.

And unlocking the bonus levels of human cognition.

And it isn’t human embodiment OR technology.

It’s both.

Love,

Nichol

SERIES:

5/9/2022 – Overview: Deep Human – Warm Up
5/15/2022 – Build while Being
5/25/2022 – My Core Premise
6/1/2022 – Growth Triangle
6/8/2022 – The Choice
6/15/2022 – The Growth 🔼 – The Metaverse — a Growth Triangle for Billions?
6/22/2022 – Design Principles – The Metaverse as Human Potential Tech
7/7/2022 – The Stack

(Photo Credit: Dall-E-2)

Comments (6)

  1. Maria

    Love reading this, and feeling a relatedness to my own both-and journey. Looking forward to when our paths converge.

  2. Terence Daniels

    Very enlightening and eye-opening.

  3. Jenny Soo

    Hi Nichol
    What a journey u have had (we had so many wonderful experiences together in Shanghai) and an amazing journey you are on. Sending love and light.
    Jenny 🙏💋💋

  4. Ken Johnson

    Nichol, The life changing wisdom, you have unleashed within yourself, Can it be learned through the playing of a game, hypnosis or what is the process of learning those skills for the average person.
    Much Love,
    Ken

  5. Troy

    Reading this I wonder when you are going to lead the development of a game which activates the growth triangle and leads humanity into a era of flourishing. I look forward to becoming an early employee and working with you on this <3

  6. Joanna

    Hi, I am a trustee of a charity which is aiming to achieve super radiance (the Maharishi effect) through employing transcendental meditators to meditate. There is a great deal of research showing how this stops war, reduces crimes, improves the economy and elevates the collective consciousness. Research has also showed how only 1% of the square root of a population is needed if the meditators are advanced Siddhis. That is 9000 people for the whole world. However, this would cost a great deal of money and the finances and the political will is not currently there. I have been wondering whether tech could play a part in elevating collective consciousness? As a non tech person, I have no idea!

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