100 Smiles in Seattle

Help us highlight Seattle’s happiness on Tuesday by causing a smile and posting it on our Facebook.com/7cees or tweeting it @7_cees with the hash-tag #SmilesInSeattle.  It’s a ‘cheese’-y campaign we know (sorry, had to), but who doesn’t want to see another smile or 100?

After our open conversation event last night and our recent exposure on Reddit, we decided we needed to stay at least an extra day or two in Seattle to try something new: gauging our success with an actual metric (crazy, right!?).  Well, now we are, and we’re pursuing a goal of 100 pearly-white pictures in a day.

In our search for direction and passion last night we were joined by Franck Nouyrigat of Start-Up Weekend, Kyle Kesterson of Ew Awesome, Zane Salim from Microsoft, Journalist Johnathon Fitzpatrick, Joshua Evans of B-Side Music, neighbors Lisa and Kelsey who work in retail and law and two film students (hopefully we’ll find their names soon).  Having such a mix of people and backgrounds made things a bit chaotic but also resulted in some great footage and ideas.

One prevailing theme last night and in other recent conversations regarding our project is that it’s ambiguous what we can actually DO on the day-to-day to accomplish our seemingly abstract mission.  We’ve been actively pursuing personal growth and self-expression, but up until now it has been hard to determine what to do to make ‘progress’ in some greater sense of the word.

It’s tough for our team to address this idea of accountability because one thing that’s core to our venture is the freedom we’ve found from the need to always put things in terms of traditional models of success.  Freedom itself, I’m personally realizing more and more, is a lot of what it is I was initially looking for when formulating this journey.  This isn’t to say that anyone was keeping me un-free; rather just that I realized I’d been holding myself back with preconceptions, doubts and the fear of what other people would think of me.

Having left home and found freedom, the question presents itself: now what?  Do we continue to live completely free and suffer the fate of directionlessness, or do we create structure that allows us to have greater impact at the risk of trapping ourselves and tainting the purity this trip has preciously held for each of us?

I think this quandary really gets at what makes it difficult for people to both both do precisely what they want and coexist productively.  It’s not necessarily that people aren’t willing to take the leap and try- though that is a prevalent dissuasion- it’s also that it’s very hard to be yourself in a way that contains enough consistency to earn a living without the guidelines of an established product or service.  I suppose celebrities do this pretty well.

Even entrepreneurs who set out to manifest their vision are almost always forced to do so within a system of metrics set by society at large. A company’s direction is determined by what the market is willing to pay for, and unless incredible marketing is involved this will be something that people can understand and already know they want.

Anyway, back to our issue at hand.  To make some kind of move we’ve decided to try different metrics out for a few days or weeks at a time and see which ones we can accomplish without sacrificing the integrity of our mission.  Tomorrow, we try smiles.  Maybe next week it’ll be classes taught or voters galvanized or trees planted.  We’d love suggestions on this, if you have any let us know!


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