On piste: Your Facebook. Your Twitter feed. Your email newsletters. The books on your shelf. The articles you read. The people you talk to regularly.
On piste is your bubble. It’s the world that you’ve been carefully cultivating for yourself. A world that parrots what you want to believe. A place that re-affirms your favourite and most cherished ideas. It’s your own personal sandbox.
That’s why it’s so dangerous. We have the tools to eliminate everything that we don’t want to see. Our books and our articles and our music and our television are chosen for us.
When you’re on Netflix, you can watch a movie you’ve read about and that has been recommended to you. Or you can watch something you’ve never heard of that might be good. The former option is the least risky. We don’t like risk. We don’t want to put our time and energy on the line. So we go with the safe option.
The consequence of this, of constructing a tightly controlled world, of being risk averse in our consumption?
We become brain dead. We forget what it is to explore. How it feels to go off piste. It’s easier to let others do it. After all, you’ve got stuff to do, and it takes time to think about what you’re looking for. To navigate the labyrinth of search results, back links and little known sources. It takes energy to be curious and inquisitive.
So why do it?
Because if you stay within the bounds of your current environment, you get the same as you’ve always had. There’s nothing to challenge you.
But go outside the realm you’ve created for yourself and you find some incredibly valuable things: Ideas that challenge your beliefs. Perspectives that you’ve never considered. People with different upbringings and experiences to share. Different styles and forms of expression.
Basically, the things that are most critical to your growth.