Discovering Your Human Algorithm
How to live with meaning and purpose
In Discovering Your Human Algorithm, Zachary S. Brooks lays out an algorithm to follow to experience life with meaning and purpose with the 6As of life: Athletics, Adventure, Academics, Art, Advocacy, and The Human Algorithm.
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When do you feel the most fulfilled? When do you feel a sweet equilibrium of your mind and spirit while doing an activity? Which moments do you look back on with the fondest sensations? Which moments do you look forward to the most?
Everyone has their own answers.
I’ve asked myself these questions and for me I am the most fulfilled when I engage in one of the 6As of life – Athletics, Adventure, Academics, Art, and. Advocacy.
In the following pages, I’ll share my definitions of each A but let’s be clear.
Athletics is about movement, not being a professional athlete.
Adventure is about discovery and not necessarily extreme adventure.
Academics is about reflection and learning, not about getting a degree.
Art is about creation without a label.
Advocacy is about helping others without reward.
The Human Algorithm is about improving life processes on planet earth for the 21st century. It is the hardest to define but the most essential. It is a combination of the other A’s, but it is wholly its own mist-like entity.
Discovering Your Human Algorithm captures the struggles and opportunities in our daily lives. As humans, we live one day to the next. But our digital technologies give us the opportunity to create re-combinations of our lives daily. Technologies developed by our fellow humans present us with uncountable wonders but if we don’t learn these wonders actively, then how can we live effectively?
Any wisdom in these pages is like finding a long-lost friend. Others have assessed the world and shared their wisdom before. I claim no special knowledge merely I seek to put an illuminating frame on human best practices in order to live life with meaning and purpose. The time to live with meaning and purpose is always now.
Dive in the story right now.
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To be human is to move.
To be human is to explore.
To be human is to learn.
To be human is to create.
To be human is to help others.
To be human is to improve life on earth in the 21st century.
Discovering Your Human Algorithm involves ...
One foot in front of the other. That's all he had to do. That’s all that anyone else has to do. He had already finished 50 meters. Just 50 meters to go. The crowd grew louder. Johnny allowed himself to look up for a split second to see people standing and cheering. He couldn't help himself. He hadn’t hear this many people year since he left the hospital. While Johnny enjoyed the cheers, at the same time his father realized it had been a mistake to allow Johnny to look up. He pulled a little tighter on Johnny's back brace to find the right height. Johnny squeezed more concentration into every step of his specially-fitted walker adored with his team colors. Just two more minutes his father thought, 1 minute per 100 meters.
About 100,000 years ago homo sapiens from modern-day Ethiopia began to wonder: What if there are more resources over there? By over there, the hunter-gatherer tribes still meant to stay nearby. On average, this group of homo sapiens traversed about 54 steps per day, or about two or three houses away from yours. It’s your neighbor’s neighbor. After a week, the same people might have traveled 300 meters which is three-fourths the length of a track, or about 2-3 blocks of an American city. Just by venturing to your neighbor's house, in the course of 1,000 years you and your great-grand parents (30 generations) walked about 8,700 miles which is about the same as the distance from Los Angeles to New York, then New York to Seattle, then Seattle to Atlanta.
Basic Research is often thought of as theoretical and universal that adds to human knowledge. While basic research adds to human knowledge it often does not have an immediate practical application. This leads to criticisms about funding academia and research. After all, why fund, relatively speaking, things that offer no immediate value?
In 1960, Professor Dan Kleppner’s goal was not to invent a useful technology. In fact, his goal had no immediate practical value. Instead his goal was to study General Relativity which is the geometric theory of gravitation published by Albert Einstein in 1915. In essence, 50 years after one of Einstein’s discoveries Kleppner and his colleagues wanted to understand General Relativity through the invention of an atomic clock. Why? Just because.
Just because is often the answer to the question “why study that?”
It turns out the atomic clock, however, was fundamental to the creation of global positioning system (GPS) technology. Can you imagine your life without a GPS?
Art serves as a practical and usable metaphor for entrepreneurs who are trying to solve problems that are under-defined but instinctually precise. For example, an entrepreneur may be bothered by low educational standards in her school district. To address this issue, she decides to create a non-profit school raising money privately through friends and family. She has never started a school before or raised money before, but after finding success then applying for a state-grant that helps schools like hers, she is able to provide better education to kids and families most in need. At each step, the entrepreneur is like a sketch artist in front a terrifyingly blank piece of paper. At each step, she turns blank paper into papier-mâché.
The words “Assistance” or “Aid” were considered. They also refer to the act of helping another. However, once the act is complete the word doesn’t suggest further action. It names an action. It does not suggest a principle of helping someone. “Altruism,” the principle and practice of helping others, comes closest to Advocacy as it embeds action and philosophy.
Advocacy is used because it suggests a public act of support. Worldwide Advocacy has a cluster of definitions.
Advocacy translated to the five United Nations languages — Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian, and Spanish and the third most spoken language Hindi.
In Spanish, abogacía refers to the practice of being an attorney.
In Arabic, المناصرة refers to supporting, aiding, or promoting.
In Chinese, 倡导 refers to the act of initiating or proposing.
In Russian, пропаганда refers to information or teaching.
In French, plaidoyer means to plea or to address a court of law.
In Hindi, वकालत refers to the legal bar, the standard to becoming an attorney.
In each language, there is a public component for the concept of Advocacy.
The Human Algorithm
The final A of the 6As is called The Human Algorithm. The Human Algorithm refers to how our learning about ourselves and mastering our interactions with others and the environment are the critical components for living life with meaning and purpose in the 21st century.
Technology has defined our species. The invention of writing, the creation of the printing press, and the use of the scientific method have propelled humans along paths our ancestors may have only dreamed about. We are awash in technology.
Yet the coronavirus has spread. Its spread has been accelerated by misinformation and poor decision making. Would more technology help slow the spread of COVID-19 and other pathogens? Yes. But what we are seeing on a world scale is that the basics of handwashing, covering our mouths, and social distancing are the greatest tools in our arsenal. They are easy and powerful to use.
However, the adoption of these processes fails because of poor Human Algorithms.
What do I mean by that?
One of the biggest obstacles to slow the spread of the virus is how well societies adopt broad-based practices to flatten the curve. This is not rocket science. This is communication. The insurmountable problem appears to be the lack of common Human Algorithm.