Editor's letter for the Summer 2021 issue of Pepperdine Magazine.
Don’t let the compelling cover art fool you. I had no idea what lay ahead when I first had the idea to explore the bewildering world of blockchain in Pepperdine Magazine a few months ago. My mind was riddled with questions and doubt. Would readers be interested in dissecting the many layers of blockchain that elude even the sharpest minds? Could the Pepperdine community speak to the nuances of blockchain technology and could I find the diverse perspectives needed to tell the story? Was I the best person to educate readers on the topic? I’m not a tech expert. Where would I even start? My fear and, admittedly, dread morphed into impostor syndrome and took me from “Let’s do this!” to “What have I gotten myself into?”
The entire experience—right until the moment I submitted the draft I had written, rewritten, edited, and fact-checked the life out of—reminded me of a quote I had recently heard on a TV show: “Some people can only see what scares them.” Scared I was, as I pored over pages of reports and infographics while researching intricate concepts I had never encountered before like nodes and P2P networks and nonces. I couldn’t bear the thought of misleading readers with my—at the time—elementary comprehension of cryptocurrency. I was lost, and my singular job was to make sure other people found their way through the winding world of my writing.
That’s what fear does. It consumes you to the point of paralysis and convinces you that you will fail. I snapped out of my fear funk only when I realized the secret support system that was rooting for me all along: the subjects who had helped me wrap my head around their innovative and inspiring work in the blockchain space. My solitary goal became less about what I could (or couldn’t) accomplish and more about what they had.
At Pepperdine, we are blessed to be surrounded by people who commit themselves to the work that challenges them beyond their comfort levels. Through Pepperdine Magazine, we have the pleasure of celebrating and learning from them. In this issue, we meet a television executive who graciously and adeptly took on an iconic role of a lifetime at a critical point in pop culture history; a record-breaking student-athlete who took his best shot at a professional career in basketball; the Waves who went for the gold at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games; and, of course, the brilliant blockchain brainiacs who graciously dedicated their time to educating me and, by extension, you, about their wonderfully complex world.
We may only see what scares us, and sometimes that’s OK. Yet, while fear is one of our greatest motivators, it is also one of the hardest hurdles to overcome. But with a caring and committed community around us, we can be gently guided out of fear and into a space that restores our faith in ourselves.