Ascendance [n] - Pushing the limits our of innate potential

We have the wealth and technology TODAY to build star trek cities and render our wildest dreams in real time. Yet despite all this recent growth, we are experiencing population decline, a growing mental health crisis, and the large-scale degradation of our environment.

We can’t just grow anymore. We need to grow up.

The challenge we face is not driving new growth… What we need more than ever is a narrative to direct our growth. We need to align our thought, word, and action towards unlocking our highest spiritual potential.

The new paradigm is no longer growth, but Ascendance.

Balaji Srinivasan - Former CTO of Coinbase
Balaji Srinivasan - Former CTO of Coinbase

Ascendance is a spiritual concept, meaning it encompasses the entirety of our humanity. To Ascend implies growth, yes, but with vision and purpose. Ascendance is to push the limits of our innate potential, elevating mind, body, and spirit holistically.

We desperately need a new generation of leaders who push themselves, their brands, and their communities to Ascend. The way each leader goes about this will be different, but through the concept of Ascendance, we can begin to unite around a shared purpose: unlocking individual potential.

This is the new model of growth we are shifting towards as we enter the WEB3 era.

WEB3 - Designing the Next Internet

WEB3 can essentially be described as the shift from centralized networks to decentralized networks, or from the "Semantic Web" to the "Spatial Web." The most exciting aspect of WEB3 is not Bitcoin, or NFT’s, but the potential for new forms of governance.

WEB2 was built as a function of existing governance and capital markets. For example, Facebook was (and still is) thought of as just a product/service in the open market. At some point we realized that this product, or "app," was destabilizing political systems, causing addiction, negatively affecting the mental health of teens, etc…

The responsibility of managing the negative effects of this “product” was passed off to our government, which was 5-10 years from even understanding how to start governing social media.

WEB3 could be different, primarily because WEB3 projects are being established at the governance level. Through tokenization models now possible with blockchain, we are able to not only create better apps, communities, and ecosystems, but rewrite the incentive structures that drive them.

Capitalism in WEB3 can adopt an abundance-based paradigm. We have consistently increased wealth and production capacity on a global scale for decades, yet this is not reflected in our social and economic reality because of lack of ownership.

Instead of a platform monetizing your energy, time, and resources as a middleman (e.g. Instagram), you could effectively become a co-owner of that platform by holding tokens. If the platform helps unlock your potential as a creator, the value of the platform's token grows. Since everyone holds the token, everyone benefits directly on all sides of the equation.

By transitioning from “user” to “owner,” we fundamentally transform our relationship to digital networks. Web3 business models empower the average person to own and benefit from growth across companies, asset classes, and industries.

Additionally, WEB3 communities are emerging around a shared aesthetic experience. In the old game, emotional intelligence, spiritual awareness, and artistic sensibility were “nice to have” soft skills that could be abstracted away. In the new game, most hard skills (programming, finance, management science, etc) will eventually be abstracted away, leaving the aforementioned qualities as key drivers of value for almost every organization.

All of this is creating the conditions for a massive shift in how humans work, play, and live their lives. My generation (I’m 26 as I write this) is planting seeds today that will not only define the next version of the internet, but the games we’ll be playing in 2030, 2050, and beyond.

Don’t Hate The Player, Hate the Game

“Institutions will try to preserve the problem to which they are the solution.”

-Clay Shirky

At a very young age, I realized that life is basically a series of games. Most people just play the game they were given, but there are always a few in every generation that break their script and change the game for everyone.

Take Kobe Bryant for example. Even now when he’s gone, Kobe’s impact is undeniable. As a kid, and a basketball player, I grew up aspiring to be like him. Deep down we all want to see how far we can go, how powerful we really are.

2020 showed us how fast the games of life can change. In many ways, Covid was just preparing us for what comes next.

Legendary investor Ray Dalio recently released a video on the changing world order, illustrating the current shift happening on a geo-political scale. The game is evolving whether we like it or not, so we might as well lean into it.

Legacy institutions and leaders that had a role in the old game are fighting to maintain their authority. Think subsidies for the coal industry during the Trump presidency, or Facebook trying to own the metaverse by changing their name to “Meta” (knowing that a truly decentralized metaverse will undermine their core business of monetizing personal data).

It’s easy to point fingers as we gain awareness, but it’s important that we don’t “hate the player,” when the problem lies in the old game itself. Blaming those in power is not helpful, in fact, it is a behavior pattern that perpetuates the old narrative.

Each of us is doing the best we can given our situation and level of awareness. It’s prideful to say that we would act differently in someone else’s shoes, without living the story that brought them to that point.

We must start by taking responsibility for ourselves. Instead of being critics of the old game, we must be leaders… creating the next set of games consciously.

The frame of Ascendance applied to Game Theory is the shift from zero sum games to positive sum games. To create a new game, you cannot use the tools and language of the old game you are trying to transcend. You can’t create peace by practicing war, or produce love by speaking hate.

We need an entirely new paradigm.

Visionary leaders like Jordan Hall and Daniel Schmactenberger refer to this paradigm as Game B, which is an aspirational vision for how our games could evolve. I will speak more about this in the future, but it is an important concept for any emerging leader to be aware of.

Just know that the biggest shift happening to our game today is decentralization. On the surface, WEB3 is the decentralization of tech infrastructure. On a deeper level, we are decentralizing the way we make sense of our environment.

The Narrative Crisis

“What man actually needs is not a tensionless state but rather the striving and struggling for a worthwhile goal, a freely chosen task. What he needs is not the discharge of tension at any cost but the call of a potential meaning waiting to be fulfilled by him.”

-Viktor Frankl

Never before in human history have we been positioned to grow so fast in such a short period of time. Despite all this growth, we seem to be regressing as a culture.

Populations in many western democracies are declining. Prevalence of mental health symptoms like depression and suicide are skyrocketing. Scientists are projecting extinction level stress on our planet. All this during a time when we have the most wealth and technology we’ve ever had.


According to leading scientists, an average person living in 2022 processes as much as 74 GB of information every day. This number increases by 5% annually. 500 years ago, a highly educated person processed 74 GB of information in an entire lifetime.

Our parents grew up watching the same 6 o'clock news every night. There was a limited number of “trusted” channels, papers, magazines, and voices that almost everyone followed. Now there are as many outlets to follow as there are accounts on social media.

People today, especially young people, are struggling to make sense of their environment. The amount of data we are processing, coupled with the breakdown of centralized sense-making systems (e.g. CNN being a predominant source of truth), has pushed people into isolating bubbles. We have created an environment where two neighbors on the same street can live in two completely different realities.

The Capital Riots of early 2021 were a prime example of the division and violence that can happen when the narrative breaks down. It’s easy to look at that event and believe that “your side” had the correct narrative, but stopping here is extremely dangerous. We should not assume that an information environment which mislead others won’t hinder our own ability to discern truth.

We have to stop fighting for narrative dominance, and start to design better ways to make sense of our environment.

This starts with a personal narrative. Developing a Personal Narrative has been linked to improved mental health in young people. Creating an empowering personal narrative helps us rise to our potential, and protects us from being trapped in fear based, “Us vs Them” stories.

In his book, “Man’s Search for Meaning,” psychologist Viktor Frankl talks about his experience as a prisoner in Nazi internment camps. The narrative each prisoner created from his experience was literally the difference between life and death. This extreme example illustrates that no matter the circumstance, we can create a narrative that either empowers, or imprisons our mind.

Most people today create an identity around the game they are playing. Entrepreneur, teacher, athlete, father, mother, influencer, politician, doctor, etc. This isn’t inherently bad, but it does limit us within the frame of that game.

To Ascend (unlock our innate potential), we have to get outside of our games and build an identity around a deeper narrative. This means using tools like yoga and meditation to get outside the ego, re-evaluating our core beliefs, and working to integrate our shadow self.

For leaders in an emerging space like WEB3, these practices are essential. The impact that we have in the world is a reflection of our own Ascendance. The more we heal, alchemize our darkness, and create a new personal narrative, the more we will help others do the same.

Creative Destruction

“Let the past die, kill it if you have to, that's the only way to become who you were meant to be"

-Kylo Ren

Everybody has two choices in life.

1) You can follow the path of least resistance, play the game you were given, and become a product of your environment. Most people choose this path.


2) You can take on a challenge bigger than yourself, redefine how your game is played, and push the limits of your innate potential. Those who chose this path drive all tangible progress in the world.

The process of becoming yourself is not a process of learning, but unlearning. Not a process of addition, but of subtraction. As we wake up to the reality that life is just a series of games, we realize that we can be almost anything. However, we often forget that we can’t be everything.

If we are everything, we are nothing. Formless.

It is the negative space, what you don’t see, that imbues a sculpture with its form. You start with a block of infinite possibility, but you end up with a finite shape. The beauty of the shape comes from cutting off potentials that do not align with its final form.

We can grow infinitely in any direction, but if we don’t choose the path that leads us back to our own divine nature, we will just end up back where we started, or worse, isolated in our own personal version of hell. This is why growth is not enough. Ascending is both growth, and death. Killing what we could be so that we can become who we must be.

The same principle applies to WEB3. It could be almost anything, but if it is not sculpted purposefully, it will just return to our cultural equilibrium, reflecting the same sins that defined the generation before us. To sin is to miss the mark. To Ascend is to remember what the mark (truth) is and align with it.

The Dark (K)Night

Many empathic individuals have been going through an awakening process these last few years. This often looks like a Dark Night of the Soul, where the old self literally breaks down so that a new self can emerge. Oftentimes this comes with some kind of health, social, or economic crisis. It is a painful process, but an incredibly common experience among anyone who is emerging as a leader today. This will only increase in the coming years.

We can see this same phenomena reflected in society at large. In the last few years, our collective shadow is coming to the surface like never before. From police killings broadcast for billions to see, to “Healthcare” industries that monetize disease, to the dark thoughts and emotions easily expressed behind a virtual screen.

All of this coming to light could lead to a beautiful integration and ascent, or a very dark dive into dystopia. Both are happening right now, depending on where you look.

In the movie “The Dark Knight,” the character Harvey Dent famously says “The night is darkest just before the dawn, and I’m telling you, the dawn is coming!”

People love to use this quote for encouragement during dark times, but we forget that the Dark Night forges The Dark Knight. The night is here for a reason. Trump, COVID, social media driven isolation, systemic racism, chronic disease. The more aware we become of the darkness, the more we can begin to define our light. The more we face our own disgusting shadow, the more we can alchemize it in to art, media, brands, and products that unlock our potential.

The true power of “WEB3” is not in its technology, but in how technology will allow us to change the game. It's first and foremost a psychological opportunity. A narrative reset button.

WEB2 was built by humans who either did not understand, or willfully ignored the psychological implications of the technology they produced. As leaders in WEB3, it is our job to use technology, media, business, whatever our medium is, to unlock individual potential.

But WEB3 won’t save us until we save ourselves.

If we are able to take a step back and create a shared frame around what is actually meaningful. If we create a personal narrative around Ascendance instead of our finite games. A new generation of conscious leaders can emerge, diverse in thought and method, but united in purpose.

We were born Kings and Queens, we learned to be slaves. Degrading ourselves by trying to compress our consciousness into games that did not serve us. Now we have an opportunity to reconnect with our divine potential. Why would we not do everything in our power to be as dope as we can possibly be?

We don’t need to grow, we need to Ascend.

Per Aspera, Ad Astra


My name is Will Preble, I’m a WEB3 entrepreneur, Media Strategist, and Yoga Teacher. I’ve helped found several companies including Aeterna Media and Smart North. Currently I’m developing a creator token platform for music artists, and consulting on brand, media & web3 strategy for various brands, artists, and public figures.

Ascendance is a brand and a podcast I’m creating to drive a conversation around WEB3, Leadership, and Human Potential.

You can get in contact with me via social media, or by email (

If you like my work, you can purchase this article as an NFT, or feel free to support me at kingwillxm.eth

Much Love🤞🏼

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