time to stop

Class 8:00-9:45. Email respondents 9:55-10:30. Haircut 11:00-12:00. Lunch with Riley 12:15-12:59. Arrive at work 1:00-…

“Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana.” -Groucho Marx

Do we lose a surplus of this valuable resource by tracking it so religiously?

In 1972, a game-changing piece of technology came into play that shifted the paradigm. Hamilton Watch Company presented the first iteration of Pulsar digital watches to a market that had worn only traditional (analog) clock faces. Before digital, we operated on a “flexible” system that incorporated time measurements like half-past five or quarter-to four rounding minutia. More laid-back business and social expectations characterized a western culture that was not yet defined by attitudes of the hustle, burn-out or “the rat race”.

A speaker I once heard challenged his audience to hold their phones, set their timers to one minute, and close their eyes when they started the timer. He asked us to try and preempt the timer going off by the lowest possible amount- using our internal clocks to get as close to 59.99 seconds as we could.

Nearly every person had undershot the minute by 15-25 seconds, believing a minute to be 20-35% shorter than it actually is.

When we track time, we lose it. When we live life, we gain it.

First, We Make the Beast Beautiful

I think we can all use a little of this right now.

I recently read Sarah Wilson’s enlightening book covering “a new journey through anxiety.” Her premise, aside from giving us a look into an anxiety-brimming mind and life, is based on an old Chinese proverb:

Before you can conquer a beast, you first must make it beautiful.

While practical treatment with medicine and professional treatment should always be considered first in cases of anxiety, depression and bipolar* (a place to call for those working through these struggles is here at government mental health departments), deep introspection and mindset shifts are what Wilson ultimately introduces to fight her battles.

*I retooled her premise with the perspective of mindsets and paradigms that I believe about myself. This is the direction I lead my writing…

What are the things we repeat to ourselves daily- The job market is too competitive to get hired, my work doesn’t compare to what they’re doing, I couldn’t mean enough to them.

What is the thing (emotion, belief, trauma) that “mantra” is rooted in? Fear of failure, self-loathing, self-defeating woe.

This is where Wilson steps in and says, “Yes, I’ve got these conditions (mindsets)… But they are also my superpowers.” She writes about the joy she gets writing letters to her brain, asking it questions about why it does what it does and why it thinks it can control so many of her actions. She befriends the “beast” and walks with it, not against it, to live a more healthy, less panicky life.

There is a meta-purpose to the battles we fight everyday against our minds’s pernicious games. We can conquer the beast and, behind its lies, find beauty. Make that a mantra.

Sarah Wilson, First We Make the Beast Beautiful.

more webbing

The Marvel Cinematic Universe, Lost, those cork-board, crime-solving, mind maps. Some people are obsessed with making everything fit together in a seamlessly holistic universe of multiplicative connections.

I am one of those people.

As long as I have thought about writing on a consistent basis, the idea of writing to create a spider’s web of interconnected thoughts and projects has been central to my planning and drive (CliftonStrengths assessment terms this proclivity, Ideation).

Spiders create a framework for their circular webbed pattern to be laid upon in the same way that builders construct scaffolding to shadow a house being built before any walls go up.

Initially, I wrote long-form, research posts that covered, in-depth, topics to my scheming. With new inspiration (see, a body of work), I have planted the seed of shorter writings that take only a day to fruit.

Using both approaches, I will build a trellis of ideas that can spread and take root.

I want to create something that lasts; something that is a foundation for growth to occur; something that unfurls for a lifetime and reaches parts unknown.

writer’s manifesto

Pulitzer Prize winning author, Junot Díaz, once spoke of “becoming the person you need to become to write” the book you want to write. A step further:

Become the book you want to write.

Writing keeps us honest in a way that speaking or other forms of expression can’t replicate. We examine our lives with ink-sized scrutiny. We reveal what we know and don’t know about a subject. We show how well we can draw truth from a thing.

… but only if we let it.

Writing can be the tool we use to make personal, societal, global change. We all have something to give to the world, but are we honest enough, committed enough, loving enough to draw it out of ourselves?

“Writing is the supreme way of blotting out your ignorance on a subject… It’s a confessional; it will reveal everything about you while you imagine you are revealing someone else.”

Bertoldo di Giovani, Florentine Artist

not writer’s block

Today, I wanted to write about Disc Golf and The Phantom of the Opera. What I didn’t realize (until thirty minutes in) was how different these two things were.

You heard me- “different“. Shocker, right?

Yes, I, and potentially thousands of other poor souls like myself, suffer from something I call “acute extrapolatory ideation”.

On occasion, I feel obligated, sometimes even empowered, to create the most tenuous links between things that I see in order to drive home a real truth.

Disc Golf and opera, killer whales and meditation, Space Jam and the top-hat, monocole-wearing peanut man (actually, that one works). The problem is, at times, the inexplicable connections created cloud that truth.

This is the antithesis of writer’s block.

The solution (for those of you curious for your own sake):

Draw out your stipulations to the farthest possible point. 1 in 32 times, you strike tungsten (valued at one, one-thousandth of gold- I can’t promise gold here! Who do you think I am? Seth Godin?). If your link between Lu Lu Lemon’s marketing strategy and a biblical truth really is flimsier than a crowbar at 2800° F, then that’s one less “rabbit trail” to hop down.

Or maybe, like me you’ll find a story beneath your story that contains more truth for yourself than for your reader.