Ever see a drunk man climb and bounce upon a traffic light as if he were riding a mechanical bull? I have. It was one of the many crazy memories from the crowds that poured into the streets to celebrate the Boston Red Sox defeating the 86-year curse. This wasn't just a curse of a sports team. It was a curse that had plagued the very souls of the people of the city.
One of the holy grails in personal development is the concept of unconscious competence. It’s the stage where something is so ingrained in you that you can achieve it automatically and without thinking. You probably already do this in several areas of your life without even knowing it. The classic example is driving a car from point A to point B. If you are an experienced driver, you can do this without remembering a single thing you did or saw along the way. Your unconscious mind took over, and you went into autopilot, succeeding without effort.
What would be more difficult and tedious than searching for a needle in a haystack? I imagine if one actually attempted this, it could take hours or even days of painstaking focus to sift through the noise before finding a needle. But why would one spend the time and effort to find something with so little value? This is why we use the phrase to indicate a pursuit not worth pursuing.
However, what if we changed the game?
As soon as I think or say these words, I know that I've already entered the danger zone with my 6-year old daughter.
Of course, my intent is usually positive. I see her struggling. I see her about to make a mistake that would lead to a huge mess or perhaps getting hurt. So the next impulse thought is that she clearly NEEDS my help. And being the good and loving parent that I am, I should step in immediately and without asking to HELP her. Ha!
Hate is a word that is so overused that it loses its meaning and intensity in most contexts. People will “hate” everything from a politician to their least favorite food (I’m looking at you broccoli). However, this is nothing compared to the states of impulsive rage or festering anger that occurs when a person truly and completely hates something.
Imagine a pregnant mother telling the doctor that she didn't want any pain medications during the final, excruciatingly painful moments of labor. She must have a screw loose in her head, right? 10 years ago, I might have agreed. Modern science has given us all of these amazing tools in the form of medications. These allow us to skip over the bad parts (e.g., labor) and get right to the good part (e.g., the healthy baby). So why wouldn't you take the easy way out? Why would someone choose to embrace pain?
Imagine being able to make a phone call to your past self 90 days ago. Imagine describing the absurdity of toilet paper outages and how entire states are now being asked (and some forced) to quarantine. Imagine saying how some beer companies have stopped making beer and are instead producing and shipping bottles of sanitizer. Imagine trying to tell them that Trump was potentially going to send every American thousands of dollars a month just to keep the economy afloat.
Imagine the laughter from the voice on the other line. “Is this some prank phone call? What are you smoking?”
Creativity can feel like a curse. There is simply not enough time in the world to turn each creative whim into an actualized thing you can see or hear or touch. Logically, we may only get around to a 100th of the things we can think because ideas are quick cheap, and the road to completion may take decades.
Still, it’s not to listen to the advice of William Faulkner and “kill your darlings.” My mind tries to hold onto all of these whims because I might be able to get to them “someday.” But someday never comes because there are a dozen or more new ideas the next day.
Marion's death came as a surprise to no one. She lived a long life and almost finished her 95th lap around the sun. She spent her last days refusing food and taking pain killers. She was foreshadowing her final, symbolic steps towards the doorway that separates this reality with whatever happens in the great beyond—when and where our souls finally untether from our bodies like a balloon being let go to drift off with the whims of the wind to their next destination.
Brent was the hero of the IT department.
When shit hit the fan, he was the goto guy to fix anything and everything. Server outage? Get Brent. Security breach? Get Brent. He had an almost Jedi-like ability to diagnose and solve problems.
Nothing could get done without Brent.
Brent was the villain of the company.
When shit hit the fan, managers would rip problems away from other people and hand them to Brent. Server outage? Call Brent. Security breach? Get Brent. Entire teams of competent engineers would sit idly by.