Do You Find Your Own Thoughts Fascinating?

And if so, are they valuable enough to sustain your beliefs and provide the energy to power productive actions?

I am asked to give my thoughts on the Thought Inventory next week.  What did I think about how I thought about things I was thinking about in regard to what those thoughts led me to do?  If I did not think that thinking about how I was thinking provoked thoughts I did better to think than the ones I was previously thinking, please rate this thought on a scale from “somewhat” to “extremely”.

“I’m sorry, doctor, I am losing the thread of this conversation,” I said.  

“I’m not a doctor,” she said.  

I did not wish to think about that further.  The work, I thought thoughtfully, is mostly done by the patient anyway.   Most things here, in this world of pleasure and pain, are matters of opinion, after all.  I’ve already stated for the record that I value my own insights above almost every other– though I am open to helpful advice, I like to think.  And I need help from somewhere, that much is as clear to me as to anyone who has seen me in inaction these last two quarters.

“Well, one thing to become more aware of is how you are feeling about yourself,” said the therapist early on in the session.   The obvious question, if you have faith in your theories and your powers why aren’t you using them, in spite of whatever lack of encouragement, whatever objectively discouraging obstacles, you’ve had?  

“You will feel better about yourself if you use 11’s on your guitar,” a moderately accomplished guitarist told a better one.  I’ve never forgotten this, though it was spoken decades ago.  For one thing, I’ve always used 11’s.  I don’t recall ever feeling better or worse about myself based on the gauge of the guitar strings I use.  

“You live in the world of your head!” another told me, though it’s possible I was hearing things.  It’s not as though there are not very good reasons for living in my head.  Growing up, the world of my head was a much safer place than the world of everyone else’s heads.  Putting oneself in the heads of many other people is truly scary, as is much of the world of what we agree on as “objective reality”, the way things actually are.  Tens of millions of kids who will never see a toilet, though many of their siblings will see early deaths from diseases absent in places with basic sewage and sanitation infrastructure.   You know, the way things actually are.

For the record, then:  I created and implemented a largely autonomous team-based animation workshop that allows participants to create stop-motion animation in a fraction of the time it usually takes.  I did it alone.  I don’t know anyone who has dreamed up, designed and implemented anything as simple yet complex.  Still miles from being the self-sustaining business I am counting on it becoming, but as far as demonstrating that it works– I think the 90 plus workshops speak for themselves.  

For the opposition, those who do not live in my head, highly successful marketing genius Seth Godin:  if you send your best idea to ten people you trust and they don’t send it on to other people, your idea is not worth chasing.  Find another idea to sell.

Another angle: if you send your best idea to ten people, in a form that is not readily digestible, tasty and exciting, the way a marketing person would send it, how do you know your idea is not worth chasing?  After all, the people who actually experience the workshop are engaged at once.  Many of them love it.  People not inclined to work with others soon find themselves working with others because it’s simply the best way to work on any creative project with multiple moving parts.  The work they produce is, inarguably, sometimes quite cool.

Guy Kawasaki, I told the therapist, concealing my surprise that I’d immediately remembered the name of an internet savant I’d heard once, sent a query to his email list of 2,000,000 people.  He initially heard back from about 1%, or 20,000 and was very happy with that success rate.  If I send a query out to ten people and hear back from two, that’s, statistically, a hugely successful week, if we don’t factor in the emotional let-down of 80% of the people who claim to wish me every chance at success not bothering to tap “nice” and hit send.  

“Most people do not tap ‘nice’ when somebody sends something they created, they feel like they have to write something more in an email, give some real feedback.  If you need people to tell you ‘nice’ you are a needy fucking baby who needs to get a life, and a job, and not try to be the CEO of an imaginary nonprofit.  The rest of us work our asses off, and spend years paying our dues.  We’re sorry if we can’t jump every three months when you send us something for your feedback to tell you it’s ‘nice’.”  

“Well, shoot,” I say, extending my lower lip a bit, “you don’t have to get all pissy about it.  Don’t say ‘nice’, that’s fine with me.  Must be tough, having your life.   Sorry to bother you.  Hope you have a nice day.”  

“This is exactly what I’m talking about,” says my former business partner to the mediator.  “He claims this is about the starving children in Harlem, kids with cancer, the women undergoing chemo, that it’s not about him.  But it’s about him.  It’s only about him.  And he gets to be pissed off at anyone who works for corporations because he thinks he’s Saint Fuckface.”  

“But, darling,” I protest, doing a passable Cary Grant, “I AM Saint Fuckface.”

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