A few days ago, I got six pieces of news ranging from good to exceptional, and one piece of bad news. Of the good news were well wishes, opportunities, advice, and connections from people I care about. The bad news was almost trivial and there isn't much I could do about it.
Today I was out for a run in the park when it started raining hard. It's rainy season in Vietnam, and it came down pouring. After a minute, I gave up trying to stay dry, and enjoyed my run in the rain. I was enjoying it, mostly having my mind turned off and enjoying the audio I was listening to - a really wonderful story called "The Greatest Salesman in the World" by a guy named Og Mandino. Really a beautiful piece to listen to, read by its author 30 years after he wrote the book.
And yet, that damn bad news comes back to mind! What is this? I have so many opportunities I could think of, jump upon. I could create, produce, serve, connect, relax, enjoy, train - the whole world is open before me, and I think of trivial shit that I can't change.
I'm going to willpower this off of my mind. Being human is a strange thing.
"Abandon All Hope, Ye Who Enter Here." -- Inscription on the Gates of Hell, Dante Alighieri's "Inferno"
The worthy detour? I think I've got a formula for "High Creative Mode"... just it's not particularly consistently effective yet, and it's playing a pretty high stakes game. On Day Seventeen, I made my first crack at applying it, and had an incredible day. I wrote a 5000-word piece, that after editing and getting the ending right, I think could be amazingly fantastic. Just writing it was a joy.
Following from that, I was walking on air for the rest of the day.
In Day Eighteen, I attempted the same thing, and fell short. This was maddening, and the whole day was aggravating. I think I've got a rough formula for High Creative Mode, but it doesn't produce 100% results. And when it fails, it's pretty ugly, at least so far.
I kept detailed notes on both days, much more fleshed out than usual. There's more stream-of-consciousness. They're... honestly, a little weird. You can evaluate for yourself:
When I was younger I had a lot of success. Success that came too easy. You might wonder why that's a bad thing. But sometimes success shields you from what you are really good at, or what you really want out of life. At 32, almost 33 I'm a much different person than I was 10 years ago. Yet, 10 years ago success came about as easy as picking apples out of apple trees. I couldn't do any wrong. I build websites and they took off. They made a lot of money. But without a strong foundation in my life that money, and that success did not last.
Then came failure.
You might think I'm crazy but failure was the best thing that ever happened to me. Over the course of a few failures it shaped my soul, it shaped my mind, it created a narrower field of focus. It created a deeper desire in my heart. It helped me find myself. I was not the product of success, nor failure. All of that comes from within me.
I realized that I had sacrificed part of who I was to achieve success, and failure was my way of bringing balance back to my life. It made me realize there's a lot of me to work on still. It made me realize that I could be the architect and designer of my life. That I didn't have to take every opportunity and run with it.
It made me realize that with hard work, with desire, and with passion that I could create opportunities out of nothing. That my greatest talent, my greatest skill was my ability to create. And the world turned upside down again.