I have been working a lot lately, but also rapidly studying historical eras. It is refreshing to realize that I do not have to do any one thing myself; in fact, is is ineffective. On our staff, I'm the most knowledgeable and effective historian, strategist, recruiter, trainer, marketer, and project manager. I'm also adequate-to-good in dozens of other roles, but I'm dispatching with almost all of them - and now, I'm starting to dispatch with project management (my first professional love) and marketing (my most recent professional love).
We have better legal, financial, sales, administration, management, and creative people than me. That's nice.
My time will be largely spent doing grand strategy, recruiting, training, and studying. I will mix in a little statistics and analysis, but this will be the bulk of my role going forwards. I do not need to laundry, I simply need to find someone competent to do it, and pay them well. There is something like a 1000x gap between successfully defining strategy with all the relevant contingencies, constructing completely workable models in identified big opportunities, and staffing those and training/compensating the staff well - and washing socks. The socks? I will not be doing that, because it would mean less time studying history, identifying opportunities, and finding/training/compensating very good people.
Thought of the day: Sparta and the Soviet Union both excelled at military arts by concentrating immense amounts of their society's total creative, intellectual, and productive output into military. This led them to be fierce warrior societies immediately after their rise, but with a gradual decline as they were out-paced by societies with a smaller military concentration and faster growth.
"Flex" societies that can gear up and gear down on war production can maintain a larger credible military presence with less resource drain. "War concentrated" societies show stronger than flex at first, but must win quickly or be defeated. Time is their enemy. Of course, pacifist societies are quickly conquered if they do not have allies, and thus do not enter the discussion.
Offered by a dumb college kid:
Keep your feet on the ground though while your head is up in the clouds.
It sounds like you are setting yourself up to be a grand strategist who just pulls the strings behind the scenes. Great place to be, really good for visionaries and big thinkers, very risky in the sense that you lose touch with the reality of the situation on the ground.
Sure, to do something that hasn't been done before, you do have to take leaps into nothingness. But if you don't ever look back from where you came from in your quest for fire, there might come a time when you have gone too far conceptually that not even the brightest treasure can show you a way back.
Worst comes to worst, you crash back down and start over with the bitter memories of a brillant but lost idea clouding your judgement as you try to piece your life back together. The standard advice is to stay just a little bit ahead of what your customers want conceptually and keep pulling them forward into the bright promised land you have found.
Stereotypical reference to Steve Jobs: the further he thought ahead, the harder he had to work at staying in the now. I'd argue that his perfectionism was necessary to keep him in now, and keep his LSD addled brain from floating away into the soft comfortable world of "This is a great idea, what if I did this, and then OH, what about that, it would be perfect, people would love it and me, this is such a good idea, it's perfect". It's easy to be a visionary, thinking ahead of your time, while realizing those dreams are exponential harder the further ahead you think. Tortured geniuses and what not.
What's cyclothymia? It's a mild form of the docs used to call "manic-depression," but which they re-name periodically. Cyclothymics can actually function decently well, and as such often don't know they've got it. If you cycle through highs and lows, are particularly artistic, or that describes someone you love, then read this post in full and please comment with your own experience. I'm still learning, myself.
AN INTRODUCTION TO CYCLOTHYMIA
Knowing the term "Cyclothymia" would have been very helpful to me a few years ago. This essay is plain English and, if I've done a good job, might help people who associate with a cyclothymic relate better to them, and might help a cyclothymic manage themselves better and produce better.
I'm against the "medical-ization" of life. We need medical terms, but we need to be able to explain things in plain English without labeling. Labeling, by definition, drastically simplifies.
Cyclothymia is simple at its roots, simple enough for a plain discussion without medicalization. Here's how it works for me -
This magnificently written trilogy of books on the American Civil War is not only a piece of first-rate history, but also an excellent work of literature. The late Shelby Foote brings an accomplished novelist's descriptive power to this grand epic. This immense three-volume set should be on the bookshelf of any Civil War buff. It is the definitive example of narrative history and creative non-fiction.
I started reading this 2,934-page trilogy on June 6, 2007 and have completed it in September 2008. This is not a reading assignment to tackle in a single season. I read 27 other books while reading through this great work. I will review each book of the trilogy separately. I have since read the series again. I also purchased the audio book from Audible.com. It takes over 150 hours to listen to the three book set.
The Civil War: A Narrative--Fort Sumter to Perryville, Volume One. The book covers the beginning of the war through December 1862. The late Shelby Foote writes with a down home, comfortable style that is like he is sitting beside you telling a story. Make no mistake, he is a southern and tells the story from a southern point of view. The book is a work of creative non-fiction. It is a first class narrative. It is the example of how to write history.
Many students of the Civil War are limited in their knowledge of the war to the major battles of Fort Sumter, Bull Run, Fort Henry and Fort Donelson, Shiloh, Corinth, Iuka, Antietam (Sharpsburg), etc. (battles in 1861 -1862) or the generals. Foote covers all the battles. And he covers what takes place in between the battles though with minor battles that tend to be brushed over with the simple reference to their being fought buy others.
I admit some parts of the book were a struggle for me to get through. The time between the campaigns and battles, the endless maneuvers and debates were challenging. Once he moved on to the next battle or fight, the action and pace of the book picked up. Foote shared enough strategy and tactics as well as some of the intellectual processes the key players used to help us understand what leadership on both sides will do under such situations. At times it was like reading the strategy behind a chess game. The back stories of the political considerations were actually enjoyable at times and problematic to boring at others.