I've been making a conscious effort lately to ask for less. Less help, less handouts, less time... but mostly, less advice.
I don't know where I read it. Maybe I thought it myself! But not likely. No I think someone told me something along the lines of... NO WAIT! I remember! I remember where I heard it. It was in a "self help quotes" book on the table in a waiting room. It said "Beware those who ask for guidance". It was a business book. One of these "read all of these leader quotes and POOF, your a leader" ones. But this particular quote, struck me. I became immediately embarrassed by it when I read it. I was that guy. The guy who would slack off all morning, then go up to the boss after lunch with a bunch of questions that made it seem like I'd been real busy. I always knew the answers to these questions. Asking was nothing short of wheel spinning futility. Beware those who ask for guidance. What an odd thing to put in a leadership book. But man, did it strike THE chord for me.
So I started to make a conscious effort not to ask for so much advice and help. I can't ignore the procrastinator or the slacker in me anymore. It used to be I could just walk to the desk and ask the question, and that would make me feel better. Like I'd made some steps towards actual productivity and it was ok for me to go back to the desk and watch some more YouTube clips...
But that slacker is starting to piss of my dreamer. He's getting in the way, big time. And I'm not really able to float along quite as carefree as before.
Which brings me here. 2:18am. My fourth day of lying in bed more then 2 hours (three tonight so far) and just staring eyes open, wide awake. My mind racing a mile a minute.
The Dreamer is getting angry again.
Sure, I'm doing some cool things. Some photos. Some videos. Even a song. But I still can't help but feel like I'm slacking off. Not quite working hard enough. Still spending too much time on things that don't move me forward.
See, I don't even need my Dad around 24-7. I can bring my guilt level to a boil all on my own!
Yeah so anyway. Enough tired self loathing. Back to the "I'm trying to ask for less advice" thing.
See, there was a real paradigm shift that day in that waiting room. "Beware those who ask for advice"...
I used to ask for a LOT of advice.
I'd ask the same question to 5 people trying to make a decision.
What I've realized, is that I almost NEVER REALLY want any advice. I just want my already formed opinion to be confirmed and validated.
Why do I have such a need for external validation?
So I'm realizing more and more, that I've had all of the answers all along. Lately, when something has been on my mind, and I've gotten back into the pattern of presenting myself with two or more options. Despite knowing which option is best nearly right away, I entertain the others for much too long. Humming and hawing, and never really committing until the very last second! Like, last minute panic is the only thing that washes away the guilt I inherently end up feeling for choosing something just because I want it!
I'm a very empathetic person, and almost always see both sides of an issue. I frequently pick the road that will make other people happier then the one that will make me happiest. If I made two Sandwiches, I have to give the other person the better one. I've always been this way. If I take the good sandwich, the guilt tears me up inside and I can't enjoy it.
Anyway. I'm a people pleaser I suppose. Always want to make sure the people around me are happy. No, that's slightly dishonest. Always want to make sure the people around me are happy WITH ME.
Boy, we're getting somewhere tonight aren't we? Look at all of the worms they fit into that seemingly tiny can! Amazing!
I knew I wasn't going to be able to comfort myself with a few lines of dribble thumb tapped out on an iPod tonight. I disconnected the computer from the hive (external monitors, power cords, external hard drives, tablet, printer, etc etc) and brought it to bed with me. I actually watched a bunch of YouTube hoping it would put me to sleep, with no success.
There's far too much on my mind.
I hardly use this thing as a "laptop" lately. It's easier to leave it all plugged in to the collective. Funny how when you have a Terabyte of Data on an external drive, how meek and meager a 232gig drive seems when it's laptop only.
I'm digressing slightly.
The point is, that I'm not writing this to ask for advice. I hope, through this conscious effort I'm making NOT to ask for advice, then I'll be able to work out the true answer on my own. Instead of asking people's 'opinions' in a controlling and suggestive way that coaxes them into feeding me the answer I want. The one I've already subconsciously chosen.
I suppose I'm being a bit hard on myself. We all yearn for the approval of our peers. But I just think that since I was made aware of this fault, by that random waiting room quote, that I would be dumb to ignore it. It's a sign, and an opportunity to grow passed an obvious short coming. As well as a chance to empower myself to be more in control of my own fate and progression.
You know. Maybe that quote wasn't "Beware those who seek guidance". I think now that I reflect a bit more, that it was "Beware those who seek approval!". Yeah. That was it! Approval was the key word.
I read this as I was waiting to see a counselor about a relationship that I already knew was over. But I selfishly wanted to pay a professional to tell me I was right one more time. So there I'm sitting in this waiting room, on this self serving mission to receive approval for a feeling I had in my heart, and a book slaps me in the face with a palpable reality check.
BEWARE THOSE WHO SEEK APPROVAL.
It's kindof a catch 22. Real rock and a hard place. Because on the one hand I have all these aspirations of being this successful person. And I'll need to get plenty of approval from people if I'm going to make lots of moneys doing the things I'm passionate about.
But I think that's a different kind of approval. A kind I won't have to go FISHING for so directly. I shouldn't have to fish at all. It should just come flying at me because I worked really hard and made something amazing. Not because I slacked off 70% of the time and pulled a magic rabbit out of my ass at the last second, and then presented the rabbit like I'd busted my ass over it and it deserves 100% approval and praise.
I'm getting better. I'm putting more heart into things earlier. Not waiting for "last minute panic" to be my only source of work-horse motivation. Finishing things on time, or early, and then rewarding myself.
But I'm still looking around for answers when I have them already in my hand. Still choosing to wage the debate in lieu of taking the action that only I can see is clearly necessary. Climbing up ladders to see over hedges when I'm already in the right courtyard.
So I've been back and forth, nay MANIC, over the last few days. Really struggling with WTF I'm going to DO with myself in the next month. My time in "paradise" is almost over. Ivan has taught me a lot, and we've shared many laughs and smiles. But I'm way too comfortable here. There's no fighting to survive. Life is EASY. Too easy. Cushy, and comfortable, and EASY!
I hate it.
This condo is so fucking nice, and has every imaginable amenity any person could ever ask for. And it's driving me nuts, because none of it is mine.
I want mine.
I want to own a Condo, or a house, or a NICE vehicle. No offense Vanagon. You've got mad style, but underneath it all your an unreliable piece of shit! Wow. I can't help but point that sentence back at myself.
So I think this is me making a decision here. Trusting my instincts. And NOT seeking advice or approval. Like I said I've been back and forth like CRAZY. One minute, I'm staying and moving to downtown Toronto and getting a job with a design studio. The next minute, I'm still leaving to go to BC. I guess I've been more on the side of "still going to BC" for most of the time. But the last three weeks, since I visited Orillia, I had a perceived change of heart. A friend wanted to get an apartment downtown, and keep his house in Barrie. Leaving me with a downtown apartment I could afford, but had to myself on weekends. I was pumped! I didn't have to leave! Another year in slackers paradise! But no, I wouldn't be slack, I would have a full time job! Great, so waste someone else's time for 8 hours a day and then come home and smoke until I didn't care anymore.
That's just not going to cut it for me. I clearly need to leave. I've fallen into a rut of comfort and routine. I need a challenge. I need a mountain. A race. A space flight. A path to follow. Even if (especially if!) it's a path to the unknown and undecided!
Nigel said I should stay in Toronto and reap the rewards of my education...
His opinion, and approval, weighed heavily in my recent battle to talk myself into sticking around.
It's hard to think of Nigel being wrong about anything. But Nigel doesn't know Toronto and Me. About the old bad habits. And stagnant social circles. About how EASY it is for me to live here, because I've fought for the approval of so many people, and have it sitting here waiting to save me from ever having to challenge myself.
So as quickly as the option to get the apartment downtown with my boy materialized three weeks ago, it disappeared today. And with it, my "easy out".
Ivan is a great friend. And a very smart one. He agreed to let me come stay with him, but only temporarily. He's given me everything I could possibly ever need to be fully comfortable here, and once I've had a 6 month taste of the life of luxury, organization, property ownership, style and success, he's gonna pull the magic carpet right out from under me! God bless his brilliant mind, and quiet anti-confrontational, brilliantly subtle and effective guidance.
I flipped the script today and decided with near certainty that the show must go on. I have to keep moving. I have to see the country. I have to make my photo book. And dammit, I have to make my web series of regularly uploaded videos so that people can follow my misadventures.
It's like, the question of how I'm going to connect to the internet while I'm on the road, iPhone, Blackberry, or Rogers stick. The moment I THOUGHT of the question, the TRUE answer presented itself to me in CLEAR AND PLAIN ENGLISH!
DO NOT GET A ROCKET STICK, BECAUSE IF YOU HAVE INTERNET 24-7, THEN YOU'LL NEVER ACCOMPLISH ANYTHING! YOU'LL PARK THE VAN ON THE SIDE OF THE ROAD AND CHAT WITH PEOPLE ONLINE ALL NIGHT!
Sure, I'll upload lots of pics (to Facebook, even though they look ugly, that's where I get my most character validating feedback) but I'll never get around to editing any of the videos! On the OTHER hand, if I don't HAVE internet access 24-7, then I immediately open up a new element to my adventure! WiFi hunting! I can picture days at a time where I'll have limited to no access to the internet! PERFECT time to work on video editing! NO DISTRACTIONS!
So I had that answer the MOMENT I thought of the question. Yet, over the last four months, I've wasted COUNTLESS people's time. Asking them their advice on what my best option was for internet coverage on my journey.
So. How can I turn this blog entry into something productive now. Instead of just a sleepless, self deprecating rant of vague intent?
Maybe I don't have to. Maybe this "blog" thing will serve me much better 10 years in the future, when I come to another fork in my road, if it's not filled with fluffy crowd pleasing filler. If it's just raw, un-edited verbosity. A truthful historic recount of that sleepless week I had on the brink of insanity in Mississauga in 2009.
I must say; spewing truth untapped from the bowels of your psyche is a terrifying, and liberating ordeal. I highly recommend it!
I also highly recommend thinking twice the next time your going to ask for advice! Oh dammit, here comes the "G.I.Joe, knowing is half the battle" moment I was just specifically trying to avoid.
I'm such a cheese ball. Way too many television shows have shaped my vernacular into a formulaic and contrived dribble. I always feel the need to "wrap up" my posts with a Cosby show moment. Breaking everything down into one clear cut, endearing lesson...
Ivan agreed when I told him in the car on the way to the Ultimate game, that there's probably something out on the road that's still waiting for me to learn. It's becoming pretty clear now, after four nights of laying awake and alert, thinking it all over in my head.
The fact that my boy can't take the apartment with me was just the sign I needed help me listen to myself. I can see now that I've been SCREAMING the truth at myself from beneath a layer of thick, flashy, bright, shiny, big city bullshit. I want to maximize these next two months. Make as much noise, and do as many new things as I possibly can. Hopefully make a couple thousand dollars more then I'm currently pulling in, and sink it into the Van. Give the beast a fighting chance to get us to the west coast.
She'd sell in a SECOND if I got her to Cali. And for twice what I paid!
I wonder if you can enter America with "selling my Van" as your purpose for visiting.
Anyway. Think twice before asking for advice. You may already know EXACTLY what you want, you just have to turn off your internal critique, and silence the popular vote filter. "DO YOU" as a wise man once told me. I wish I remembered his name. Chris I think? DO YOU he said. That was the name of his production company, and also a brilliantly simple piece of advice. Cool black guy I worked with in a Radio Shack like 7 years ago. He made movies. I helped him once by drawing him some stills from one of his shots. Sort of a reverse engineered story board. I think he needed a board for funding, and had shot the footage without one. So we paused his film a few times and I banged out some story boards. Story board artist! Now THERE is a fucking job I could sink my teeth into! A job where I can draw all day, and never finish a single drawing!!
The west coast makes movies.
I'm gonna go make some movies. And draw some story boards. Fuck graphic design. I really hate designing for print. It's a pain in the ass. Maybe if I'd taken Sandy and Nigel's advice and gotten into die cuts, and cool substrates, then I'd get a little more excited about it. But clients can never afford foil stamps. Or embossing. Or interesting cuts. So I'll chase this web design thing, and this movie making thing, until it gets me in the door with some story board people. And some interactive new media types.
I wonder if I'll make babies with someone before I get a chance to go back to school for industrial design. Maybe I'll hate industrial design like I hate print design. If I get frustrated by 2D pre-press, imagine 3D factory stuff. LOL
Another bridge for another time.
it's 3:13 am now. I'm gonna shut this sob story up before it consumes all of my sleepable hours. Maybe now that I spewed all of this out into cyberspace I won't have such a busy mind when I go to try and close my eyes again.
Man. What a burden, to realize I'm in complete control of everything, and have all the answers myself. Ignorance is bliss... and I aint ignant!
Oh sweet. I just noticed the list of keyboard shortcuts under the post box. I can hit Control - P and this will publish!