“Show me how you get clear, and I’ll show you who you are.” Understanding how you approach
ambiguity is an good thing to know about yourself. When you’re feeling scared
or anxious or confused or overwhelmed, the best thing you can do is find your
territory. The place you go to make sense of the world. The closed feedback loop
that brings you back to center. For me, writing is what I do when I don’t know
what to do. The process of purging my thoughts, stringing sentences together,
scattering papers across the floor, doodling on the walls, listing out my
feelings, fleshing out ideas and finding connections between disparate
thoughts, this is my territory. This is where I do my best work. This is where
I feel most alive. If I go too long without locking into this mode, even for a few minutes, I
don’t feel like me. So occasionally I have to remind myself, they need you to be you. You take yourself with you, wherever you go.
“You do better when you try easier.” Every time I get an envelope that says important information enclosed, a huge smile sweeps across my face.
Junk mail is the definitive reminder of just how real psychological
compensation is. Especially from an organizational perspective. When paychecks come in the mail, they don’t tell me how
important they are. They don’t have to. I can literally see the money through
the transparent window. When birthday cards come in the mail, they don’t tout
their value. They don’t have to. I recognize my grandmother’s handwriting on
the address. So I open the envelopes immediately. But with companies, it’s different. They know what they’re sending is junk. So
they overcompensate by telling me how important the information is. And I recycle
the envelope as soon as I get upstairs. The point is, if a company has to tell me they are, they
“Prosecuting ourselves for crimes past.” Nobody comes home from working thinking they’re the idiot. The human instinct is to externalize blame. To find all the
ways everybody else was wrong, thereby making ourselves innocent through
process of elimination. Which probably helps us sleep better. The only problem is,
if we all think this way, there’s a diffusion of involvement. If everybody
assumes somebody else will take action, nobody takes action. I try to find ways to make it my fault. Even if it wasn’t.
It’s a healthy exercise in humility, efficiency and self-awareness. It’s an
easy way improve my own performance. Plus it gives me license to say how stupid
everybody else is without feeling guilty.