By Chris Garrigues 5/27/17
What in the hell is that supposed to mean? Good Question. Got a minute? Great, I’ll tell you all about it.
Let’s work backward, shall we? First off;
There’s this guy, Scott Adams, the creator of the Dilbert comic strip and a bunch of other things. One of his other things is a book called How To Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big Maybe you should read it? I’m glad I did. Lots of useful stuff in there.
For example, Scott believes, (as do I more clearly now) that, in the pursuit happiness, systems trump goals every time. Systems as in processes you do repeatedly that eventually lead you to your, umm… goals. Like, say your goal is to write THE. BEST. BLOG. POST. EVER! Ok, that’s a thing. Probably even a pretty cool thing too but it’s still just a thing. How will you get to that thing? Not to mention, what if you don’t get to that thing? Great, now you’ve failed. Which makes you a failure. Sorry bout that…
Maybe it’d be better to focus on making and managing systems that will help you reach your thing. Better yet, make your system the actual thing itself! Now, look at what you’ve done. You’re not a failure anymore! All you have to do is show up. Every time you check in and work your system you’re a winner. Every time you win you get more energy to work your system. And the more you work your system the better the odds that you’ll eventually reach your, you know, goal. Not to mention all the other benefits and opportunities that you haven’t even thought of yet.
Are we clear-ish about systems? Good.
“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” – Seneca (famous Roman reality star)
OK, so the systems I build are mostly based on something I’m calling “Idea Farming”. The different categories that I farm could be thought of as crops. Cheesy, I know but, hey…
A few of the “crops” that I have going are, Songs, Music, Music Related, T-Shirts, Stories, Personal Development, Social Entrepreneurship and plenty more. All of which have sub-crops and sub-sub-crops, etc. Not to mention, some of my ideas will make sense in multiple crops. Cross-pollination? For example, I have an upcoming post called “Shut Up and Say Something!” which I’m thinking is also a shirt, maybe a song? Maybe a John Hughes film starring a young John Cusack?
Anything I can do to complicate things and further obscure the chances of them ever getting done.
I’m pretty good at ideation. Not sure if it’s a nature thing or a nurture thing. Prolly both. Doesn’t matter. Problem is, while I am good at catching ideas I’m a little less good at processing them and much worse at actually doing them. As in, I kinda don’t.
It’s pretty clear to me at this point that hacking that last part and adding any other useful skills, habits, and processes that I can are going to make me and my systems a lot luckier. And that’s just it. So let’s do whatever we can so that we’ll be as prepared as possible when we get around to meeting opportunity. Then it’s a lot more likely we’ll be, you know, lucky.
We really need to think about how we define creativity. There are plenty of not so creative artists, musicians, writers and painters out there. Sometimes I’m one of them. There are also plenty of people who choose to do seemingly ordinary jobs in creative ways. Like, say, moms, dads, teachers, doctors, waiters, landscapers, bus drivers and on and on. The way I see it, creative is not something that you are it’s something you do. You know, like say, a system.
I have this friend who, once upon a time was the general manager of a restaurant where we worked. Years after that he said to me one afternoon as we drank and haggled, “Chris, that’s not me. I’m not a creative person.” To which I said, “Bullshit! I watched you take a fairly lazy and somewhat selfish crew of slacker-y, Austin-y waiters, and bartenders (I’m in there somewhere, by the way) and get them to actually show up for their jobs. You used your skills and imagination to make something useful happen. That’s creativity!”
And there was inspirational music in the background and everybody cheered and I’m sure we did shots and I don’t remember the rest…
He created SERVICE! Which is no mean feat here in Austin, Texas, Y’all. Especially back in the ’90s.
Speaking of stellar work habits, have you ever come across the word KAKONOMICS? If not, please learn it so we can better understand it and avoid it in all its forms. There’s a chapter on it in this book This Will Make You Smarter which also happens to be chock-full of other useful idea tools that will Make You Smarter…
For me, creativity just means you’re making new things or combine existing things to make new things. I also look for other signs like problem-solving, engagement, curiosity, humor, empathy, generosity, playfulness, autonomy, nonconformity. All very fun words which tend to make me feel creative.
And just so we’re clear, I’m not saying I’m good at all or any of these at any given time. I just notice these things usually show up together in some combination or another.
How bout this one? For me being successful means being engaging, useful, sustainable, profitable and a few other nice words. Probably in that order, too. Although the profitable part sure would be useful in enabling the first three, right about now. Then again desperate is certainly a force which can lead to successful every now and again.
What does success mean to you? It’d probably be a good idea to spend time clarifying this one every once in a while. Might help to better understand where you’re going and why you’re going there. Which just may better inform you as to how.
Please do spend as long as it takes to be sure that your definition of success is actually yours and not what you think others expect of you. Your truest personal idea of success can then serve as your north star. You eventually want to wind up at your destination, not someone else’s, right?
I know, this word doesn’t show up in the title of this post but hang on a minute.
This is another Scott Adams thing. Years ago a friend convinced him to try writing an affirmation down fifteen times a day to see what happened. He was skeptical but decided to humor her anyway and to his surprise, a few kooky, not so likely coincidences occurred and his affirmations “manifested in the material world”.
This got his attention and made him take the practice a little more seriously. He hasn’t always maintained the practice but claims that any time he has, it’s paid off for him. He also doesn’t claim to understand why it really works but is willing to not need to know. As far as he’s concerned it works. Which may be why it works.
He lists several impressive examples but probably his most famous affirmation was ”I, Scott Adams will be a famous cartoonist.” Which seems to have worked out alright. Which is pretty amazing if you understand the odds of anyone, let alone an untrained not so artist, attaining that goal. Fortunately for him, he wasn’t playing the goal game.
One hypothesis he puts forth is that by doing this, maybe he’s programming his subconscious to seek out and act upon novel opportunities that might’ve otherwise gone unnoticed. Could just be that an optimistic, hard working guy who tries everything is just more likely to be successful. Maybe. Plenty of other ideas about the why and the how. Causation? Correlation? Does it matter? Not for me.
And while the word affirmation doesn’t show up in the title, actually it kinda does because obviously, by now, the title is my starting affirmation. How’s it working out for me? Probably too soon to tell since I just started today. But hey, it gave me a little positive something, something and I busted out this post. So that’s something.
Check back in a bit. I’ll keep you posted. In the meantime, I’m gonna give this Scott Adams thing an extra little twist.
I really like the way he thinks (minus a political idea or two but even those are creative). I like the unusual paths he takes to reach his conclusions. Maybe I like him because he reminds me of me. Or he’s a little older so maybe I remind me of him (minus all the hard work and follow through). Anyway…
CHECK THIS OUT
While explaining his views on systems, Scott gave me pause when he said something like, “And by the way, no, playing the lottery is not a system.”
I now intend to use a bastardized version of his logic to make the case that maybe that ain’t the case.
Please join me, won’t you, in the next episode for LOTTERY CONSCIOUSNESS? Come on! It’ll be fun. Besides, it’ll give Scott and me something to talk about when I get around to meeting him. Sure hope he’s not pissed.