Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Hell Isn't Other People, Hell Is Trying To Change Them

"Hell isn’t other people, hell is trying to change them." Why can't you be more like me? That's the essence of every argument in history. One person insisting that the other conforms to their version of what a spouse or a coworker or a friend should be. Unfortunately, our species doesn't work that way. Minus a few exceptions, human wiring is a static operation. People may change a bit at the margins, but for the most part, we can't run from who we are. And we shouldn't try to. Nor should we ask others to try to. I'm reminded of the Sleep Better Pillow. Perfect metaphor for this problem. A neurosurgeon discovered that most sleep ailments and discomfort arise from an improper sleeping position. But instead of asking people to change the way they sleep, he created a pillow that turned their favorite sleeping position a healthy sleep posture. Pure genius. Instead of swimming against the current, he found a way to surf it back to shore. The only thing that changed was the board. You gotta love that level of respect for nature's agenda.

"A storage locker is not a closet." Fascinating insight from my organizer friend Amelia. What's crazy is, fifty years ago, the term self-storage didn't even exist. Now it's a twenty billion dollar industry. Why? Because humans love stuff. I'm reminded of that truth every time I move. And it's always a cleansing, spiritual experience to purge my possessions. That's the best part. Expelling bags and boxes and bins of shite that I never should have owned in the first place. The sad part is, I always tells myself to remember that very moment every time I purchase something in the future. And I never do.

"I'm a music fan first, a musician second, a songwriter third and a lyricist fourth." No wonder Keller is so successful. He's got his musical priorities in order. And that's a tricky balance to strike. We get so obsessed with the creation of art that we lose touch with the appreciation of it. When I meet writers who can't tell me a single book they're currently reading, it makes me want to papercut their faces into jelly. We have to know what great art feels like. We have to make time to still be a fan of things. We have to refill the inspiration reservoir. Otherwise we'll be running on fumes, creating from a skimpy matrix, bouncing our perspective off a thin wall, working repetitively from our own narratives. 

"Hammering our lives into unfamiliar shapes." It's not that I fear change, it's that I love routine. I'm perfectly fine with the future invading my life, so long as I find new ways to anchor myself amidst the avalanche of complexity. That's my favorite part. Searching for new rituals. Creating a new repertoire for making meaning. That prevents insanity while hammering my life into unfamiliar shapes. Inspired by a book that inspired a book.