There’s a folder on my desktop that contains every project I’ve worked on in the past fifteen years.
Every time I scroll through it, I feel proud, prolific and professional.
But there’s also a folder within that folder, which contains all of the unsuccessful projects and unproductive obsessions and bad ideas that I failed to bring to fruition over the years.
And that’s important too. Because all of those projects had a few things in common.
They didn’t serve a real purpose, they were just a response to anxiety.
They didn’t generate energy and provoke excitement, they just soothed my scared, whirling mind for few weeks.
They didn’t lead to my creating anything real in the world, they just converted my obsessive compulsive thoughts into pointless time sucks and money pits.
Part of me wants to laugh, part of me wants to cry, and part of me wants to bang my head into a brick wall.
Still, I try to be compassionate. Because regret over unfulfilled possibilities and unrealized potential is just a punishment we administer to ourselves. It’s not worth it.
Besides, not every project is going to succeed. Not every project is even going to see the light of day.
Adams makes a powerful point about this very concept. He explains that the bad ideas he creates might someday inspire an actual good ideas. That’s how ideas evolve, he writes. You start with bad ones then tweak them. And if you’re able to see further, it’s only because you’re standing on the pile of manure you so generously provided. Bad ideas are the raw materials for good ideas.
The challenge, then, is learning to differentiate between the two. Listening to your body during the initial stages of a projects as an indicator of its efficacy.
And actively divesting meaning from unwanted ideas that have the power to escalate into unproductive obsessions.
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That Guy with the Nametag
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