I was sitting at my desk in my office at the shop a couple of hours ago starring at the little red knobs on the file cabinet drawers. That was just about all I was capable of at that particular moment.
Trying to figure out where the time had gone seemed pointless: it was gone. And, that is saying a lot since I started working on today more than an hour earlier than usual, and usual is lot earlier than most folks start their days.
I went to bed early enough, and slept well for the few hours I slept… But, I found myself stretching to get a decent view of the clock on my wife’s night table just so I could figure out how much rest I could still get in if – and, that turned out to be a mighty big ‘if’ – I could just fall back to sleep. The problem was I couldn’t.
In reality, the problem really wasn’t falling back to sleep: the problem was the million and one things – the million and one, really bizarre and odd things, that play across the screen stretched across the inside of your eyelids when your eyes are closed and you are trying to fool yourself into believing you really can fall back to sleep!
I don’t know about you, but I think about the strangest stuff imaginable! And, there is no rhyme or reason to it; is there?
I go from thinking about what I want to do with the outside of the building at work, to designing a new customer satisfaction survey mirror hanger; from the skill sets I will need to look for in our next new-hire, to getting ready for the speaking engagement I have in Pittsburgh at the end of next week; from what to do about the ‘bump steer’ I’m suddenly experiencing in my car, to the book I just finished…
There is this raging river of thoughts and ideas running through my head leading to an Angel’s Falls drop: but, instead of forming some kind of an idea ‘pool’ at the bottom and then gently flowing off, these thoughts and ideas start bouncing around like a thousand SuperBalls dropped from the roof of the Empire State Building.
They bounce high… They bounce hard… They bounce in just about every conceivable direction! And, some of them are pretty damned scary!
The only thing that saved me this morning was that book I just finished. It helped me understand where, at least, some of this internal dialogue was coming from and the sinister nature of its intent.
The book was Linchpin, by Seth Godin. And, if you haven’t read it, you need to!
No, I don’t care what your interests are – this is a critically important book, regardless.
It’s about human nature and the nature of being human, as much as anything else. And, aside from the fact that it is beautifully written, it helped me understand and confront a demon I’ve been battling for most of my life – that little voice inside your head narrating the images moving across that screen inside your head I was just talking about.
Its formal name is Amygdala, but Godin refers to it simply as the “Lizard Brain.” The amygdale is our ‘first’ brain: our prehistoric, pre-evolutionary brain. Its concerns are more basic than basic: food, sex, fight and flight. It’s the self-talk that isn’t just satisfied to scream out for you to be careful – it is the voice inside your head that will not allow you to take any risk at all!
Before reading Linchpin I didn’t know what the voice was, nor did I understand what mischief it is always up to. After, Linchpin: I understand enough about what it is and what it’s up to, to challenge it!
I’m sure I’ll be writing about both this book, and another Godin book, Tribes, over the next few weeks. After all, they are all I can think about when I’m not thinking about all this other weird stuff!
In the meantime, I think I’ll lie down, close my eyes and try not to think about anything, for at least for a little while!