Professional Believer

You know what job I wouldn’t mind, I think, is being a professional believer. Saying I’m a professional “thinker” or even “writer” still doesn’t feel right to me. If someone asked me straight out, “So Rich, what do you do for a living?” I think I’d be most comfortable and semi-excited to state: “Well Bob, I’m a professional believer!” And Bob would be taken aback a bit and wonder what I meant. I’d then go on to briefly explain that it means I believe in the benevolence of life, so I gratefully partake in the gifts I receive.

And Bob might not get it, or might just interpret it as dumb luck, but after some time he might just start to see that I’m for real. So in a sense, I’d be using my sweet lifestyle to proselytize. Bob would potentially think: “Hm, if Rich is having such a great time and he doesn’t even do anything but believe in order to receive it… well, maybe I could do that!” And Bob might seek me out in order to understand my belief system a little more.

Of course some people would be too entrenched in their own beliefs and be dismissive, but a few might be in the mood for a change of perspective. Yeah, I think I like that…. Professional Believer.

Speaking of which, I shall now regale you with The Legend of Register 4, a circumstance that serves as the origin-story to my new profession.

My friend and I were at the grocery store a couple of days ago. There were only three registers open and all had long lines. She’s standing there noticing the piles upon piles of groceries before us. We had timetables to keep and she wasn’t pleased with the wait we’d have to endure. In that moment, she planted a mental seed within the bagger of register 3. She mentally projected the thought, “You will open register 4 and summon me”.

Well, nothing happened. My friend thought about how the bagger lacked authority to actually open the register and then said to me, “I lack the courage to move over to register 4 and wait for it to open.” I replied, “Well I have the courage to stand at that empty register but I lack the faith, I know I’d just be standing there the rest of the day.” And so as to prove the power of faith, my friend put her powers into overdrive. At that moment a manager walked over to the bagger of register 3 — a dialog took place and the bagger walked over and assumed the position of cashier at register 4. Her hand raised in the air and she summoned my friend over.

While exiting the store, I was amazed at my friend’s ability to orchestrate the scene I just saw. Yet I thought it was a bit frivolous to use her powers on such a trivial circumstance (i.e. opening a register) — but I realized she loves stuff like that. For her, the fun is in the frivolity. But I also thought about how she orchestrated our move down here and got everything up and running exactly as she had planned it.

Additional note: Yesterday we were in the Home Depot looking for some planks of wood to add as slats to a twin bed. I figured I’d just buy some 4-footers and cut them down to size. Unfortunately, I’m used to shopping at Lowes so I was a bit out of my element. I fruitlessly looked for a few minutes and my friend said she wanted some lunch right after this. I said, “Well I don’t know how long this is going to take because I’m not sure where they keep the type of wood I’m looking for.”

I then looked back to where I had just been examining 6-foot planks to see if I could find some 4-foot ones in the same area. But to my surprise, what do I see? I saw 39″ boards specifically labeled as “bed slats” just sitting amongst the generic wooden boards. That’s the exact length I needed for a twin-size bed and there were no other slats but those. I picked up the quantity I needed and we paid. We then drove over to Ikea where she proceeded to have lunch.

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Thoughtful Career

Whenever I contemplate a new career, I usually say, “Well I’m probably not gonna be the best <blank>, I may even be the worst <blank>, but I’m still a <blank>”. But when it comes to thinking, I don’t have that same self-deprecating lack of confidence. I AM a talented thinker and I have full faith in my ability. Others might doubt my skill, but I don’t. And it’s possible that I might be an idiot who only believes himself a good thinker, but my default is full confidence in this area.

You might wonder, how are you going to be a professional thinker? Well there’s writing, such as blogs and books, and there’s even videos. There are definitely pre-existing well-established venues for the expression of thought — that’s not an issue.

But one of my issues is this: even though I believe that my thinking-ability is top-notch, I have trouble finding people that share that opinion. For instance:

Rich: Hey Michelle, I have this awesome idea about such and such!!
Michelle: Um, okay. Sounds cool. Now I gotta get back to whatever I was doing.
Rich: Oh… yeah… later.

The cynic will think that I’m just an idiot and my ideas are lame. But I’m not a cynic on this topic, I think my only problem is finding the proper audience. If I’m excited by certain ideas, there’s bound to be at least some other people that find them peachy-keen too. Maybe I just need to express my thoughts in a more entertaining way — perhaps that’s the process I’m trying to hone by writing this blog for the past six years. As I see it now, that’s just part of the path I’m on: developing my presentation and attracting an audience.

I’ve been getting side-tracked thinking I’m a writer. I’m not. I never cared about writing — only as much as it was a means to express my thoughts. I’m an okay writer, but that’s not where my confidence lies. So what’s the difference between a writer and a thinker? A writer paints with words, I know a writer and her words often make me believe I’m part of the scene she’s describing. Whereas a thinker tickles your intellect, telling you things that make your mind sneeze with surprise.

A thinker has a deeper perspective than you can typically fathom, pulling forth mysteries that move you. A thinker can take you touring the depths of your mind while shining a light to aid you out. A thinker thrives in the deep-end of contemplation, an emissary of introspection. A spelunker of consciousness, if you will.

That’s what I am, a thinker of thoughts. But Rich, doesn’t everyone think? Well everyone can play the piano too, but it doesn’t mean they’re good at it. Thinking just happens to be MY realm of expertise, I’m a natural at it. Everyday I have to return to solitude and contemplate the world and all within it. So that’s it, that’s my career now: Thinker.

Thinking Thoughts

Okay, I’ve been thinking about it a bit, plus I’ve been watchin’ some videos about finding-your-purpose and such. Who am I? Simply a guy that thinks, that’s it — and I don’t want to be anything but that. I will write those thoughts down or speak them aloud, but that’s it.

I understand that I’ll be tested and tempted to divert from this path — external and internal pressures will attempt to push me off. If I don’t budge I’ll be rewarded… eventually. And I’m okay with that. I like thinking. I LOVE thinking. It’s true that it currently provides me no income, no esteem or prestige — but I can do nothing else, I just want to think.

I understand that I’m still relatively young for a thinker, still working my way up in the world of thoughts. That’s fine, I get it — what kind of epic journey starts at the top, as there’s only one direction to go from there (Spoiler alert! It’s down). Maybe I’m an author, a blogger perhaps, a philosopher of sorts, or someday I’ll make videos in which I express my thoughts, who knows.

But what I do know, is that my journey entails thinking, and I’ll stubbornly dedicate many hours to my craft because that’s what I enjoy doing. And as is the style of today, here is my diss track:

Y’all just an amateur thinkin’ you’re thinkin’.
Got nothin on me, your thoughts just stinkin’.
Thinkin’ like Lincoln, I’m startin’ civil wars,
Your ideas so tiresome, folks droppin’ on floors.
While your sleepin’, dreamin’ you’re a winner,
I’m awake schemin’ ’bout, servin’ you for dinner.
What you don’t know, I’ve already forgotten,
What you got to offer, I know that it’s rotten’.
Just sit down son, listen to the teacher,
I’m center stage, while you’re in the bleacher.
Thoughts like a rocket, they’ll blast you into space,
Leavin’ you strugglin’, confusion on your face.
If I thought it worth it, I’d give you a lesson,
But I’ll just stop here, keepin’ you guessin’.

Spirituality To-Do, Item 10

Putting the Bhagavad Gita into practice.

Perform as my character, fearlessly following my nature.

It’s pretty obvious that we come with a set of foundational preferences that shape our overall personality. It’s as if we browse a dossier of attributes in the spiritual-realm, selecting the stats we want for our physical-world character. My character definitely has a certain set of skills in some areas while lacking in others. That’s another reason why we can tell this is a virtual realm by the way, that people’s skills are distributed in such a clearcut manner.

The funny part is, that we the possessors of particular skills don’t always know we have them, we have to figure out what we’re good at along the way. That makes sense though, because to us, our specific skill is easy, it doesn’t seem like an ability that others would lack. Sometimes we don’t know what we can do until others point out how good we are at something. Although, I suppose the primary indicator of what we should do, is the feeling of fulfillment we feel while performing a particular activity.

Whatever my character’s nature is, I must follow it. The only caveat being: don’t adhere to fear. If I really want to paint pictures for example, then I must, regardless of whatever consequences I might imagine — there are worse consequences for not performing as my nature suggests. But don’t be fooled! Life doesn’t let you off that easy… sometimes the time to act isn’t now. And sometimes one attribute overrides another. So you gotta play it by ear, adjusting as you go. Life likes to keep it interesting, keeps you guessing (in a fun and playful way).

To be clear: for those of us filled with fear, we have to filter that out first in order to reach our essence. “Scared little creature” is not an option here. And to remove that fear, we require spirituality to bolster our perspective. We have to feel safe and supported upon our path, confident in its progression. Through spirituality, we obtain hopefulness for what’s to come and gratitude for what we’ve received.

Therefore, to fully engage with this adventure-realm known as Earth and express my appreciation for the gift I’ve been given, I must perform as my character, fearlessly following my nature.

Path Finding

I sometimes hear, “Follow your fear”. But words are messy. I think it should be: Embark on your adventure. In other words, follow a path that fills you with trepidation at first, yet has the potential for greatness. For instance, I’m afraid of heights, but this doesn’t mean my destiny deals with hot-air balloons — that’s not a win-win payoff for me. So instead think, what’s the best-case scenario down this somewhat scary path — does it sound awesome? No? — then that’s not your path. Would the ideal outcome fill me with delight? Yes? — then that’s your path.

The only way we know we care about something is if it stirs something inside us. When following our path, we should use nervousness as evidence that we’re heading in the right direction. It means we care about the topic. We mustn’t use it as an excuse to retreat, but as confirmation to continue. And again, we’ll know it’s the right path because the optimal result is something we really want. If we can’t imagine an optimal result, then we won’t appreciate that path and should pursue another instead.

How do we know the outcome will work out in the end? To put it plainly, life is a fulfillment generator. It’s a video-game/movie/simulation. We know this because people’s dreams readily do come true — we can simply look around. The world contains global super-stars, the rich and famous, YouTube celebrities, renowned TV chefs, professional-gaming champions, great inventors, heroes of all sorts, titans of industry, and lovers with their love-stories. And just think about how little we’ve done to ensure our own survival or success — there’s obviously something outside ourselves that maintains the narrative.

Is it mere luck we’re still alive? How have we personally avoided countless diseases, random accidents, murderous crimes, global catastrophes, violent weather, deadly drowning, etc, etc? By our training, preparation, and diligence? Ha. We’ve never been solely responsible for our own survival. But what about all those people that die everyday!? That’s their path, not ours. We must concentrate on our own path — if it happens to include the welfare of all humanity, that’s great — but if it doesn’t, that’s great too.

Talent Search

I define one’s talent as: that which you can do a lot of and not be bored. It’s true that we can improve at things over time with practice — yet what will we dedicate our time to, but something that remains eternally interesting. So the thing we can most improve on, and master, is something we can keep doing without irritation.

Additionally, such talents aren’t likely to be highly cerebral activities in the sense that we have to methodically think each step through. Instead, these talents just flow out naturally with a sense of ease and eventual mastery. Plus there’s likely to be a sense of amusement, because we’ll readily do what’s enjoyable.

For example, I enjoy tools (hammers, saws, pliers, etc.) and have an above average amount of them, yet in all these years I can’t say I’ve ever really developed a mastery for using them. So when projects turn out mediocrely, I get a bit frustrated and glad when the job’s done, and I put the tools away to hibernate until next time inspiration strikes and I forget my previous frustrations.

So for me, I think working with tools is a tangential hobby, not a talent. I have to methodically think through each step and I get frustrated by obstacles. When searching for talent, look for what energizes and emanates effortlessly. It’s not necessarily what we’re initially good at, but what entertains and excites despite obstacles.

Evaluation of Effort

The 5-year anniversary of this blog’s inception is rapidly approaching — a blog in which I dedicated countless hours and published over 1,000 posts. With all that investment, this project must be a successful endeavor, right? Well if external metrics are used to judge success, then no, it’s a failure. The subscriber rate is extremely low, audience engagement barely exists, and there is no income. So… I suppose I should just close up shop….

Ha! Luckily, external success was not the original goal of this blog, it was simply a place to publicly publish my thoughts. Why publicly? I’m not sure really, although I think it encourages me to refine my writing when I believe someone else might read it. And perhaps it was a very weak attempt at connecting with others. Weak, because I don’t even try to engage, it doesn’t suit me. But a year ago I purchased this blog’s current domain-name and set out to magically achieve external success. It hasn’t worked so far, not even a little.

They say, do what you love and the money will follow, but I’m not sure if that’s a true statement or I’m just impatient. To be honest though, I don’t want my blog to be a source of income. Oops, I suppose I’ve been counteracting success all along — a classic mistake. And to be honest again, I don’t want a lot of eyeballs judging me, I’d appreciate just a quick glance at the artistry and a quiet exit. So yes, it appears that my blog is everything I wished for, a barely noticed shop down a quiet street that only a few people ever accidentally stumble into.

Hm, perhaps the magic did work after-all. And I should mention that internally, this blog has been a success. I’ve enjoyed the process of writing and publishing succinct essays, it’s provided a feeling of creative accomplishment, and really helped in allowing me to monitor my thoughts and moods. And because many of these thoughts come from a well-of-inspiration beyond myself, I really enjoy reading them as an audience member (although I seem to be the only one — ha!).

See the difference though? This post was written as a stream-of-consciousness by regular uninspired me. But in writing it down, I could clearly see the conflict of interest. I suppose if I’m looking for success, my blog is off-limits as a means of achievement. It must remain pristine like a mountain stream, a place that few travelers ever find. Hm, I like that. Okay, so magic still might be real, success still might come, but this blog is not the vehicle I’ll be driving there — and I will try not to judge this blog by external means ever again. It’s a hidden little gem where the secrets of the universe are succinctly written for the weary wanderer that enters by some serendipitous means.