Tounge tied

When making a pitch to an important group (boss, client, student body, a pretty girl etc) it is possible to get tongue tied: it happens to everyone. The reason, ultimately, is that you are
overwhelmed by something you might not understand (you put it down to your boss, your client, the student body, the pretty girl – but it’s not them). The solution is to reconcile yourself with an aspect of yourself that was separate from you, but follows you – your left side. Because he is the aspect of you that relates to speech.

Australia day

Y’all on the central line platform with your painted southern cross egalitarian faceology … But I’m celebrating a different victory of the antipodes. Not the 99% Fosters: Shiraz, elite financing one percenter baby. High Australian dialect, dig? Rarified blend of Saparavi-Tropical cocktail success and victory over martyrdom, dig? Calibrating the cube, someone whispered.

A real lesson

A real lesson is possible. Its precondition is that identity – like belief – should be suspended prior to entering the classroom. This precondition is intrinsic to all lessons – in fact, it IS the lesson, the suspension of identity is what was being taught — the teacher wasn’t saying anything else of importance.

This is why the lesson always appears to the student like a fruit, wrapped in prickly skin. With the difference that, to get to the fruit of communication, identity itself is what is peeled away.

You therefore have to passionately desire fruit to participate in the lesson. Obviously if you think the fruit’s not worth it, you get to keep your skin intact.

Sometimes the lesson will offer some kind of initial bait (a batted eyelash, a show of leg) to seduce you into taking the plunge and attempting to tackle the fruit. But that incentive is a kind of platonic reflection of a reward that transcends reward.

There are different fruits, different skins, different lessons — as many as there are different identities. And like identity, they are difference itself, not exchangeable nor comparable. Their properties cannot be generalized.

Everything I have just written constitutes a lesson, for a certain kind of person.

Approval necessary

Everyone knows that the pursuit of approval is not a good driver for effective work. Irrespective of whether the approval is met from superiors or peers — you feel great when they smile upon you and lousy when they frown. And inter-/intra-personal environments are such that you’ll always get both pats on the back and snide grumbles: it’s no one’s fault, just the emotional ebbs and flows of the human collective.

By working for approval, your own emotional state will be a micro, condensed reflection of this macro mood machine. And you will be like a slave to its essentially unpredictable ebbs and flows. You’ll ultimately become unproductive and miserable.

But it’s not that simple.

Ignoring approval and striving only for perfection in work, divorced from the valuation of others — this inevitably leads to inferior product. I had a terrible postdoc who failed to produce anything of merit because he insisted on doing math for math’s sake and wasn’t interested in impressing his boss. In contrast, Van Gough cut off his ear in misery, driven mad by failing to achieve recognition he craved.

We don’t need dilettantes.

The solution is to ensure you are always in control. Determine who is worth working for/with. Play the emotional approval game: but never forget that it is a game. It’s a game of chance but it is still a GAME of chance. Strategize, plan, be tactical, hedge your bets and strive for maximum impact. Eliminate your competition: without anger. Fight: delete obstruction, without malice. Befriend only those who you trust. Don’t be consumed by the dragon: ride it.

The dragon is chance, it is ebb and flow, it is the ups and downs. It’s the Face: a godface, your face, god’s face. And while random, through the contemplation of its nature, you will find success.

But first of all, ensure you are working in the right environment. There are some irredeemable warzones out there — volatile situations — you can spot them a mile away. And there are also places that are simply no longer productive — where there is, for you, only ebb and no flow. These are still part of the game, a wider game, a bigger game. Still part of the dragon, its bigger fractal image, the bigger machine: a bigger trough, devoid of all opportunity for progress — but leading to a bigger crest elsewhere, with greater bounty and reward.

Stay for as long as necessary but immigrate when you get the chance.