Empires of the Mind

I’ve been reading all the business books for years. Every new listing by the hottest new internet marketer, entrepreneur, design guru, social commentator, motivational speaker, digital nomad, organisational psychologist, startup wunderkind, and TED talker. I’ve spoken of it as my informal education because I knew nothing much at all about many of these fields, had no degree (much less the coveted MBA) and no idea how to become part of the ‘creative, smart & wealthy is the new sexy’ set.

So I read books. Hundreds of them. I watched the video presentations and listened to the podcasts. I imagined that at some point all this information would coalesce into a sparkling A-HA moment where my way forward to glory as a boot-strapped entrepreneur with a vision for magnificence would become obvious to me.

All the books told me to dream big. That made sense. If you’re going to change the world and touch God, you’ve gotta dream pretty big.

So I taught the impoverished of the developed world the long forgotten art of cookery; thereby improving their health, finances, relationships, and social structure. A rising tide lifts all boats, and other platitudes. Crisis averted, world saved. You’re welcome.

I created social networking sites for chefs with industry information, job listings, interviews with the greats and the up –and-comers, industrial representation and a voice for frustration. Industry suffering high loss of staff and skills saved. Dining public eternally grateful. Crisis averted, world saved, etc.

That website that connects retired itinerant tradesmen with people needing skilled & qualified people to do small jobs on their houses? Mine.

The one that connects small unknown yet briliant designers from the developing world to people who can leverage their creations in the developed? Also mine.

The menu prooofreading business (sorry, platform) designed to save us all from the horror of poor punctuation over our trio of dips.

The meal-sharing platform (plateform?) a-la airbnb or Uber.

You’re getting the picture. I dreamt big ad infinitum.

I created empires of the mind. Fully fleshed out ideas with wireframes, automation, business plans and retirement strategies. Nimble and mobile. Me sitting at the top like a potentate, shifting levers. Empires which kept me awake most of the night, so excited by the potential in the idea, and planning, planning, planning. Did I mention that most of these involved the achievement of fantastic wealth for me & mine at some point?

And finally at some point, the realisation of the enormity of what has been wrought! My head a whorling mass of information and relationships and where does one start untangling threads and all those surging brain chemicals come crashing down with the realisation that those books have put some heavy weight on my shoulders and really, I’m just a chef with no right to be dreaming this big.

And so the thought project is put aside while I “sort out a few things”

A few weeks later, a new book, and oh crap, I have got this AMAZING idea.

It’s like a drug – wave, ride, crest, crash. Helluva ride. Do it again.

Problem is, the drug has become habitual, and this user is feeling strung out. Just like a drug, all the resources that have been allocated to it over time have amounted to nothing. Just pushing that lever to release the pleasure pellets.

I’m gonna write a book. I’ll call it Dream Small. Once it’s written I’ll…oh crap, there it is. Recognition of the problem is the first step right?

Anyway, today I’m going to buy spend $30 on knick-knacks to sell on ebay. Someone’s gotta feed the Empire’s cats.

And So It Begins…

Marli started saying that to me at the start of EVERY service when she’d bring in her first docket for the night. It got on my tits because it was a statement repeated night, after night, after night, after night, after night, after night. And life at the time seemed to be a series of never ending repetition, after repetition, after repetition – ad infinitum. Pardon my room full of tautological mirrors.

Neither of us function terribly well under a life of consistency. I’m a fan of finding where the boundaries lie then constantly nudging them. Once they’ve been pushed as far as I plausibly seem able without destroying the view people tend to have of me as THIS KIND OF PERSON (inoffensive) with PARTICULAR ATTRIBUTES (subject to circumstance) on which they CAN RELY, I get bored. Marli cares a whole lot less what people think of her, much to her credit. None of this is to pretend that we are not creatures of habit.

I tend to think of us as one of the FEW – Fat, Entitled and White. Or maybe Full of Existential Wankst. Either way, it’s splitting hairs & all our problems were of a First World nature. Mr Maslow didn’t tell us what to do next (Which sounds very trite because it is; I make NO claims to having achieved self-actualization – that would take more effort than I have been (up till now) willing to deploy. We are middle class dilettantes and we want it NOW!).

So we sold our house and moved to Thailand for an unspecified period of time to do rather vaguely defined things on the proceeds. How self-indulgent. Rather like this little diatribe.

And so it begins.