Hey Steemians, Inventor and Ghostwriter Here Sharing Why I Have to Give Away All My Ideas
For the past ten years, I wrote down fifty to sixty ideas a day, and now I know exactly what to do with them.
Why didn't I do anything with these ideas until now? Because, for those ten years, I wasn't myself.
It began when I was nineteen. A young inventor, ghostwriter and general idea-monger, I came down with a mystery illness. It came on slowly, deliberately, like an insidious regime. The symptoms started with brain fog, depression, mood swings, rage, acid reflux, and a host of neurological issues. There were also night sweats, where I'd not only have to change my sheets, but flip the mattress. Before long I was sleeping on a shower curtain, under a layer of beach towels. It got worse and worse over the years. It seemed like every time I adapted to one symptom, a new one emerged.
"Oh, it's August? Time for the Symptom of the Month."
Miss October: Wild Body Odors
Mr. March. Itchy Brown Eye
Other symptoms included IBS, insomnia, jellyfish skin (most people call this clammy, but my skin straight jellyfished), 24hr blitzkrieg fevers, inglorious bouts of binge eating (the Nazi allusions end reich now), TMJ, eye floaters (like seeing stars, if stars looked like bacteria dancing the shuffle and your eyes were microscopes that couldn't stop watching), decreased memory, poor concentration, and rapid dental decay (the stuff of nightmares), just to name a few.
For nine years, NINE years, I had no idea what was happening to me, and the doctors made me feel like it was all in my head.
Until July 4th, 2016
The night before, a severe pain was bulging below my sternum. It felt like my stomach had leaped into my esophagus.
On the morning of the 4th, my eyes felt like jackhammers chiseling at my brain, except slower, as if this was personal. When I closed my eyes, I felt my heart pounding in every vein. It's beat was heavy and slow, almost looming, like a drum on the road to mortician.
I checked my pulse. My heart rate had dropped to 25 beats per minute.
After a moment, shaky but intrigued, I laughed.
"This might be a good thing," I said, pacing. "The doctor's can't ignore this."
I slapped my hand over my heart. "Not this, Doctors! Not this."
But then, feeling my heartbeat, my chest deflated.
"They can't ignore 25 beats per minute," I said, still talking to myself. "But that doesn't mean they won't be ignorant."
Most of us are ignorant in many things, and up until now, the doctors didn't understand my condition. I had no reason to believe they'd understand this new symptom, either. My only consolation was, "If they're ignorant, and paying attention, at least they're not ignorant and prescribing me Prozac."
It was a little harder to keep a sense of humor now, but I shook my head and laughed under my breath.
If there was a word for this type of laugh, which was more of a breathy chuckle, hopeless yet bemused, like "hey, who knows what could happen, but it's probably not going to be good," then that word would have killed it. I was an audience on the edge of my seat, and discovering such a word, a word that understood me in the moment I realized that I might die, that this mystery illness could kill me, I would have laughed so hard I cried.
Since the onset of this disease, I hadn't cried once. Other than anger, sometimes rage, I felt nothing. Except for one good thing, I felt nothing...but right now, even that didn't matter. With a heavy heart rate, and a light heart, I made my peace with death, and walked to the emergency room. The hospital didn't let me leave for four days.
As expected, the doctors had no idea. After they inspected my heart with EKGs, cool gadgets and the treadmill test, they said it was one of the healthiest hearts they've seen. They didn't understand what was wrong, or how it related to my other symptoms. They came in with teams of doctors. No one understood.
So I clarified things by showing them videos of what my symptoms felt like. This one demonstrates how my floaters danced the shuffle:
Sometimes the floaters slow-danced, and it seemed like they were teaching me the Texas Two Step:
Sadly, I didn't have the energy to keep up, and neither did the doctors.
"No, Doctor, you have to watch. Just finish the video. I promise it'll make sense."
We share a blank gaze. They can't tell if I'm serious.
"New plan," I say. "Let's close our eyes and breathe with our bellies. Feel free to lie on your back, Dr. Doctorious. You've had a long day. I'm sorry to contribute to that. Now, let's allow our default mode network to work on this problem. How do my symptoms all come together? The first person to figure out the common denominator can transition to Warrior One. The rest of us will follow your lead and celebrate life through the breath."
I was trying really hard to keep it light, but I could taste the shadows in my humor.
"You seem confused, Dr. Doctorious. Warrior One is the victory pose. It looks like a pacifist trying to win."
For more fun with doctors, check out this video of a neurologist trying to make me feel crazy:
After the fourth day in the hospital, the doctors didn't know what to do with me, so when my heart rate rose to 45 beats per minute, I checked out and walked home. On that mile-long walk, I realized Western Medicine probably couldn't help me. I had no answers, and more questions than I started with, but a family member recommended I see a functional medicine doctor.
The functional medicine doctor quickly figured out I had a systemic bacterial infection, and with the help of another doctor, I finally got a clinical diagnosis: Advanced Lyme disease.
"Lyme disease?" I thought. "I lost my twenties to LYME disease? They couldn't have told me that when I was nineteen? Twenty three? Twenty seven?"
Long story short, I committed to healing. I promised to do whatever it takes to cure myself, and today I'm symptom free.
If you prefer the long story, here's the first part of a video series where I explain how I healed from Lyme:
Now you might be asking, during your illness, what was that one good thing you felt?
The feeling of ideas, how it feels when you have a new idea, or understand an old idea at a deeper level, that feeling, that glorious a-ha, that briefest of moments, that was the one good thing I felt.
I owe my life to ideas. Living with all those symptoms, ideas were the only thing that kept me going. Pain. Exhaustion. Disorder. I had to pee six times a night. My stream came out like water through a pinched hose.
During that time, it's hard to describe my relationship with pain. When physical pain reaches a certain height, the body passes out. When mental pain reaches a certain height, the pain turns off.
You know those battle scenes in war movies where a grenade explodes and the whole scene goes numb? And then there's that high-pitched ringing, like a lifeline to your senses? It might be a stretch, but that's what it felt like living in my body. Confused, dizzied, remote, stunned. I rarely heard ringing, but the silent alarm in the back of my mind was a constant reminder that something was wrong. My muscles felt the way fat used to feel. My stomach looked weird, like a lumpy balloon that a clown drew abs on. I felt old in this young body.
And that was it. My body wasn't a safe place to be anymore. I hated being touched. My skin wasn't a barrier. It was like Ramsey Bolton had flayed me from the inside.
Once the pain turned off, I detached. I wasn't here. My mind wasn't in my body, and if there's a spirit, my spirit wasn't in my mind. I don't know where I was, but my imagination took me there. I lived in a world of stories and ideas, and over time, I stopped talking to people. To be with people meant I had to be present, and being present meant I had to pretend like my body and I were still roommates.
With old friends, I'd hold awkward silences. I didn't know what to say.
"Hey man, do me a favor. I'm going to close my eyes and disappear for a minute, and while I'm gone, can you punch my body in the face?"
Yet, somehow, the ideas kept coming. I couldn't do anything with them, but they kept coming. They came with just enough energy to help me write them down.
As humans, we are creators. Creativity is our birthright. But what was it like to build? To move your body like a force of nature, to use your hands like a sensitive beast? I couldn't remember.
My hands were cold. I was all light and no fire.
For a while there, I got so lost in the disease that I forgot that I used to be a playful, creative person. The disease owned my personality, like the Control Bugs in Starship Troopers, so I committed to fighting back. Ideas were my light, but I was missing that fire that makes ideas contagious. Which is why I started a YouTube channel.
The YouTube channel would help me learn to play again. Learning new skills, seeing old things in new ways, and getting into flow states are important parts of play, and what better way to play than embarrassing yourself on YouTube?
Learning and Play as Medicine
The first nine months were practice. I had to get comfortable in front of the camera, and I moved through a lot of awkward body language. Talking to the camera got me out of my head, and within a few months I discovered a new passion.
My ideas started taking the form of skits and scenes, but at the time I didn't have the skills or resources to film them. Instead, I made videos about insights, mindset and mastery. The channel probably appeared more self-help than I wanted, but that's the state I was in.
A big part of my daily filming practice was trying to revive my personality (RIP, old friend, RIP). I lost all sense of who I was, to the point where I'm still struggling to find my authentic voice again. It'll take some time as I repair all the damage Lyme did to my gut and my brain, as well as the damage I did to myself while killing the Lyme, so it's kind of like I'm going through a second childhood.
The videos I really want to make will challenge people's perspectives, changing the way we see things. Making these videos will require higher and higher levels of mastery, as well a cameraman, a skilled video editor, and actors, so in the meantime I'll be making simplified versions of these videos, which will challenge my camera presence.
With Lyme, I developed extreme self-consciousness. Making the YouTube videos helped with that, but now I need to be learn how to access my authentic self in public, in front of strangers, while filming in real time. To practice, I'll be making videos on the streets of New York, talking to people while I have boiled spinach pasted to my two front teeth, or filming stream of consciousness while standing in Times Square, or dressing homeless on the Subway and asking for Altcoin donations. These videos are meant to challenge my newfound fears: the fear of being seen, the fear of being overheard, and the fear of my private thoughts being made public.
They'll also challenge my core fears: The fear of not knowing the answers. The fear of not being in control. The fear of not knowing who I am.
Which means, deep down, I'm terrified of making these street videos, and that's exactly why I need to make them. Ever since I was young, I believed in this maxim: Do the thing that scares you. That's where your growth is.
As a kid, I was also terrified of people stealing my ideas. In an ideal world, I'd be able to build all of my ideas, to develop them exactly the way I envision them, but that's not realistic, and despite all evidence to the contrary, I never considered myself a dreamer. Instead of dreamer, it seemed there should have been a word for, "Idea person who builds what he sees," but there wasn't, so I settled for the catch phrase: Make Your Ideas Come True.
Ahem, Make Your Ideas Come True!:
If the above video made you cringe, you're not alone. For a channel trailer, it's more confusing than informative, but it gives you an idea of how I used play to help heal myself.
The YouTube channel was originally the way I was going to give my ideas away, but then cryptocurrency led me to SteemIt. Here, ideas can do what ideas do best: have sex with other ideas.
Pardon my French, but this visual is a crowning achievement. What nature does on one level, it does on every level. Humans mate and give birth to new humans. Ideas mate and give birth to new ideas.
And there are so many brilliant ideas out there, so many big ideas waiting to meet each other to create the next big thing. I'd be honored if even a single one of my ideas was a small part of a bigger idea's blockchain.
Which is why, for the next few months, I'll be going through this backlog of ideas, picking out the good ones and sharing them on SteemIt. Posts will include ideas for companies, products, services, books, and videos. Posts might also share insights, essays, and short stories, maybe even a poem or two.
Good Ideas Should Be Free
While I was always afraid of people stealing my ideas, I also believed that ideas should be free to the masses. Even saying "my ideas" doesn't feel right. Did I have the idea, or did the idea come to me? Why is it that after I have a good idea, a few months later, or maybe a year later, I often see that idea in the form of a new product, or a business, or a theory? Because the idea wasn't mine. Other people had the same idea because circumstances made that idea inevitable.
Ideas, by nature, are decentralized. One idea could inspire a thousand variations, and operate around the world in a thousand different ways.
That's the world I want to live in. And that's why cryptocurrency and SteemIt are so inspiring.
Now, that being said, is this giveaway coming from the goodness of my heart? Am I selflessly sharing all these ideas?
Maybe, but it's also coming from a good-natured selfishness: I want the best for the world because I want a world in which I can be my best. If someone uses "my" idea and makes a billion dollar company that helps a lot of people, yet I don't see a bitcoin in profits, that idea, that company, still serves me. It's something the world needed, and now has, which means we're all better equipped to help and serve others. The virtuous circle grows concentric.
Change Through Competition
Of course it's a struggle, we're all human, we can't be perfectly logical, but why be jealous of peers and competitors when they succeed? Why must others fail for our successes to feel like SUCCESSES?
This is how I've learned to see competition: When someone is better than me, they help me become better. I learn from them as I compete with them. Once I master the skill, and become better than them at that skill, then I, in turn, inspire them to become their best. Their best will then help make me my best, and my best will help make them their next-level best.
It's cooperative competition. We make each other better by making ourselves better, and we consistently up the ante (rather than being the anti).
Our ideas will always be gladiators in the Coliseum of Things, but once the victors emerge, bloodied and lean, why don't we observe them without judgment? Let's take all these good ideas, clean them up, put them in a room together, and let them loose. 1000 Steem they turn up the heat and make like lovers in a Greek orgy, not gladiators in a Roman bloodbath. Take the Olympics, for examples. We've all heard the stories. The best athletes in the world fight for a spot in the games, and once they're there, it's game on. In more ways than one.
"Cooperative competition" is largely what we see in the tech industry, and it's the reason why innovation in tech is exploding. It's what's happening with cryptocurrency as better coins and blockchains emerge.
"Hell yes, great idea. Now how about this one?!"
But viewing the competition uncooperatively, the way big business and governments often do, is the reason why many brilliant industries were crushed, such as the electric car 100 years ago. It's why innovation stagnates in certain fields, and perhaps it's a simplified explanation of why the economy crashes.
Some might think that sharing my ideas like this is as a bad idea itself, and that's ok. In terms of an extremely limited view of personal profit, it probably is a bad idea, but the bigger idea is what I'm investing in. It's the same reason we're investing in crypto. We're betting on the bigger idea, with long-term returns in the future.
Ideas vs Big Business
If we want our future to emerge in such a way that we're well-equipped to cope with the world we find ourselves in, then we can't control the flow of ideas.
Ideas, like genes, like memes, like steem, interact with and build on each other. Why? Because ideas are animals of a different beast. They're meant to evolve in real time. In this way, ideas act like bacteria. But for too long ideas have evolved like the slow moving behemoth of Big Pharma, which is one reason why the bacteria are outsmarting our medicines.
The big three aren't necessarily bad, but when industries like big pharma and big business and big government control the flow of ideas, the world stagnates.
Or rather, on one level the world stagnates, in the form of innovation, and on another level, the world divides: The rich get richer, and the poor get poorer.
Cliches like the one above make a good point: Big business thrives on cliches, while the masses suffer the same old thing.
The over-goblins don't like it when you hear it, but "cli-che" is the sound old money makes. Cli-che is a strangled "cha-ching!"
But what are the "cli-ches" of business?
The cli-ches of business are those "tried and true" ideas that big companies "squeeze the life out of," as if wringing a glorious bird of prey into a flat rubber chicken, and then using that rubber chicken to beat down the eaglets as they hatch, like it's Whac-a-Mole.
Seriously, guys, all you Big Guys, it's called Whac-a-Mole. Not Whack-a-baby-eagle-as-a-metaphor-for-crushing-big-ideas-before-they-take-flight-which-means-we're-turning-our-downy-eaglets-into-naked-mole-rats-that-hide-underground-like-the-cannabis-industry-did-for-all-those-years-but-I-definitely-don't-smoke-so-don't-whack-a-me-too-Mole.
Ideas Should Be Free Because They Cost You
This is one of the reason I'm giving my ideas away in upcoming posts. I don't want to smother good ideas by trying to keep them all for myself.
But if I share a dumb idea, I trust the community will rip it a new one. Not planning on it, but sometimes I can't tell if an idea is good or bad until I share it with a group of people, because even if the idea is dumb, I love it.
I'm the mother, and the bad idea is my ugly child. Of course I love it.
We love our ideas because we give birth to them and birth releases feel-good chemicals that promote bonding so we don't eat our newborns alive. Whenever I had this feeling of ideas, I moved back into my body for a moment, and I understood the happiness of dogs when their people come home. Not all these ideas moved me like this, mainly the big ones, which were rarer, but each idea did give me a brief moment where I felt like myself again. During the lulls, when I felt like dying, and some lulls were longer than others, it was these ideas, these moments, that strung me together.
Even the ideas for ingenious ways to kill myself, even these ideas gave me little bursts of energy. They gave me life, they made me laugh. Feel free to call me a sap, but big ideas take my breath away. I fall in love twice a month. I have a new crush every week.
Which is why, excited as I am to share, as thick as my skin is when it comes to criticism, underneath, I'm scared. Scared for these ideas. Scared people won't get them. Scared people will ridicule them. Scared people will reject them. And scared for the worst, scared people will ignore them.
But mostly I'm scared because these ideas were all I had.
These ideas helped me live all these years, and now that I'm better, it's time to return the favor.
But what if I can't? Ideas cost mental energy. Ideas take time to create, to build, to grow. What if I can't give these ideas a life outside my notebooks? What if they die here on social media?
It's more than possible. Today, each of us has the power of Caesar. Thumbs up or down. Like or dislike. Life or death.
It's up to you.
For ten years, these ideas kept me alive. Whether they live or die, it's up to you.
They're yours now.
Except for the suicide ideas.
They'd kill me if I shared.
Thank you, SteemIt. As a new member of your community, I promise to give back by providing value, and never waste your time!
P.S. To be fully transparent, I'd also like to pair my YouTube videos with blog posts, sharing unfiltered thoughts and insights, and SteemIt seems like the perfect platform to do it. One of my ideas for YouTube was that they create a blogging application on YouTube itself, so people can pair videos and blog entries, but hey, I'd rather that idea go to SteemIt. SteemIt will also be the place where I share many of my real thoughts, because advertisers are making YouTube a little too censorshippy.
P.S.S. My ego wants to preserve itself, so it wants me tell you not to watch my channel's old videos. They're amateur.
P.S.S.S. The scene in the hospital is a dramatized version of actual events. Dialogue was enhanced. Names were changed.
P.S.S.S.S. While we're all mothers when it comes to giving birth to ideas, ideas need their dads, too. As fathers, we need to craft the good ideas and kick the bad ones into shape. Or take them behind the barn (or whatever agricultural storage facility the Spartans had).
P.S.S.S.S.S. Even though I love the ideas for how they made me feel, that doesn't mean I value "feeling" over "thinking." One of the reasons why I'll be sharing ideas on here is because this community has a lot of smart people, people smarter than me, and that's what ideas need. People who get it.
P.S.S.S.S.S.S. Now I'm just taking a psssss.
P.S.S.S.S.S.S.S. Crpyto doesn't cli-che. Crypto cha-chings!