Reaching the checkpoint

Reaching the checkpoint

I have had a few false starts with this. This, being regularly translating my ideas and reflections into written form. Being on an extended holiday at the moment has provided the space and time I needed to connect and write. To enforce a bit more accountability, I have found in my partner a writing partner. To start off, this looks like #30daysofwriting, which likely means an exercise in quantity, more so than quality but hopefully the latter starts to pick up along the way. For the sake of continuity through the hashtag, once this starts (today) the act will need to happen every day. Failing this, a bit of tough love, we will be able to keep each other accountable.  

In asking myself why I am doing this, I came up with three key reasons: checkpoints, skin and writing. Undoubtedly, a myriad of other reasons exist but these are the main ones that came to mind. The shove to send me over the cliff edge was in the form of two books I have recently read, another activity I am doing a lot on holiday. Some articles by Nassim Nicholas Taleb centring around his book Skin in the Game and Brene Brown’s book Daring Greatly (links are at the bottom of this post).

Taleb’s mantra centres around being biased towards action, observing what happens and modelling your world from this, not the other way around. For those not familiar with his work, he is a master of volatility (arguably not just in markets!) and most reknowned for his predictions about the 2008 GFC. Brown’s book also centres around putting yourself out there but the key takeaway for me was leaning into the vulnerability when you notice it. As I am sure has been written by a staggering proportion of people who start blogging, for most of us putting your ideas out there is a painful exercise in vulnerability.

Crash Bandicoot was my first console game. I got it on my PlayStation at age 8. Being the age I was, the second best part of the game was when you broke the box with a ‘C’ on it. This meant that when you fell plumetting to your death or were flattended by a boulder, you would resume your next life from the Checkpoint box rather going all the way back to the start of the level. This reminds me a lot of writing. It has been shown time and time again how unreliable our memories are, contrary to what we might think (or remember), but by articulating ourselves on the page, there is nowhere to hide. What it also means, is we don’t have to go back through our full trail of thought, we can resume from the last checkpoint we reached and push on from there. Mulling things over in our head often takes us on repetitive loops of the same thoughts and we never actually get our way through the whole level. 

Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Brene Brown


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