My ignorance and spiritual ruination now exposed, let's move on a bit.

Some of the ways I’ve attempted to jump-start—borrowing from Ayn Rand here because I like how she puts it—a “motive energy” is by creating to-do lists and projects and even a mind map or two. These incantations, designed for folks with energy and focus who merely need organization, don’t retroactively generate energy and focus. As Merlin Mann might say if he were less elegant and more self-derivative, creating a bullet list of things to do without the wherewithal or considered interest in their completion is like buying a chair about jogging. So first, care.

In short, this cargo cult approach doesn’t work. At all. It’s worse, actually, than being merely nonfunctional; it’s dysfunctional. The added stress of both managing and failing to meet these objectives strongly exacerbates the sense of looming failure. It adds degrees of failure, like a geology of failure, with strata and sediment of disappointment and self-deprecation, and below it all the fossils of dreams long ago crushed. The sad, bitter petroleum, which may yet be refined into industriousness but which nevertheless almost always creates toxic byproducts.

Here is where I’d write the preamble to a hopeful resolution, starting with a coy “However”, a come-hither wink, and rolling into some tips for riding entropy without drowning. Maybe if I were writing a self-help blog or an “article” that’d be picked up by Outbrain. But all I have left for now is that I’m just trying to tread water and learn to swim. Again.


My name is Daniel Black. I am on the internet in several places, including Twitter and Tumblr. I am a person. I am a father and a husband. I have a degree in mathematics. I ruminate about thinking and writing and how to make decisions.

Continue reading about me if, you know, you're curious like that. It's okay; no one's watching. You could also subscribe to the RSS feed, if you swing like that.