A few months ago I left the company I co-founded, As I try to figure out what I’m doing with my life I started picking up some shifts at my old restaurant, it’s a pre-theater fine dining spot. The theater crowd is elderly, and stuffy. The kitchen isn’t very big, we often are understaffed and over seated. Ticket times sometimes go long, waiters and waitresses get flustered and demand their table’s food, the manager and chef yell at each other, the new lady working pantry gives you attitude for not saying please when you ask her to add the Maytag blue cheese to an incomplete Artisianal cheese plate. Dinner service can be a tense affair.
Last year I did a video project for the Denver Nuggets, I shot underneath the basket at a few games. Being at an NBA stadium for work instead of play is a completely different animal. It quickly becomes obvious how every facet of the stadium experience is tailored for your enjoyment. Bass coursing though the night air for blocks leading up to the stadium with flood lights illuminating the sky, the irresistible smell of decadent snacks once you enter, on-screen visuals and graphics, in-game entertainment during timeouts and halftime, the volume of the music pumping through their world class speakers, the bright lights, All of it designed to be an immersive experience that allows you to lose yourself in the moment and justify the price on your ticket.
In both of these situations, just by being there you’re implicitly agreeing to the collective feeling of that moment. In the kitchen, when everyone is shouting and yelling, you start scowling because everyone else is. In the stadium you instinctively bob your head to the music and lose the filter between what you think and what you say. At a game I was shooting at, a Nuggets player got hacked at the rim without a foul being called. Without a second’s thought I shouted “Come on, ref!” Except He was standing only 3 feet away from me and probably wasn't expecting that kind of dissatisfaction from the press section, after an incredulous glance from him he trotted off to follow the action on the other side of the court.
These are two extreme examples of something that happens in a much more benign way in our everyday lives. We’re forced into a mindset that we didn't consent to. We’re bombarded with messages at every turn of our day. From the second you turn on the TV, check Facebook, or open up your email, people are lobbying for a say in your mental state.
Louis CK famously said “Everything’s amazing and nobody’s happy”. As the amount of conveniences in our life skyrockets, it seems for most people, their threshold for inconveniences has dropped lower and lower. I’m constantly surprised by the creative reasons people find to get bent out of shape. Misery loves company, and people can’t wait to get you on their bandwagon of dissatisfaction.
Don’t feel obligated to join in. If you want to enjoy the hell out of your day, do just that.
On an average day you will find the following items living in my pockets - an Iphone 4 with a cracked screen with or without the case that occasionally charges it, the keys to my busted up car with the nasty rattle and the permanently illuminated check engine light, keys to my apartment that is owned by the oldest, sweetest, greekest lady you’ll ever meet, my wallet, a pilot g2 .05 mm pen, and my Notebook
It’s 3.5" x 5" fits in my pocket and goes everywhere that I do. People say “but can’t you just take notes on your phone? I can, but taking out my phone, opening the evernote app, and starting a new doc takes far to long.
I like to know that my thoughts occupy a tangible location in the universe at all times, usually in my back pocket. nobody sees it but me, I’m able to record unfiltered musings throughout the day. Some are great, others, not so much.
Carrying this notebook has taught me a very important lesson - Your thoughts have a short half life. Don’t assume that you will ever think what you are currently thinking ever again. If you don’t record a thought the moment it happens, chances are good that you'll be left scratching your head wondering what it was.
Occasionally the stars align and you’ll have a beautiful moment of clarity on some aspect of your life. But situations change, you change, your perspective changes. If you don’t write it down, what ever benefit it might have had is gone.
Throughout my young life i've forgotten countless, tasks, to-do's, action items, and ideas all because I thought, "I'll remember that." I didn't, and I won't, and you wont either. Life is to full of stimuli to hold on to every good thought you have.
Use it or lose it, store it or ignore it, jot it or rot it, pen it or say amen to it, you get the point.
As soon as my eyes opened to how fleeting my ideas could be I realized this idea has a very obvious corollary. Most opportunities are just as fleeting as most thoughts you have. Just because you have an opportunity right now doesn’t mean you will have it ever again.
If you have a chance to pursue something you want - act on it, take a chance, or don’t. Just don’t expect on it ever happening again.
Remember, the default setting on life is mediocre, you gotta fight for anything more than that.
Woody Roseland Inc. all rights reserved
Woody Roseland Inc. all rights reserved