Or How A Brain Tumor Gave Me The Kick In The Ass I Needed
In an honest search for knowledge, you quite often have to abide by ignorance for an indefinite period.
– Erwin Schrodinger
I have been thinking about starting this adventure for a while now, but the reason I am diving in is not what I would have expected. A brain tumor.
The idea for this website came to me a little over a year ago, but I held off working on it because I had just finished writing my first novel and I was going to work on getting it published or do it myself. As of yet neither has happened. (Though I am close to self-publishing). I didn’t just want to move onto the next thing. That seems to be a pattern with me. Once the creative part is over, I tend to wash my hands of the whole affair and get them dirty with the next project.
For years I would make record after record but I could never settle on whether I wanted to have a band or be a solo artist. Then when I finally decided to become an author and write the book I had always thought I might, I took six months and learned how to program for iOS (With very little to no prior programming experience – The result was Mixeroo). I always have ideas running around my head and for years I was able to keep them moving in a semi coherent direction. So once I finished my novel and I had this idea, I decided to wait and try to unlearn some of the mistakes of the past.
Now I count myself as very lucky to have a best friend who is willing to give me honest feedback, and a few months ago he pointed out that two of my biggest weaknesses were focus and follow through. He was right. And my initial reaction was so what. Maybe I am just the kind of person who enjoys creating things. But then later that month I was reading Linchpin by Seth Godin and he had this to say:
He has passion for his craft, but no real passion for spreading his ideas. And if the ideas don’t spread, if no gift is received, then there is no art, only effort. When an artist stops work before his art is received, his work is unfulfilled.
This idea was huge for me. I guess in my head I always thought that would happen as a natural outcome of my having created something. So I started reading about sales. I used to say I hated sales. But the more I read about sales the more I came to realize that I was thinking about sales all wrong. If you have something that you think would improve or change someone’s life for the better and you keep it from them because you choose to create something and not share it, then you are doing them a disservice.
I had never thought of it in this way. And even now when I try to wrap my head around it, I feel kind of arrogant to believe that what I am creating could change or improve your life. But then I think of all of the things that have made my life better or made me a better human being and they are songs and books and stories. An instrument that allows me to express myself. A product that makes my life easier. Healthy and not so healthy food. Clothes that are functional and comfortable (The way I judge clothes as seen by my style choices). And all of this brings me to this website.
I have an idea of a framework for a way of thinking about the world. I have put together a list of what I am calling the “Rules of the Road“. This will be a fluid list with things coming and going as I think they should. Some of the experiments will not work. And that’s as it should be. I imagine an evolutionary experience. The things that do work will be held with a fierce grip and the others will drop by the wayside.
Now to the brain tumor. I have one. It’s a small (1 cm or so) and it’s not cancer, but it is growing inside my head. And if it grows quickly then I will need to deal with it sometime over the next year. But this kind of tumor (Acoustic Neuroma) can be observed for growth over a period of years if it does not get any bigger. And that is why I am starting this website. I am going to put this leg of the journey under the health banner. I want to document all that I am learning and share it with whoever it might benefit. I am planning on a podcast and a youtube channel and this medium. The word.
But just to be clear. I am starting from zero. Well not exactly zero, I do have one person on my mailing list – my own email address to see if the sign up form worked! So if you are wanting to start something, I will also be sharing what I learn about building from the ground up. I will probably be using words like growth hacking and split testing.
If you have no idea who I am, you can see some of my other creative works at kirkwheeler.net. Maybe you will be moved by one of my songs or the first of the many books I hope to write, but if all you do is find one idea on this site that you take with you and use in your daily life, then I will be thrilled beyond words.
My wife loves cookbooks and she always says that if she can get one recipe out of a book that she will use forever, then it was worth it. So I hope you think of this site in part like a cookbook, I truly hope you are able to find at least one idea here that will have an impact on the rest of your life.
But I also have a bigger aspiration. To invoke Seth Godin again from Linchpin:
It’s easy to buy a cookbook (filled with instructions to follow) but really hard to find a chef book.
And it is hard to find a chef book. Because it’s hard to make one. But that is really what I want this to be. A chef book. A place that you can use to help you become who you are meant to be.
So, here is the first rule of the road:
Start from where you are, with what you have.
And that’s just what I’m doing. I hope you come along for the ride.
If you made it this far and are interested in learning more as I expand on this idea then please be sure to sign up for the mailing list and I will send you free updates as I get this thing rolling.