Turning Thoughts Into Ideas
It is remarkable, honestly, what thoughts can catch us, take root, and hold strong for days, months, and even years.
When thoughts about the word context started swirling in my mind in the Fall of 2018, it was just a concept, a musing to look at and admire.
Over time, however, thoughts started to develop into something of a fire burning in my stomach that needed to be spewed onto this Earth so I could scorch it with the impact I want to make, which is any delta really, in the directions I want to be taking the world over time. I started to realize this wasn’t just some goal of mine to check off, this was a pursuit of real meaning for myself like nothing I have ever seen. So much so I can now write in retrospect about how swept I was by my own ideas as I sought to find whatever context I could that would reinforce what I felt I was discovering, which was my own perspective.
As a person who regards themselves as an excellent habit former, I set myself to the challenge of writing a book that would force me to overcome my worst fears about myself, because how else do you write a book than become the book itself? J.K. Rowling is the keeper to the universe that is Harry Potter. With each retcon and release, she expands and turns the world she created in ways far beyond what she scribbled onto a napkin in a diner years ago. How else become an Olympic gold medalist achieve what they want most without the help of a coach to remind them of the world they are trying to pursue. They don’t. By and large and with a high degree of confidence, I can say just about no one who makes it big and stays afloat does not do so without a plan. It may not be a great one, especially at first, but there certainly is one to start with that is given a chance to grow. What makes them successful is they found plans for themselves they could commit living into even on the hardest of days.
Wikipedia, a trusted source of information in the context of being a Millennial, defines a plan as any diagram or list of steps with details of timing and resources used for the purpose of achieving an objective. See also strategy. It is commonly understood as a temporal (time) set of intended actions through which one expects to achieve a goal.
Plans are what set forth the greatest inventions of this world and the greatest fallacies we’ve ever committed as a human race. We often make them quickly, if we do at all, and we trend not to look back at them once we have set them in motion because today’s concerns often take precedence over whatever commitments we made to ourselves or others yesterday.
Improving the Plan Instead of Planning to Improve
Planning is important if you ever want a sense of direction, but if you don’t know what direction you’re trying to go, then a plan isn’t going to help you. This is why planning first starts with a choice. A choice to make something with your experience of life that is different than just experiencing the world around you but having the world experience you. A choice that makes a difference in your life in a way that catches your breath and keeps you winded because you just want to keep up with something you believe in. It’s finding your True North and, if you cannot find it, then any plan you are making is only serving to move you in the directions others want you to move in.
My True North in life deals within the realms of Compassion because it is a world I know least above all others. I know the worlds of Austerity and Hunger very well, but Compassion is a place I have been redirected, at many times in life, away from as a place for me to build thoughts of my own on. But in discovering the light of such a place, I cannot feel like I am doing anything worthwhile in life if I am not trying to spread the word on the incredible haven I have found, because have you seen this shit? Wow! Who knew you didn’t have to do anything to experience your own Garden of Eden in your own mind but sit with yourself on some things.
In yielding to my True North, life suddenly gives way to a plan. For the first time in my life, it feels, I am at the precipice of self-denial that I cannot stomach any further if I cannot get it out. At risk of sounding insane, weird, nuts, or stupid, let me be the first to say that as a person who is known to have a plan for any problem, the best plan is to have none at all. Why? Because you’re not really going anywhere. At least in the context of the cosmos.
Welcome to the Universe of Context
Where you’re really ever going, is closer or further to where your True North is in your mind, or what I have been starting to play with as an idea called the Universe of Context.
Inside all of our minds is an entire universe of thoughts, wishes, dreams, hopes, aspirations, connectedness, pain, hurt, trauma, repression, depression, psychosis, chaos. We have all of it and we are all space cadets on a journey through space and time, constantly in search of meaning within the ever expanding circles of context we enter in life.
As a person who has done plenty in this world to hang their hat on, the proudest moments I can ever experience for myself are when I can stop exploring the universe of context in my mind and actually live for myself when I’m not being my thoughts.
However, the perspective I observe to have way back in the dark reaches of space in my head is one with incredible visibility to processes and systems. I know how to cultivate a thought into something that becomes an idea and I know how to stoke the coals of an idea until they become something hot enough to throw another log on for to stay warm through the night. Persistence and fortitude are words that people have used to describe me, though stubbornness and dimwittedness are what await me on the other sides of such shiny coins to carry.
When I got to a point in life where I started to see for myself how exhausting of a rat race we live in just to keep up with a world constantly telling us all the things we have to do in order to be “good enough”, I started saying I’ve had enough of this. Faced with such disgust in what I myself had blindly followed for years, just as many others have, in the pursuit of being right, the best, and on top, all I want to do now is tell you how you were better off staying home and watching a movie if you wanted to see how a life like that would turn out.
However, that’s where I find I can actually be of most use. To be helpful, as a value, but to inspire a delta, as a goal.
Our Mischief is Managed by Our Egos
If there’s one thing I know myself to be, it is annoying as fuck. I am the kind of guy that, as a child, always nagged his parents about what they were doing wrong while being a brat just the same. I’ve been self-absorbed with my friends when I have been stuck in the ditches of my own problems or, worse, careening in a way that my ego cannot be contained. If there’s one thing that I have learned, is that my ego is something that I don’t know how to manage at times.
My ego is an excited, curious, and playful dog. It runs around to fetch things I throw for it, it plays tricks for me that bring me my own joy with whatever mental mindgames I’m playing at the time, and it also drives me into the ground like a plane nose-diving for the Earth at the first sign of a bird in the engine. I’m the master of my own delusions about myself and I’m my own worst enemy. I take myself to court, put myself on the defendants stand and interrogate myself for why I wasn’t good enough at meeting moments in life where I could have been better, I ‘should have’ been better.
First things first, ‘should’ is not in this universe. It is not reality, ever, nothing ever should anything because, in the beginning, God said “Let there be light.” He didn’t come into the universe and stub his (or her) toe on a rock and stammer to the echoing space around him that there should have been something to help him, he gave way and made space for it.
As a gay man who does not fit nicely into the context of any mainstream religion, I have found what I have struggled most with in life is what Christians, those of devout faith, and those that believed in anything is how they could believe in anything at all. The answer wasn’t because I was a sinner, gone astray, a black sheep, or lost.
What I lacked, was context.
What We All Ever Really Lack is Context
In any situation, any time we encounter an obstacle that we cannot get over, what we are missing is context. Context that would give us the perspective we need to see where we were plainly so wrong, context that would give us the energy to wake up to life so energetically that life is still in bed going ‘whoa, you need to chill the fuck out’.
As a person who has been mentally trapped in many of their problems in life, stuck in the midst of an anxiety disorder, what I am searching for most when feeling lost is context like a lighthouse in the night. Context is what causes us to aspire to be better than who we were yesterday, to plant seeds that help us grow beyond who we are today. Context is what you need to find if you truly want to give a shit about what you set yourself to and what I have set myself to do is write a book. A book about how to overcome the hardest of obstacles, and that is the universe within your mind.
I’m not a psychologist, a therapist, or any other ist. I’m a thinker and a feeler by minimum qualification, but I don’t think I need to qualify my thoughts when I say that the only message I bring is to give a fuck about yourself and to give a fuck about others.
I’m a person who has searched the world high and low for context and in all the ‘wrong’ places, enough so to make everything just about right. I’ve learned from exploring the vastness of context that there’s some real beauty to be found in life in the places you’d least expect. In fact, what I have learned in my life as I have searched for context, context to create meaning with for myself is a gay man, is that the context those who have faith get to operate from, which is from a context of oneness.
A feeling of oneness is described as a state of being unified or whole, though comprised of two or more parts. As a lover of data who will analyze the shit out of just about anything if you gave me enough time, I can say that there are very few trends to identify in the world that relate all of us together. We are divided as fuck. Class wars in this country like the worst I think I’ve seen in all my almost 30 years of getting to experience the privilege that is American capitalism. Value is then defined by how much you have to offer someone and you aren’t viewed as a necessary component if the tension needed to do dealings with you as a person exceeds the value you are perceived to have.
The way we treat each other is terrible and you can see the worst of us come out whenever someone says something ‘wrong’ in our minds. Wrong is but a trick we make in our minds when something is foreign to us or could threaten the of safety of our ideas about ourselves or who we care about. Wrong is something we avoid constantly while we run through life’s battles declaring our opponents were the ones who were wrong at each turn.
Wrong, to me, is what you are when all you do is look at others and think about what is wrong with them instead of asking what is wrong with you for feeling the need to judge, reprimand, and socially castrate someone for disagreeing with you or having viewpoints that are not woke enough.
What you lack is context. Context that would otherwise help you see that, in that person’s world, through all their life experiences and the context of the time they went through and who they interacted with made that thought in the current moment seem right to them.
Content is Comfort, not Context
Humans are pretty intelligent when they apply themselves and when we can recognize ourselves to be wrong in a situation, that is when we stand to grow the most. But when it comes to admitting that we’re wrong, we are stupid beyond belief. If we could measure our intelligence based on our ability to be humble, that’s frankly a context I wish we could operating from. But instead, we don’t. We self-preserve and we look for what will reinforce ideas about ourselves so that we can build up this nice layer around ourselves called The Comfort Zone.
Comfort is not real. Comfort is just a concept we use to put in front of us to distract us from our goals so we can be numb to fears about ourselves. Comfort is what would otherwise prevent a mewling cheetah from leaving the watering hole and chasing down an antelope to feed on. It is what it wants most when all biological needs have otherwise been met, but it will still get up to chase its meal once its needs take precedent over the risk of expending too many calories for its next meal.
But we are not cheetahs, or purring cats for that matter. We do not get to lie about in the warm sun as it drifts across the living room floor as we ponder our next nap or wonder how many times we will have to meow before our owners feed us. We are not dogs, we are not goats, we are not bears or sea turtles. We are the caretakers of them, of ourselves, and of each other. We are incredibly competent, passionate about what we care about, and capable of accomplishing near anything, and then we put pen to paper and the ink comes up dry. We step outside of our minds and the car won’t start when we open our mouths. We are humans with the constraints of our context.
We get frustrated. Fuck. I wish I was a cheetah. That way I wouldn’t have to chase my goals as hard. But damn, it sucks over here, being human, trying to get what you want playing 4D chess all the time. Having to be patient with everything while also doing everything at once. However, I’d like to think I’ve made quite the game of it and planning is the game I play all the time. Long-term goals are easy for me because I recognize they all come true when they start off with the right thing: a plan.
Not just any plan, and this I will argue until the day I die. There is no best plan out there in life to find. There is no best way to be or do or perform or act or behave. Any plan contingent on such things is based on who we are trying to seek approval from. If you are a 10 in your hometown and want to feel like a 2, go to a big city, but who would want to do that? Well maybe you. But the issue here is you wouldn’t know. What you really want for yourself has been clouded and distracted from whatever you are doing right now.
And I wouldn’t either to be frank, I honestly don’t half the time. On a daily basis I can, and will, recount the times I had left the house of my mind to greet the day only to create utter chaos, awkwardness, and dismay. And guess what? We make mistakes, we act out in ways that are controlling when we’re trying to get what we want. We show ourselves as wanting things we actually don’t want. We simply get lost. Lost and caught up in the perspectives of others as life’s roadsigns tell us to drive toward a more common understanding about ourselves as humans who are incapable, bland, unsatisfactory, or worst of all, not creative.
Create Anything Over Creating Something
Creativity isn’t something that is taught, creativity is the result of traveling deep within the universe of context in your mind and coming back out into the content of your life experience and applying yourself from that perspective. It’s about operating from a specific plane of thought, a frame to look through, a magnifying glass to see more with. The more context you have in a situation, the more solid your decision-making about your next step is going to be. Errors and mistakes are always going to come, but learning from them and developing a new perspective at least changes the kinds of mistakes you’re making.
In a world that has to learn to filter more than ever for the content it wants most, we need to develop the right lens to be able to read situations to better. Whether if it is to understand what approach to take or determine when we should stop talking when we’re not being listened to, context is what helps you ease the tension of those experiences.
Nuance is all we get to say we have when we are deep in context as we rationalize the unreasonableness of others to justify remaining seated to problems we can actually fix. We get irrational when we get stuck trying to self-preserve and react to the content of something butting up against us as a consequence of limited vision. All we can do is react.
However, reactions are all you can say you have if you spend most of your time surfing the content of life instead of diving deep into the depths of context to find meaning only you can have for yourself. Reactions are not creative, they are responses. Creativity requires ideas and ideas don’t come from you if you aren’t bringing anything to the table because you’re so concerned about whether or not it is something.
Be Warned, I Come With Context
I’m a California boy raised in a state obsessed with striking it rich and finding the motherlodes of life so you can cut and run to the countryside with a stake for yourself and all the abundance to have. I’m a working man who is learning to understand more the value of valuing your values over your goals, in exercising restraint to get what you want, and breathing through your mistakes. I am a thinker and I think I have something to say when I say discipline matters. I am also a feeler, although not always, and I have something to express when I say compassion matters.
The context I am speaking from is called a perspective about life, and everyone gets to have one.
Life’s problems are visualized for us frequently as one side of a two-sided coin, with the other outcome on the other side. When we get right up against situations of choice, all we see is ourselves on the other side of a problem having accomplished or failed at what we set out to achieve. But the reality is our most intense situations are always viewed as a matter of life or death. That is truly all we have to wager at the end of the day. It is what we stand to lose if we don’t act on what we think are rising problems for ourselves.
Problems are hard to work on, and what we think is ‘right’ is simply a consequence of perspective on a matter. Our situations distill themselves, always, into a fork in the road that is right or wrong. The fork in the road, the decision at hand, that is the content of the situation. All the fork in the roads you encountered before that led you to this fork in the road is called context, and that is what we lose sight of when we look back on our own regrets, bad decisions, mistakes, and self sabotage. We fail to understand we are the product of our own actions, a function of our experience.
When you get too close to what you want in life, you lose the vision that would otherwise help you with where you are going, and I’d like to call myself a navigator around these parts. I’ve lost myself many times in life as I rejected the person I was while trying to find a context, any context that wasn’t mine, so I could be happy. What I learned for myself as a result of my worst mistakes is that one stands to gain the most from admitting when they’re wrong. To admit when they have been caught in a world that fights naught with the sword, but with the steel of their perspective.
We don’t get claws, at least naturally, we get guns and politics. When we cannot agree with each other about what we are seeing as the right thing to be, we either mortally wound each other or do so within the universe inside our minds. I’m not sure who, how, or when, but in all my years as a traveling space cadet in the context of my own mind, Certainty is a world I have yet to find for myself as a place I can build thoughts on. In my universe, Certainty was destroyed a long time ago when I was really young, sometime between the ages of 5 to 10. Since then, I have been traveling the universe of my mind in search of context for me to find a place for myself to call home, only to find myself lost. Lost in space.
Every day I feel I am adrift in my own mental universe, feeling the gravity of the thoughts and feelings of my mind and not sure what to do with them, admittedly. I just get pulled in until I realize I’m lost again. I don’t feel like I belong here half the time. I’m stuck here at times in the universe of context looking through my past mistakes I’m looking for content that shows to me why Certainty doesn’t exist. At least, lost is what I feel in relation to what others and everyone around me think is ‘right’.
I can’t rest and feel good about it. I question myself through my own decision-making and constantly. So much so that I created a career for myself that was most highlighted for my ability to plan and generate focus around a problem because that is what I am constantly trying to do for myself – generate Certainty from the universe of context.
If I ever have discovered Certainty, it is a black hole I’m unaware of unless I’m in it. Certainty is fundamentally our ability to stand on our convictions as a foundation. If you’re not careful about where you build your perspectives from, however, you may find yourself alone with your rationalizations as you get sucked in. So I get sucked in to wondering what is the right thing to do so I can be certain, but you don’t think about certainty, you act on it. You just express without context. You generate content.
Being Right is How You Survive, But Not How to Breath
Being right is how you lose vision of what you really want. Every problem in life is not a hoop to jump through but a sphere to be approached at from all angles and with varying distance at times. When we focus more on being right then we are being are animals we can be at times. Animals reading a room in search of an antelope with a limp or with an accidental trip to offer to the approaching predators as a means for distracting from your asthma.
If your goals are your destination and your compass is your values, then where you end up will be somewhere in the middle of the two. The more consistent you are with your values, the more likely you are to stay on track with what you want, with consistency assured through a plan.
But like I said about plans, you need to know where you are going before you get in the car. Otherwise you’re driving around on a road trip that you didn’t sign up for. This is your life we’re talking about here, so go where you want to go. The time available to us is too limited to be acting small when you have big ideas, and frankly I feel like I have consistently played small in life in order to feel big.
So that is why I am getting in the car and I’m packing up for a new kind of trip. The kind of trip I could spend the rest of my life refueling for day after day. When I ask myself what I think is my True North, it is to understand as many perspectives as I can encounter in life, to increase the context I’m operating. All so I can have more to collide against what I currently know about myself that I determine to be wrong. So why not set out a plan to not write a book, but to become one that compels me to act on what I want most for myself?
A Plan to Gain Perspective From Context Instead of Content
America is too obsessed with the idea of needing to be perfect so much so that we hide the fact we ever drooled on ourselves as babies. If I can attempt to think from the context of someone outside of America, my observation is that we are a nation deluded into falling into the mental entrapment of being right with our ideas instead of being assured in our perspective. We consume direction from social media, news channels, billboards, movies, and the judgment of each other. We are all made to feel we need someone to save us in life, like we need a hero that will make the pain go away so we can get back to living our lives how we really want to, in the gravity of our comforts. But we don’t need anyone to save ourselves, we need them to explore ourselves. We need to embrace a diverse set of perspectives that compels us into fighting against our worst intentions, instead of each other, when we’re otherwise feeling anxious.
A book about managing your ego so you can survive your ideas and explore the universe around you. Exploring instead of of finding yourself going through your life years from now stuck in the context of your thoughts. My choices haunt me at times and all I think I’m every trying to do is sort through as many mistakes as I can so I can course correct on my experience of life. I want to make different mistakes that come from different desires. I want to want different things and that can’t be done just choosing to have a different perspective. It takes time.
I’m a Millennial with a perspective that we could all work just a little bit harder on our goals. However, I am entitled as fuck and impatient all the same, so I want to feel like I’m getting there more quickly or I’m over it and lose steam.
That’s why I’m starting this website. Because a book takes way too long to write and I am here for that consistent validation that comes with the hard work of long terms goals. A book isn’t written all at once and nothing worth doing for the rest of your life can be done in one sitting. If you repeat what you like over and over again, it’s gonna feel like overloading on sweets. You need your brussel sprouts on occasion so they can give you contrast to what you really like. If what Millennials do best is generate content, then let my content be something different than what you’re used to. I don’t offer content that lets you build on the world of Comfort. I offer you a perspective from deep within the universe of context to bring back and apply to your experience of life.
The gravity of Comfort is real and if I’m to feel like I’m doing anything for myself to keep me away, it is to do something personally meaningful. What is personally meaningful to me is to upcycle my experience of life into something that matters to people who are born with each passing second and isn’t looked at as a gift we threw to waste. Whether that be in how we treat each other, ourselves, or the world around us. If you are ever anything to the universe, you are a delta, you are change. How much of a delta is up to you both in how much you apply yourself and the direction you’re going.
Any book ever written, including the Bible, is just a means for knowledge management around a concept. A training guide to understanding how to work with the perspective of the person who had written it through the ideas they relate with. The concept I am trying to manage my knowledge around is how, frankly, to develop the ego. Currently I find myself as fully self-expressed in the specific context of my ideas but still struggle with easing the tension of social anxiety. Life doesn’t really come with a how-to guide on how to survive your ideas, so I’m here to offer you one as I learn to become more self-expressed in matters personal. To get out of your head.
And that is my plan. Working on it. But no training guide is more effective than the ones developed by the people doing the work. Otherwise, it is all just conceptual.
But for now you get this website. Which at this moment is just this novel of a first entry, because if I ever tried to roll out something fancy and complete, it will never work for me. So the first content on this site is just going to be the plan. The promise to myself to stay committed to self-development and in a way that is plainly revealing for others to see so that it can qualify my journey to the fork in the road I eventually reach when I decide to seek a publisher for my ideas and put them into print.
It’s Dangerous to Go Alone
I want you to join me on that journey of self-discovery in search of something new, different, and uncomfortable. I want you to reject the trend of constant self-sabotage and dig and dive and search for context around you that will pull you into action for yourself. Together, we are forging new perspectives with each battle we encounter and gain new context with each defeat that will come along the way. We are warriors fighting for ourselves in a universe of context, trying to find stillness in the space between our thoughts, clutching the sword that is our perspectives to defend ourselves from attackers.
What we are constantly in search for in life is a sword that can cut through every issue at hand with relative ease. To make it all go away. But my approach offers the perspective of a person that has learned the value of forging a sword you can wield over one that can cut anything. You don’t win yourself over in life by looking for strength, you pair it with wisdom to stay level headed and courage to continue facing your foes.
I am a swordsman in training but a warrior by nature. I hear the calls of war and I am quick to battle with whatever sword is available and have my fair share of battle wounds from my aggressive demeanor. But after all my battles were done and over with, I was still swinging even when there were no real reasons to strike but the memories of my old battles. I was an animal with asthma looking for the wounds and shortcomings of others as justification for my own ideas of myself.
When I woke up to such a thing, I did whatever the social equivalent to sepukku was, because I ended myself socially by choosing to regress and hide from the world in the face of realizing all my failures to overcome myself. I couldn’t handle the shame of my shadows. What I failed to recognize was a shadow is just a consequence of standing outside in the sun to feel the warmth of the light, and everyone needs some of that. Now, in my 29th year alive, I find I haven’t ever really explored this world for myself if it wasn’t in support of what someone else was doing. I’ve always been the driver to whatever passenger was in my car at the time and when left with no one to drive I tend to drive straight home to get on my computer.
Being on a computer is my comfort zone and is so much so that I would rather justify my time on the computer writing a book about going outside than avoid going outside at times. It’s frustrating being stuck as a person who is a consequence of their experience, but we all are just trying to do what we think will support our goals in the long run as we set out in life with intention. As a child with severe asthma and a family constantly at war with each other, I was limited in coping mechanisms. I could only do about 10 minutes of physical coping before I’d have to come in wheezing, so I coped instead with copious (hah) amounts of video game to separate myself from thinking about my problems. Now, in my adult life as a keyboard warrior, pecking away each sentence with relative ease and fastidious loquacity, and an annoying use of five-dollar words for no damn reason, I just want to fucking live.
I want to live and feel like I’m living. I am tired of living and thinking I’m living, or living only in retrospect because I don’t seem to notice what I have around me when I’m busy keeping my head down working. I miss out on a lot because I don’t make room for others, including myself, at times. So this warrior is done fighting battles, is done being right. I’m trying to forge a sword that I can wield in this century, a perspective that can last me at least until this ship has sailed, and that perspective is one about being kind to yourself while working to achieve your goals.
Lay Down Your Sword, It’s Time to Forge a New One
Perhaps the best thing I have ever heard is that you do not make a plan to improve, you improve your plan.
You can be no less harder on someone else than yourself. It is my ultimate goal to help people in the most effective ways I can, so in order to improve anything I need to start with myself. If you improve how you treat yourself, it will actually have a compounding impact on the way you treat others. So as I work to forge my own perspective, I can at least share with you some context I find along the way.
Who knows? Maybe all of this will disintegrate into nothingness and fade into the abyss of content. Maybe it’ll come in go in waves. Or maybe I’ll come out on top and be able to say I told you so when I said all you need to about your goals today is anything.
And that is all the context I will need so I can rest at the end of my life when the question comes to mind, what was the legacy I left? The answer: a delta.
Forging a Sword You Can Wield
The plan is the book. The goal is to create a legacy valuing compassion.
My selfish hope is to get all this context out and into one place so I can start enjoying more of the content of life without trying to give anything to it. To let things be. I expect it’ll just keep coming though, and now I have a sandbox to play in until the beach opens.
It’s time for this 'wisdomless one to start finding some real wisdom and the courage to pass on that wisdom without fear of judgment, to stay true to my word. I’m looking for context in search of meaning for me to forge a new sword to carry with me that doesn’t entail self-sacrifice in order to survive life’s hardest situations for myself.
My name is Brian Crowder and I have a perspective to offer.
Take it for what it’s worth and invest it into your life if you want dividends from it.