Bucket badge

Filling Your Bucket

There's a psychological condition most of us face when we start trying to do anything, and it's called "shiny object syndrome" or SOS. Which is an apt title, because when you have it, you seriously need help - in more ways than one.

If you recall the library metaphor from earlier, this is kind of what you're  doing here. You don't know anything about this new subject, so you don't have any books about it on the shelf. Which means anything you can put there is better than nothing, and therefore that you can go read Atlas Shrugged and think it's a brilliant work of literary genius that changes your life. Because you are stupid and don't know any better.

Now, the reason I use a bucket to represent this stage of becoming a badass is that it's just like when you start learning self defense. Everyone wants to know what style they should study; it doesn't matter. Are there superior and inferior styles? Sure - at the upper levels. When you start competing on the black belt level, it really does matter whether you took Wing Chun or Tae Kwon Do or Gracie Jiu-Jitsu.

But for self-defense, the overwhelming majority of it is the same in all styles: a block, a kick, a punch, and some basic training in general physical fitness and conflict resolution.  You can learn that in six months. Apply yourself, attend your classes, and practice. You'll be fine. If you take any style of martial arts - including boxing or wrestling - and actually work at it for six months, you will be able to defend yourself in pretty much every situation you might reasonably encounter.

Which goes back to the Bruce Lee post. Walk into that situation with an empty bucket, ready to learn. And it doesn't matter what you use to fill your bucket, so long as you get stuff in there.

It's the same way when you learn anything, and we see it across all industries and all subjects. People come in eager to learn and fill their brain with all kinds of stuff. Then they get bitchy about how it's all the same stuff. They wanna learn new stuff.

Boot to the head.

Going back to Bruce Lee for a moment, he famously said "at first, a punch was just a punch. Then a punch became much more than a punch. And then, a punch was just a punch."

When your bucket is empty, a punch is just a punch. As you fill your bucket, a punch will be much more than a punch. And once your bucket is full, a punch will be just a punch. Think of your bucket as being all the books you are going to put on the shelf, once they're organised. They're on the way into your library, just not quite there yet.

Now, a lot of people get bound up in the Selfish nature of being a SLIM Jim, and they just keep putting more and more stuff in the bucket without ever organising it or figuring out how it all fits together. And these bucket-brains will troll the marketplace (in the fishing sense) looking for products that promise to make shit happen for them, and then when that doesn't happen they'll troll the marketplace (in the internet sense) complaining that this is just the same old shit they already knew.

They're like beggars. Sitting out on the street, day after day, asking for someone to please put the answer in their bucket so they can pull it out and run off with a changed life. But that doesn't happen. It's not popular to say that (it's magic, fuck you!), which is why bullshit like The Secret does so well and people continue to pay good money to astrologers and tarot readers.

The reality is that you are going to have to sort through all the stuff in your bucket and figure out what does and doesn't work. If it doesn't work, you need to throw it away. And if it does, you need to integrate it with your overall plan. And the only way to know what does or doesn't work is to test it.

It's the integration that can be hard, so I'm going to focus on that for the next couple days. There are some basic truths which make a huge difference in your ability to integrate things, and starting tomorrow I'm going to cover some of those in a rough fashion.

(Finally, this link is for those who don't get the "boot to the head" reference.)