In The Beginning

Now, we've talked a bit about the bucket already this week, but let's continue in that vein and point out that it's a growing metaphor.

See, the bucket is also the library is also your memory palace.

And it's all related to the S in SLIM, because all the bucket understands is want. You do not have a thing, and you should have that thing, because... well, because it is a thing. There's a reason "want" is a synonym for both "lack" and "desire." Want creates desire naturally, unless it is filtered through need.

See, each of these seven stages - the bucket, the beetle, the lizard, the dog, the monkey, the man, and the chief - are actually endpoints of a transitional process. You reach these stages by progressing through your story... and that story starts, in every case, with not having a thing that you later acquire.

The story you always want to tell as a chief is the one where you were just a regular guy, and then you had a grand adventure where you acquired secret knowledge or special skills or superpowers that you are now bringing back to your tribe so they can share in your good fortune.

And here's another secret of that story. One that people don't really talk about.

In the beginning, you were kind of an arsehole.

There are two things about this that are very important.

First, before you started filling your bucket about a given subject - when you had the want but weren't doing anything about it - you were an ignorant fuckhead who didn't know any better, and because of that you were a bad person.

Second, your audience should be able to see themselves in you when it comes to what was happening in the world around you - the experiences you were having, the wants and the ignorance and the pain and the hardship - but your reaction to it needs to be worse than theirs. You need to have been worse off than they are, not because you had a worse situation, but because you did bad things and you deserved it.

The key to starting off your story is that you need to have the same problems your audience has, but be handling them worse than your audience does. Or at least, worse than they admit they do.

This is not about exaggerating or spinning your story so much as it is about finding your audience. Whatever it is that you faced, many other people are facing it, and however you handled it... there are many people out there handling it better. You're setting the baseline and calling it the baseline. Your appeal - the audience you want to attract - is people who have the same problem but are handling it better than you did.

They are already better off than you were, so by sharing in your skills and abilities and powers, they can become better off than you are.  You have more than enough to work for them.

This is important because of the whole Inhibiting Fears notion. One of those fears is that they will not be as good at this as you are, so your help will not work for them because they are not as smart or not as fast or their situation is worse. Ideally, you paint a picture where a tiny fraction of your results is good enough for them.

So back at this stage - the Selfish area of SLIM, back in your bucket brain, where you have a want but have yet to recognise the need - paint the world around you as presenting problems, which are then compounded by your own failures and the fact that you're kind of an arsehole.

At any given point, you are constructing your story. When you know you're moving in the chiefly direction, start looking at yourself and identifying how and why you're kind of an arsehole.

It is not important that your skills or talents or powers fixed your buttaholic tendencies. It is only important that you fix them somewhere along the line. You can handwave the how and why - it's not important. What's important is the three parts of the initial condition:

  • You were just a regular person like your audience
  • You had the same problems your audience has
  • But you were also kind of an arsehole

Along the journey, you will somewhere along the line get some special talent or skill or power, which you will use to solve your problems... and you'll also somehow become less of an arsehole.

We'll talk some more about this tomorrow, as you transition through need into the beetle-brain stage of the story.