I used to joke that when I wrote my famous novel about my life (because it’s that interesting?) I would have Sandra Bullock play me in my movie. “I can see that!” friends I bribe with booze would say.
Lately the reality is setting in that I will a) never finish a book in a timely fashion and b) have zero original thought.
See, The Internet is awesome. It lets people express themselves. It allows us to connect on a global scale. It also takes all my brilliant ideas and squishes them because SOMEONE ELSE ALREADY SAID THAT.
I went to graduate school which means I understand I have no thoughts of my own and have to research everything to back up any claims I might make. Basically I paid a lot of money for someone to tell me I don’t know anything.
I’ve taken this concept in to my professional life. I know what I know, I know there’s a lot more to learn, and I know I have to use data to back up anything I might spout off if I want to be taken seriously. This means I spend a lot of time researching articles and reading ideas that have come before my own.
When I’m asked to submit an article to something awesome like HTML5Hub, I obsess over what I’m saying and ensure I’m not stepping on toes of ideas similar to mine.
This also means I have serious writer’s blockage.
Stuart Firestein, in his awesome Ted Talk “The Pursuit of Ignorance,” talks about this phenomenon. The more you know about a subject, the less you know about anything. It means that the more you go in your career or education, the more questions you have and the less likely you are to be confident that you know anything at all.
So at the end of all of this, my brain really feels more like an empty cavern without any original thought at all. The reality is I’m not Sandra Bullock, I’m Emmet.
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