Fair warning, it going to get pretty metaphorical and/or figurative in here tonight.
Because what is on my mind is mt relationship with oblivion and how what I think of as darkness – the absence of light – is actually a response to far too much light.
What I am talking about is possibilities. Like I have said before in this space, one of the prices I pay for having such a strong, creative mind is that in an given situation, I perceive far more possibilities than the average person.
And that, of course. can be downright amazing. It’s boffo for creative problem solving, for instance, whether that takes the form of devising a reason for a character to be where I want them to be to something as prosaic as how to get a piece of software to do what I want it to do.
It’s especially fun when I have one of my flashes of brilliance and come up with a simple, effective solution to a problem someone is facing.
Of course, then the trick is to get them to accept said solution despite the fact that I have, with the best of intentions, now made them feel stupid for not seeing this simple solution for themselves.
And it turns out that saying “Don’t feel bad! I could only see it because I’m incredibly intelligent!” really does not help.
True story. Not kidding. I did it once. Did not go well.
Back to the point. This ability to see possibilities where others see none can be truly magical,but there is a catch.
When it comes to decision making, all those possibilities crowd in on me and I get overwhelmed by the task of trying to choose the right one out of a sea of thousands.
There’s solid science behind this phenomenon. Recent studies have shown that. past a certain point, having more options actually makes people less happy with their choices.
Makes sense to me. Choosing the right color for your new, custom-made couch is easy when there’s only four or five choices.
But what are the odds of getting the choice right when there’s thousands of colors? Or even worse, you are told it can be “any color you want”?
I don’t know about others, but I never come to that kind of situation with a firm and precise idea of exactly what I want. So saying “you can have whatever you want” is not helpful. All it does is throw me directly into the hot white void of endless possibility where a demonic Monty Hall is asking me to choose between an infinite number of doors when only one of them has a prize behind it and the rest end in death by torture.
That’s what I am getting at when I talk about my darkness being a response to too much light. I think that sometimes, in order to protect itself, my mind simply blanks out all the possibilities in my mind, leaving me with the false (but useful) idea that I can’t see anyh possibilities at all.
It’s an overreaction, but it works.
I think that’s what leads to this feeling of my mind being frozen sometimes. My mind overreacts to a surging tide of possibilities by freezing everything in place, which sort of solve the problem but leave me with very little mental horsepower left over for actually coping with the problem I am facing.
It’s like a state of suspended idiocy. And I tend to panic when I can’t think clearly, and that obviously only makes things worse.
This phenomena of getting overwhelmed by possibilities explains my life long issue with decision making. I used to think that deciding was something that I had a general issue with. But when I got a little older, it become clear to me that sometimes I was extremely decisive and could make solid decisions quickly and confidently. And at other times, I got completely overwhelmed to the point of being on the verse of collapse from the challenge of trying to choose a carpet deodorant.
I eventually went with the citrus scent, and never looked back.
Eventually, I figured out that the determining variable was whether the decision was about myself or some other thing. More specifically, it was about whether the decision required an answer to the question, “what do I want?”
That question has always vexed and confounded me. Most of the time. I have no idea. I certainly can’t figure it out when asked suddenly. I honesty have no idea what I want. How can I know what I want when I don’t even know what my options are?
I can only assume that there are people with much stronger personalities than mine who always know exactly what they want because getting what they want is extremely important to them and so they keep a sort of list of what they want in their minds at all times and are thus always ready for the question.
I cannot fathom living that way. It sounds exhausting. I can only assume that these people have very straightforward, linear, action-oriented minds and personalities that demand they go, go, go without slowing down for as long as they can.
I feel feverish just thinking about it.
I also assume that while these people are by no means stupid or dull, they find themselves at a loss in situations where there is no obvious, logical answer and the solution can only come from subtle, intricate thinking that embraces a far wider scope of options than a more linear mind can perceive.
In other words, they need someone like me around. They need a more thoughtful and perceptive person to point their magnificently abundant energies in the right direction and to get them out of a jam when their steam-locomotive minds run out of track.
I would love to provide that thoughtfulness for someone like that. It might make them feel like I am “smarter” than them, but for my part, I would be in awe of their energy, decisiveness, and drive.
So we’d make a good team. Complementary opposites. Me the thought, them the action. Me the brains, them the drive. Me, the person who knows what needs to be done, them the one who knows how to do it.
In fact, I kind of wish I could be both of those people at the same time.
But I can’t see a single possible way that could be achieved.
I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.