Leapdragon 2016 - Aron Hsiao Was Here

Brainstorming  §

Brainstormed ideas for “shaking things up” in my life in hopes of finding a better balance. Call them major-minor-modest proposals:

  • Selling every last book I own to clear out shelf space
  • Quitting academics and focusing entirely on non-academic work
  • Quitting non-academic work and focusing entirely on academics
  • Moving the entire office (behavior, time, self—not furniture) into the downstairs spare room
  • Shopping around a book proposal / getting back into the authorship game
  • Reducing my workload down to a single job, trying to make ends meet
  • Launching a new blog, and this time being professional about it and commited in all related ways
  • Hiring an assistant or setting one up by way of an internship
  • Working outside more often
  • Creating hard minimum requirements for bedtime and fitness, regardless of consequences
  • Quitting everything and just doing photography
  • Quitting everything and just doing fiction writing
  • Setting up a serious “tea center” in the office and drinking tea until I pop
  • Turning much of my non-academic work into a company, hiring employees, pursuing larger contacts
  • Switching back to Linux for everyday computing
  • Switching back to historical platforms for everyday computing
  • Becoming locally involved in Buddhism
  • Taking up a martial art
  • Taking up some other hobby that’s totally new, even without any particular interest
  • Enrolling in law school or medical school
  • Finding a way to co-work in some other building
  • Taking up investing and/or financial speculation
  • Developing and writing some better life management or life balance apps
  • Switching all of my non-marketing writing to longhand on paper
  • Taking up some sort of radical simplifying/very low calorie diet, just to clear out the sense of metabolism a bit
  • Applying for a bunch of pie-in-the-sky jobs, just to see what happens
  • Having a mass “best fit” sort and “junk it” clear-out in which a ton of material and virtual stuff if mercilessly “handled”j
  • Hiring a “life coach” and/or a “financial manager,” despite lack of affordability
  • Hiring a “personal trainer” despite lack of affordability
  • Founding a nonprofit service for post-academic non-lottery-winners
  • ???

Obviously some of these are more plausible than others, and none of them are particularly plausible. But then, I have a feeling that a lot of the books would tell me that “lack of plausibility” is simply another way of saying “lack of courage” or “lack of decisiveness.”

Life is life. Stuff is gonna happen, even if you’re paralyzed. Might as well not be paralyzed, right?

— § —

But then, I don’t know.

There must be some better ideas than these; most of these are superficial, shallow, and trite.

— § —

Things I’ve definitely learned about myself over the course of my career (and especially in the last few years):

  • I don’t really like being an editor
  • I don’t really like being a manager of any kind
  • I’m happiest as a focused craftsman
  • Who can believe in whatever it is I’m crafting
  • I’m not afraid of the sportlight
  • But I hate spotlights about pointless shit
  • I am keenly interested in the world
  • But not necessarily in any one topic
  • I like to work slowly, deliberately, and conscientiously
  • I like quality, not quantity
  • I’m not ambitious in “career” ways, but in “life” ways
  • People trust my judgment
  • My skill set is often smaller than people assume, but I have a talent for doing more with less, and doing it well
  • I like to automate and systematize
  • I dislike doing grindy, manual, decision-by-decision and click-by-click stuff
  • I work better alone than in a team
  • I work better delivering small perfection than massive “acceptability”
  • I’m great at the long view
  • I’m rotten at the short view

What all of this seems to mean is that I’m not ideally “configured” for today’s economy and job market.

But I must be ideally configured for something.

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