The Importance Of Not Being Good Enough

Imposter syndrome is one of the “creative” spectrum of self-imposed mental disorders. The internet allows thousands of people to publish their work to acclaim, audiences, and every other kind of success, all without the grueling scutwork we secretly think we’re meant to endure first. It still takes an enormous quantity of work to truly succeed on the web, but because it’s all “actually related to the thing you’re doing” instead of the decade of shoveling shit for richer people we’ve been trained to expect, people worry that they’ve somehow cheated their way in.

The resulting imposter syndrome is the secret belief that you’re not good enough, and could at any time be discovered. At which point an Omnipotent Usher Of True Art will presumably appear in an immaculate uniform and metaphorically escort you out of our career.

The obvious response to imposter syndrome: Embrace it! If you’re going to pretend, pretend to be as awesome! Pretend to be amazing! Pretend to be Raul Julia pretending to be Gomez Addams pretending to be a French swashbuckler. Pretending is fun!

Of course we all working to appear better than we are. That is the entire point of making things. That’s why we create and build and edit and polish and improve and redo, and then shove these things online to stand in for us. Because they’re not us, they’re just the best bits of us, the bits we want to share.

If you feel like output isn’t good enough, you’re right. You can’t put pen to paper (or whatever) and expect to be worthy of the world. Of course it isn’t good enough. But you can make it good enough. Knowing that is what makes you a creator in the first place. It’s unfortunate that the feeling is so terrible until you understand it.

So bring the Borg judo and absorb that enemy into yourself. Transform the belief that it’s all garbage into an urge to research, rework, repolish. Turn your psychoses’ own strengths against them. Because “their” strength is your strength. All these thoughts and feelings are bits of your own brain, and you need to make them work for you instead of fighting against them. Neural civil war only gets things done in Fight Club. In our reality all it creates is orphaned ideas in a thousand unfinished drafts.

What you make isn’t good enough. But you can make it good enough. That’s your job.


For more mental judo, reverse the polarity of embarrassing memories with 5 Nerd Hacks That Make You Less Of A Jerk.

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The Really Rather Large Hadron Collider

There are already plans for a sequel to the vast underground proton cannon which punched through the bottom of our understanding of reality. Because that is exactly why humanity is in charge of the planet instead of searching for a nice cave to sleep in. The Large Hadron Collider is the wonder of the scientific world, an embodiment of our highest technologies so vast it’s international not just in funding but in actual physical size. And what is this are we calling the intellectual immensity which could overshadow the Large Hadron Collider?

The Very Large Hadron Collider. And that is awesome.

It’s such a gloriously scientific naming strategy. Science is all about words with specific meanings, and this name is exactly that. It’ll be an order of magnitude greater than the Large one, so it’s Very Large. Not Mega or Giga, because it’s not bigger enough. Just bigger. Anyone who doesn’t think the name is sufficiently exciting clearly doesn’t understand it. The Large Hadron collider is a twenty-seven kilometer long superconducting crowbar designed to lever the cover off the clockwork of the universe. We bent it into a circle to open a window to understanding of everything, one ring forged by science instead of sorcery and capable of surrounding Mount Doom while it demolishes the unknown with near-light-speed collisions.

The objections I’ve heard so far are laughable. Someone said that we haven’t finished with the LHC yet. And they’re right. The same way that we didn’t buy cars until the horses went extinct. Another voice complained that the Higgs and such subatomic problems are too abstract. They are the exact opposite. The mechanism behind mass is the least abstract thing in existence. Compared to that, humanity is the reflection of a shadow of a dream of emergent behavior in the historical patterns of protons.

But in this world of soundbites, maybe we can come up with some cooler names anyway:

  • The Reality Cannon (good way to triple government funding)
  • One Ring To Rule Them All (particle physics decay tracks more entertaining to read than Tolkien poetry)
  • Large Hadron Collider 2 Turbo
  • Large Hadron Collider X-Treme
  • Half-Life 2: Episode 3: Not Really, But This Will Probably Be Finished First
  • The Supercalifragilisticlargehadroncollider

For more Large Hadron Colliding Coolness, learn from 7 Ridiculous Things People Believe About The God Particle.

Multiple Endings For The Game Of Thrones

I’ve just finished all the Game of Thrones books, simulating the experience of an old folks home by being left wondering “Who dies next?” (The GoT equivalent of “What happens next?”).

You used to know that the good person would die next, but the series has run out.

You used to know that the good person would die next, but the series has run out.

Obviously the rest of this article is more of a spoiler than finding out that Stephanie Brown had made a costume to secretly fight crime in Gotham.

Screen Shot 2013-11-06 at 15.30.34

Because writers don’t sit around doing nothing! We sit around hammering at the keyboard until we  feel better. Behold, a selection of endings for the song of ice and fire:

  • A little-known lord looks out over his lands, raises his banners, and then DOESN’T immediately make the absolute worst possible decision given his situation. The entire universe collapses as its most fundamental law is broken.
  • The maesters, motivated by the endless stink of just about everyone in their world, develop a cheap and powerful method for dispensing masking aromas from thin metal cans. A side-effect is the end of winter, and the eventual opening of the world-famous entertainment resort “Starkyland”, just a day’s travel from the scenic Lake Wall.
  • Tyrion’s studies reveal the existence of a piece of mystic jewellery that will fix everything. He sails into the smoking ruins of old Valyria with tough guy Ser Jorah Mormont, girl Daenerys, and a Summer Islander who keeps pointing out how fell things are. After a series of action set-pieces they find and destroy the Fantasy Gem Of Mmakh-Jhuffyn, which suddenly fixes everything. Even the social unrest which would normally result from any such sudden societal change in a medieval kingdom, inevitably causing widespread death and suffering.
  • The red star is revealed to be plasma leaking from a Klingon bird of prey being chased to ground by the Enterprise. The surviving Klingons join the Dothraki and both have just the most fantastic time. Kirk takes forty-five minutes to punch Stannis and sleep with Cersei and this, somehow, fixes everything.
  • Eddard Stark comes back and just kicks everyone’s ass. What appeared to be his “head” was a masterfully crafted pumpkin. You know you’d love it.
  • Jaime’s hand finds a more satisfying new life in the Addams household. They’re aware of its murderous past, which only adds to their fondness for the thing.
"We have guests coming this evening, so NO eviscerations on the new Yeti rug."

“We have guests coming this evening, so NO eviscerations on the new Yeti rug.”

  • The Others break through the self-destructing Night’s Watch, determined to spread death and misery through all the mortal realms, and realize that they can’t do half as good a job as the realms are already doing. They return past the frozen North border to create a more polite society with sensible weapons regulations and universal healthcare.
  • The Doctor arrives with a secret plan to fix everything and has his head hacked off by the first drunken hedge knight he tries to bluff with a sonic screwdriver.
  • Shipfuls of elves arrive from the east, horrified to learn that the promised lands in the west referred to Westeros. They find that instead of simple struggle between good and evil, they’re now mired in a pointless knot of wasteful conflict without any clear course of action, which is the sort of thing that happens when you run away from problems instead of solving them. They resolve to return to Middle Earth and help the humans actually do things this time, but are all slaughtered by Euron Crow’s Eye.
  • The dragons all drop dead of a bacterial infection which hadn’t existed the last time they were around. It turns out that spending generations in mineral form isn’t a great way to keep up with the Red Queen race.
  • A strange vessel arriving at Pentos reveals that every nation we’ve met so far is only a small archipelago off the coast of a real continent, where we meet five hundred more characters. The projected date of completion of the story advances to 2100 AD.
  • An aircraft carrier arrives from the opposite side of the world. It takes generations of peacekeepers and careful education before the “Savage Lands” can be integrated into global society. The surviving nobles struggle through the rest of their lives by getting reality TV shows.
  • Bill and Ted arrive and have their heads hacked off by a drunken hedge knight.
  • The peasants of the world develop the ability to remember things for longer than a week, and suddenly throw off the entire structure of feudal lordship. They’re about to raise a new leader to guide them when they suddenly realize “Duh!”, don’t do that, and proceed as a loosely-affiliated network of productive communes. Anyone found wearing armor is chained into it and tossed in a lake.
  • Marty McFly arrives and has his head hacked off by a drunken hedge knight.
  • Just as the wildlings were fleeing before the advance of the Others, we find the Others in turn fleeing from an even more terrifying force of destruction. Their shredded corpses are found twitching against the north face of the wall, while the corpses of the Night’s Watch litter the south. The invading army cannot be located, only tracked by the burned castles and slaughtered armies left in a direct line leading to King’s Landing. A maester finds a single man-sized hole in the Wall linking the seas of death, just as that man strides into the Red Keep and through every knight sent against him, five hundred sers slaughtered where they stood. He did not think it too many. Slaine sits on the Iron Throne, blunting it, and proclaims that those who do not lay down their arms shall lose them to his axe. A thousand years of peace follow. He only stayed for four, but the kingdom remained too scared to try anything stupid for a millennium.

slaine


For more improvements on fiction, read Pacific Rim: How The Kaidanovskys Survived and An Infinity Of Alternate Batmen

Too Much Infomercial

“Buy your Prong-Wrong Banana Re-Benders now, because supplies are limited! That’s right, we did NOT create an infinite number of them! They do not compose all matter in the universe. They are neither the Alpha nor the Omega, nor are they end-state Von Neumann machines. You are not currently composed of our molded reprocessed-plastic Musa manipulators. An unlimited supply of any item would soon pass the Chandrasekhar limit, collapsing into a black hole from which nothing could escape, rendering us unable to pass these incredible saving on to you!”

“You can buy this Instructional Drum Kit For Cats right NOW! Well, not ‘now’, as I filmed this days ago in an unheated warehouse unit, and right this second am staring blankly at an unpainted wall behind the dead-eyed camerawoman. I prefer the wall. It didn’t have dreams. I don’t see their corpses when I meet her eyes, and I don’t have to wonder if those eyes are mirroring her soul or mine. I don’t replay my one and only Hollywood audition in my mind, night after night, tearing my face into ever more desperate rictuses of emotion which I tell myself would have gotten the part but which only ever end in sobbing. That’s what’s happening ‘now’ while you watch this at two AM. If it’s earlier than that I’m drunk.”

“This product is not available in stores, because it’s clearly the inner lining from a series of cheap deep-fryers recalled because they were fat-filled incendiary time bombs, labeled with a pirated copy of Illustrator, and resold as VitaHat, The Polycarbon Protection From Skull Vitamin Loss. If you think you need one of these, buy a proper helmet.”

“But wait, there’s more! So much more! So many countless things you could be doing, oh god, sunshine and puppies and people who smile when they’re happy and not when they’re told to, god, run, please, get up, get out, don’t wait to turn the TV off, leave it as a warning to those who follow, RUN!” >Hits co-host with the Revolve-o-matic Tie Uncoiling Unit, $49.99+delivery, screams, sprints off-screen. Sound of sprinting down concrete floor fade into distance, loud sigh from off-camera, “Okay, cut, call the next one.”<