#40: We need quality
According to Douglas McGregor [a seminal management expert, like Peter Drucker], managers who subscribe to Theory X have an authoritarian style of management, believing that employees have little intrinsic motivation for their work and therefore must be controlled and given external rewards to reach their goals. In contrast, managers who subscribe to Theory Y have a more collaborative, trust-based style of management, centered on the belief that employees have the potential for self-motivation, enjoy taking ownership of their work, seek responsibility, and are capable of solving problems creatively.
Excerpt from the book, Transcend the New Science of Self-Actualization, by Scott Barry Kaufman, PHD.
Since making another attempt at building a note-taking system, I have noticed that I am becoming more scrupulous of my writing.
On the one hand, this is bad. As I question my thoughts more, and seek evidence from the large body of information that swims around the Internet and on my bookshelf, my productivity is suffering.
On the other hand, I believe that my writing is becoming more quality.
Quality, I am learning, can be a double-edged sword.
This past week, instead of creating writing output for my project, I spent a lot of time making the sausage. Instead of typing words into a Google document, I spent hours each day in Obsidian (a note-taking software) setting up metadata for my notes.
What on earth am I doing?
You can think of what I’m doing like setting up a personal mini Wiki. Meaning, a body of knowledge that is specific and unique to me, so that I can write more effectively, efficiently, and - most importantly - with higher quality.
I’m leveraging principles from computer memory management to set up my note-taking system. Like computers, the human brain also builds up garbage that needs to be recycled, because memory space is finite, not infinite.
After writing my first short story, (for the short story series I am working on), I learned something interesting: I threw out a lot of my writing. Now, I was expecting this. I talked to writers who warned me to not get too attached to my words. Meticulous editing, they said, is paramount to quality writing. I agree, but my insight felt deeper than simply feeling bad about wasting time writing words that would not be published.
About halfway through writing my second short story, the one I am currently working on, I realized I had a problem: I was not fleshing out my thinking. Instead, I was awkwardly stumbling over the same idea, writing it over, and over, and over again, just in a slightly different way. Because the writing sounded different, it gave me the illusion that I was digging deeper, but really I was just cranking out words. Albeit, good sounding words! - but not deep ideas.
I noticed that I was stuck.
About a month ago, when I was first ramping up to write the story, I did a bunch of research and drew some fun mind maps and visual diagrams on a new Easel board that I bought; but, fast forward one month, and I found myself struggling to use my research.
The story that I’m currently working on is a tough one. It involves a bunch of new, and interesting, ideas from crypto economics, but also a bunch of existing tried and true management principles from the legacy fashion industry. MetaFactory, the DAO that I am writing about, is blending the physical legacy fashion world and the digital world, the Metaverse, by selling luxury apparel in an ethical and more fair way. Think avatars wearing high-end brands by up and coming fashion designers :-)
Ha-ha! Well, there’s that, but there’s also a lot more to MetaFactory that is truly out of this world!
Ohhhh, humor! We need it badly now :-)
Anyway, back to note-taking. Yuck, that sounds so boring now, compared to fashionable avatars in the Metaverse! - but bear with me, please.
What I have realized is this: as more writing opportunities take shape, (which I am already experiencing), I need a system to help me produce quality writing, and to produce it efficiently. Efficiency is really important for me because I do not want to be miserable spending hours each day beating my head against the computer, trying to pound out words to finish writing projects - and, I also don’t want to write trash writing just for the sake of output.
So this why I am making an investment in my most precious asset: my time - to build a note-taking system that is sustainable and resilient. I want to build something that will help me think so I can flesh out ideas and write meaningful content to help myself, and my readers, understand the technological trajectory we are on. My job as a writer is to help people feel and imagine different possibilities so that all of us, together, can shape the future and move in a positive direction.
Spending all of this time thinking, making notes, and building a little mini personal wiki so I can share stories seems kind of…selfish, right? I certainly had that thought, but I’m glad that Scott Barry Kaufman helped me transcend it by sharing some powerful words from Abraham Maslow (yep, you nailed it: Maslow is the hierarchy of needs guy) in his book Transcend: The New Science of Self-Actualization:
According to Maslow, the ordinary dichotomy between selfish and unselfish is resolved because people who pursue their selfish gratifications are automatically helping others. Vice versa, when they are being altruistic, they are automatically rewarded and gratified because what pleases them the most is using their wealth and competence to benefit all the other members of the culture (such was the case among the Black-foot Indians he visited in the summer of 1938). In such cultures, Maslow pointed out, “virtue pays.”
Thanks for sticking around as I make the sausage! I really appreciate your support. <3
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