The basic idea is that instead of doing the real thing we need to improve, we often get stuck on fake alternatives. This wastes time, energy and makes us miserable. To fix this we need to choose our goals more carefully, face up to their inherent difficulty and ensure our efforts make direct contact with reality.
Interwoven with all this, I want to expose how many of our faulty plans depend on an incorrect metaphor of how the mind works, demonstrate that apprenticeship is a better model for the results we want than school and argue that the laundry list of goals society expects from us is probably unhelpful. If all goes well, it might wind up as a new book.
What I Need From You
In keeping with the theme of the project, I don’t want my own research and speculation to disconnect from reality. That reality, of course, is the lives of the people who will one day (hopefully) read it. Thus I’m in the process of gathering examples, feedback, stories and research suggestions from anyone who would like to contribute.
If you have thoughts about the project, feel free to share in the comments, or reach me directly via email.
While I want to keep my request open-ended, here are a few things that would help me a lot, in particular:
- Personal stories. If you have a personal experience, either of getting stuck doing something you only later realized was a “fake” effort, or of making a breakthrough by adjusting your approach to make better contact with reality, let me know.
- Current struggles and difficulties. Maybe you’re struggling, right now, with figuring out what the real thing is, you can’t seem to make progress or find yourself stuck.
- If you loved (or hated) “Do the Real Thing” or my other articles related to this topic. Why did it resonate with you? What did it make you think of? This will help me clarify the idea, as well as resolve potential confusions early.
Of course, if you have any books, journal articles, biographies or other ideas you think might contribute, I’d love to hear them. Before my previous book, I did a similar process of getting examples and suggestions from the audience, and it ended up making a big difference in the final product.