Monkey in the cockpit.
It was almost 20 years ago that this was a thing in our house. My first child was a year old and he and I would play a Nintendo 64 video game called FireFox (more specifically, I would play and he would climb all over me while I played). The challenge was this… Could you do it? Could you fly a spaceship at warp speed and still kick butt with what was essentially an monkey let loose in the cockpit with you?
I Loved that challenge.
7 weeks into full sobriety. 49 days.
At the last check-in I mentioned that I had a concern about the people around me not really noticing the change, but still unconsciously turning away. In the spirt of acknowledging that by looking for any confirmation of this could easily produce a self-fulfilling prophecy, I’m nervously dropping the subject and moving on.
This check-in quickly touches on my concern that sobriety may affect the work. Cleaning up by stopping smoking weed happened years ago now. Do I miss it? Fuck yeah I do. I don’t miss it everyday, but there definitely are moments I feel like a kid looking through a candy store window knowing that I’m not allowed back in anytime soon. Cleaning up was a change, both for the better and with consequence. The pro is that I’m no longer burdened by the constant hailstorms of ideas… the con, I’m no longer burdened by the constant hailstorms of ideas. It’s subtle… but relevant. Despite this, the change wasn’t too bad. I found that there was still enough activity inside my own head to play with while keeping me pleasantly busy. Eventually I came to enjoy the clarity of mind that lets a person follow a thread without the constant temptation to jump over to a new thread that was just passing by.
Sobering up though, is entirely different. This time, it’s not about how it affects the generation of ideas, it’s about decision making and how risk is embraced. Simply put, with a drink in hand, it’s pretty easy to say “fuck it” and make a decision, after all, with enough experience, all decisions really do seem to prove relatively equal when heading off in a general direction. The booze just made it easier to go with the flow. The unexpected perk was that occasional wild decision actually helped keep the process interesting, and strangely enough, amazing progress often came directly from the chaos of the unexpected. Following this brand of logic, it’s only natural that one of my big concerns therefore is, that without that particular monkey in the cockpit, where will innovative development come from?
49 days into this new reality, not sure how reasonable the logic of this stance is though.
With this in mind, I’m pinning this note to my cork board…
Yes I am/was an addict, but I want it noted that while I was definitely a addict, I was a functional addict… ie, I was addict that made a habit of getting shit done. I’m a practiced decision maker and I don’t have a problem making decisions. Being sober isn’t going to change that, and definitely not for the worse. I don’t need 2 shots in me to make a decision. I don’t need a pint in me to stand by my decisions even when shit goes belly up. Knowing that things generally will be worked out as they go through the process, lets me trust myself. Still not everything works out and that’s totally ok too.
Make a decision, tackle it, assess the results, and move on. Drinking really doesn’t need to be part of the decision making process. Innovation didn’t come out of the drinking. It came out of a man who was drunk enough to let go and play without defined goals or an apprehension of failure.
Going forward, permission is fully given to keep playing.
Innovation happens to those that make time to both play and do the work… so keep playing and doing the work. See how that goes before worrying about what’s being lost. Maybe I’m not loosing anything at all…