Blogging 201.08: The Bad News Lecture

 EDITDavid (Learner, Strategic, Individualization, Input, Connectedness/ENFJ/I)8 Days Ago

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“(4) The easiest way not to feel the essential pain is to distract your brain. Check Facebook, check email, go back to a different idea that hasn’t caused you pain yet, start researching some inane detail, watch cat videos on YouTube on repeat. Or just walk away.”

I’ve been in this mode much of my life. While there are times when I become seriously focused until I get closure, in between I’m always wanting to learn something new and looking for something that is interesting. My work also offers me a lot of flexibility with my schedule and lots of time to be a learner. (#1). I’m very familiar with denial and avoidance, and way too comfortable with both.

“Part of the importance of recognizing essential pain is to make that priority decision about which pain you’d rather feel. Either … turn it in, or …never finishing the book. Because it will never feel finished, and that is painful.”

This is why I’m here. I want to develop some concrete plans for closure.
Or as I call it, retirement.
Primarily because I’ve generally lost interest in obsessively circling the same timesuck. It’s neither fun or interesting anymore, and no one is listening.

“If you are digging a hole in the wrong place, trying harder only gets you a deeper hole … in the wrong place.”

“One of the hardest decisions you will make in life is whether to walk away or try harder.”

Matthew 10: 12 As you enter the house, salute it.   13 And if the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it; but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. 14 And if any one will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet as you leave that house or town. 

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Elli Zafiris (Certified Strengths Coach)8 Days Ago

You’ve mentioned losing interest in the current work a number of times. We live in a society that praises completion, but I challenge that empty completion simply to check the box is not something to strive for. If you’ve moved on emotionally and energetically and your interest is pulling you to a different project, then perhaps it’s time to consider walking away from the painful project and starting something that brings you joy.

David (Learner, Strategic, Individualization, Input, Connectedness/ENFJ/I)7 Days Ago EDIT

I’m here for that challenge, and the evaluation that comes with it.
It’s also not the project itself, it’s the consistent lack of affirmation from the marketplace.

It’s also not a matter of completion. “empty completion simply to check the box.”
The dissertation was completed, submitted for the degree.
It was put online at for free download.
Supplementary materials were added.

An online course was developed and presented 13 times to a national audience. Using the Socratic method, each course generates about a 100,000 words on the discussion board.

A follow up course, Major League Disciplemaking was developed and presented.

A novelization of the dissertation, a planned trilogy inspired by Eliyahu Goldratt’s teaching novels, is self-published. 50,000+ words were written for each of Books 2 and 3 of the trilogy but they remain unfinished.

With the permission of the participants, a workbook version of the online course was self-published.

The material was repackaged as a church “lay servant” course which was taught once. With the hope of approval, national publication and distribution by the denomination providing these courses.

In the wings … planned out but knowing I don’t have the energy to do them … repackage the material again, as a blog, constructed as a fictional consultant working with 4 small churches in danger of closing.

Revisit the dissertation in a blog, updating it paragraph by paragraph as “12 years later” and reflect on the changes since it was published, tell stories and memoirs of living with this material for so long.

The ideas are good. Fascinating. The problem likely lies in a failure of marketing or platform. Sometimes a wonderful idea just fails to thrive.

I don’t believe that I have the energy or the ability to repackage this material – so much an essential part of my life’s work – again, in a new way, after all these attempts, that will finally cause this material to succeed, go viral and be widely adopted by churches in my denomination and change the world. Other people might be able to do this, but not me. I have lost faith and hope in my ability to this.

So, it’s not losing interest … it’s more like driving your best friend to hospice.  Or your child to prison.
But walking away is on the level of a job change, if not a divorce. 
It never is trivial … but it’s not trivial.
Murder your darlings is a writing cliche … but sometimes it does feel like murder.

David (Learner, Strategic, Individualization, Input, Connectedness/ENFJ/I)7 Days Ago EDIT

Overnight Insight: my problems with this aren’t writing problems as much as they are publisher problems. Not content creation, but content dissemination problems.

Letting an author go, choosing for a line of books to go out of print, admitting failure to grow a market (lost hopes and dreams), closing down a line or a business, are big drama situations.

And indie being what it is, being a publisher, providing a platform and connecting with readers, is often what we find ourselves doing.

The question is not whether to retire, but what remains. As a business closes or after a person dies, a lot of work remains to tidy things up. Identifying what that involves and defining those tasks is now what I need to do. It is possible to simply abandon those responsibilities, but it’s better to take care of them. Closure.

And, as far as humbling myself goes, 1/3 of the dissertation material is on creating a viral innovation movement through systems of institutional and cultural transformation (5th Discipline by Peter Senge + [the Diffusion of Innovations by Everett Rogers + Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey Moore], with a dash of Goldratt’s Theory of Constraints, sociologist Rodney Stark and Bowen Family Systems), so inherent in my failure is the failure to properly implement my own research. (Or to QTP, which is that the research even works.)

And so the brain ponders … what did I miss? Where did I miss the opportunity? How did I ignore the very research I attempted to practice? (And this used to lead to a new way to repackage the same material. Classic sunk cost bias/fallacy. I still have curiosity pennies (“Why?”) but no energy pennies for this.)

David (Learner, Strategic, Individualization, Input, Connectedness/ENFJ/I)7 Days Ago EDIT

It’s also possible that my situation is a William Glasser “true conflict” or true dilemma, where patiently waiting for the immobilizing balance to change is the wise choice – to press <pause> until a solution is possible.

The sign of a true conflict is an explosion of energy trying all possible options to solve a problem that can’t be solved; rather than avoidance, there is obsession and an abundance of frantic energy. I’ve certainly experienced the obsession.

p. 118-120ff … “result 2” 

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Elli Zafiris (Certified Strengths Coach)7 Days Ago

Dave, I love that you’re putting so much thought into all of this. I suspect a lot of the frustration and pain is something you’re going to need to bring to your coaching call. Let’s see what pops as we get into the meat of the class. 🙂

David (Learner, Strategic, Individualization, Input, Connectedness/ENFJ/I)7 Days Ago EDIT

I’m verbalizing many of the thoughts I’ve struggled with for about a decade. A long time coming, and I’m hoping our time here will help bring things into focus.



MY STRATEGY: (Application)

What gets my attention?
Do I understand the need or problem?
Do I understand the potential solution?
Do I understand how to apply that strategy?
What questions do I have for the experts? What might be the answers?
Who needs to hear this?
What do I do next?

SOURCES – Footnotes:


This is an anchor post; its purpose is to begin a conversation.
Please review the page How and Why We Use Quotes.
Key: Blogging 201  Last Revision: 07/20/2021. 

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