I spent the day listening to a variety of Chuck Palahniuk interviews, podcasts, and his essay, People, Places, Things. I give Chuck partial credit for all of the self-improvement I’ve made over the years, because without Fight Club I don’t know if I ever would have begun that path. Its arguably the single most important piece of art that has ever inspired me and I continue to come back to it every few years and approach it with a different lens.
Listening to Chuck speak today was enlightening. He made several points over the several hours of discussions that I listened to that made me stop and think. I believe the single most impactful is the idea that he is an observer of life. He looks at people and stories from an outside view which I believe allows him to be grounded. It also allows him to connect with folks, because he has no issues embarrassing himself or putting it all out on the line. By opening up with controversial stories, he inspires others to confide into him with their own stories. He essentially normalizes those uncomfortable memories which is great starting point to heal from.
Something else I took away from his discussions was the idea that you need to close the doors and dedicate yourself to one thing that you will work on for the rest of your life. I found this inspiring because over the years, I’ve struggled with the idea that doors have been closing on me because of my age, physical abilities, and so forth. I also think, I’m scared to close doors on certain things because I guess deep down I want to live forever and do everything I’ve ever thought of doing. But let’s be real here, I’m thirty-eight years old, those dreams of athletic glory are behind me amongst many other things.
And yet something else I took away today was his idea about creating special moments. Just little unbelievable moments that last forever. We tend to lose so much magic in the world as we get older that sometimes a little shock is welcomed in our life. He told so many wonderful stories of the little things he has done over the years to make a once in a lifetime type of memory and I love that. It’s truly inspired me to start looking for things that aren’t easily archived and documented.
And finally… another moment of inspiration I took from Chuck is the idea of going back to zero. This is something I’ve practiced (or at least, half-heartedly practiced) over the years. Chuck ceremoniously destroys all of his writings once a year. If it didn’t make it to a finished product, it’s destroyed. There are no rough drafts lying nor notes, he resets back to zero so that he can focus on the next task at hand.
I’ve embraced this sort of behavior with my blogs and journals and I do enjoy the idea of having a clean slate to work from. I’ve also recently been going through some old writings, blogs, and journals in the midst of my moving from one cloud service to another. I’ve deleted a good portion of what I’ve had saved and after today, I feel inspired to delete the rest. I think it’s time to let some old stuff go and make space for new things.