Curate Your Head
One of the most important lessons learned the hard way, the way I learn most things, was to curate my head. When I rode a bicycle across America in the summer of 2010 (Martin's Ride To Cure Cancer) I noticed how quickly a tiny negative thought destroyed my ability to keep riding.

Tiny negative thoughts would become a constant nag and then build momentum until the tiny negative thought was the only thought. When you ride fifty or sixty miles in a day up mountains and against the wind negative thoughts were more dangerous than any road condition.

When I returned from sixty days of riding a bicycle there was a chemo chair with my name on it. I would spend six months trying to put my white blood cell count back into balance.

If curating my head was important on Martin's Ride it was more important during that six months after. Slowly my body started to give up. For the first two months I rode my bicycle to chemo something that seemed to thrill the nurses.

Then there was no more riding. Soon there wouldn't be walking. As my body was forced into submission curating my MIND became the only game in town (lol). Negative thoughts when so much has been taken become crippling fast.

I scaled everything way DOWN and declared victory for the smallest things. If I got out of bed for an hour it was a victory. If I went out of the house it was a victory. If I walked around the block it was a victory. The trick is removing expectations.

Expectations and comparisons are killers when you are trying to curate your head. If you think today is going to be last yesterday or last year you there are already too many ditches for you to fall in. Each day had to be NEW and unfettered by expectations or judgements.

Think this is easy? Try spending a day not judging yourself or others. It is not easy. We are judgement MACHINES. Breaking that muscle memory was the hardest task. When you are in a fight for your life you realize a few things such as:

* STAKES can't get any higher.
* If you find a TINY thing that works do it MORE immediately.
* If you experience a TINY thing that hinders REJECT it immediately.
* Way to build NEW ideas is allow STRANGE to become VALUED.
* The way STRANGE becomes VALUED is to suspend judgement.

There are interesting benefits to curating your head. Your ability to be creative goes way UP, one of the values of suspending judgement and being less hard on yourself. Stress goes way DOWN because your internal dialogue is positive and self reinforcing. Each day you find a victory and each day is NEW.

I've been an athlete all my life so performance based metrics are ingrained. It is important for athletes to improve on their performance. Each day for an athlete is a chance to move their performance needle. I had to break this muscle memory and reform around the "all good" idea.

The all good idea says NOW is what is happening. Being present and accounted for NOW removes the need to compare to some baseline. Baselines are about YESTERDAY not now.

Here is the rub. The NOW lesson may be the most important #Internet #marketing lesson. Internet marketing is so relative, the full context never known or knowable, your ability to understand such a complex ecosystem is ZERO. There is no "understanding".

Instead of understanding we lucky few Internet marketers react, build, curate, create and LISTEN. We listen knowing we can't hear all of the messages. Every message has enough confusing subtext to seemingly eliminate whatever conclusions we reach.

Conclusions are as dangerous to Internet marketers as judgement to cancer patients. I've been in conference rooms where financial people or operational people or marketing people beat their chest like King Kong and personify the essence of judgement and they are almost always WRONG.

Not just WRONG on the facts because who knows from facts in Internet marketing really, but wrong on process. Their King Kong process is incapable of SEEING or LISTENING or acting in their own best interest.

Cancer isn't necessary to learn how to be an Internet marketer, but it doesn't hurt. Cancer changed my life, personality and relationships and I owe the Big C a huge THANK YOU for those changes. Nietzsche was right. Whatever doesn't kill us makes us stronger :). M  
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6 comments
 
+Martin W. Smith Great post! I've often said, curation begins in your own head and you were spot on with this one!
 
Thank you for sharing your story!
 
+Martin W. Smith Another phenomenal post, thank you so much. The ability to curate your own thoughts is certainly one that many people (myself very much included) struggle to acquire. It is an interesting paradox that the higher the stakes, the more we must relax our expectations and just live in "the now"...

Good tie-in with the internet marketing world, too. It is dangerous to make definitive statements of judgment, because you will never know all the X factors. We just keep doing our best, and aim for more listening and better processes. As you say, we listen knowing we cannot possibly hear all of the messages. I'd love to hear your thoughts on how taking a person-to-person 'social' approach might integrate into the 'NOW' philosophy vs. the way mass marketing efforts work.
 
Martin, SPOT ON!

The energy flow for the transformation of any desire must be from within-to outside. In the pursuit of our desire of purpose there is no room for the contemplation of the negative thoughts of WHY NOT. To Achieve, the mind, body and soul must curate - CAN, WILL, DID.

You have proven this to be true in trials of your cross country bike ride and your successful battle with 'C'. -Continued Success to you in ALL that you do!
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