By Theo Winter
Professional Me - What I Do Hi, I’m Trevor’s minion. (Trevor is my boss.) I’ve gotten used to calling myself “minion” for lack of a better term because my role is multifaceted, difficult to describe, and largely involves an ongoing battle to convince my boss not to feed me to the sharks with frickin' laser beams attached to their heads. Trevor sometimes calls me “Theo the Tool Man Taylor” but that’s another story. Let’s not go there. Just forget I brought it up. At work, I support the business across a number of areas including marketing, customer service, writing, design, website management, event management, administration, and product development. Years ago, I studied advertising. I don’t know why. Lately, I seem to do a lot of writing. I don’t know why. I don’t even particularly like writing. Every sentence is pain. My very existence is a living hell. Anyway, I digress. There’s over 200 posts on this blog that I’ve, uh, lovingly bashed out, and my first business book is “40 Must-Know Business Models for People Leaders” which took 2 years of my life and totally didn’t make me want to hang myself. Not even a little bit. Yes, I’m weird. I work for a psychometric testing company — what did you expect?
Personal Me - Who I Am Cream-coloured ponies and crisp apple strudels... What’s the deal with business bio’s, anyway? They’re way too sanitised if you ask me. And most writers make far too much sense. Occasionally you run across a rare gem who’s funny and quirky and their bio is clearly not constructed from a generic-as-jam sample search on Google. But even then, those rare gems aren’t what I really want. I want the core! The gooey, creamy, chocolate centre of their humanity. For Pete’s sake, people! What do you actually care about? “I’m passionate about increasing business process efficiency, meeting deadlines, and getting optimal results for clients…” No. No you’re not. Nobody enjoys that. I’m talkin’ movies, video games, music, books, hopes, fears, dreams, food, philosophies, heroes, colours. Okay, maybe not favourite colours. Clearly, that would be pointless and extraneous detail, but as a flesh and blood human being, or sentient self-driving car, or vampire-lycan hybrid, I want to know: what makes you tick? I don’t know who said it, possibly Abe Lincoln, but I truly believe the best advice for writers is to type out the words that YOU want to read on the page.
If you’ve come this far and you’re still curious, here are a few of my favourite things:
I like short sentences.
I like lists.
I like scenes.
I like this semi-short scene from Birdman that talks about labels.
I’m not against labels, but I think our words for things frequently obscure our line of sight to the things themselves.
The label I identify with most is probably “sceptic.”
I’m not 100% sure of anything.
I’m 100% sure I am a hypocrite.
Favourite utterance: “I don’t know.”
This video essay on the unexplainable pretty much sums up how I feel about everything in the universe.
I prefer the absurdity of not having answers to the absurdity of having answers.
Favourite emoticon: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ (which I see more as a “who knows?” shrug than a “who cares?” shrug off)
Favourite question to ponder: “What will humans think about [issue I strongly suspect you are completely confused about] in 500 - 1000 years?”
Favourite colour: yellow. When I was younger, blue.
The odds that you care what my favourite colour is, is probably very low.
I like talking about the colour yellow.
There’s a yellow coffee mug on my desk, given affectionately as a gift, with the inscription in capital black letters: “I’M A HAPPY GO LUCKY RAY OF FUCKING SUNSHINE.”
I’m actually fairly nice in person.
There’s also a yellow book that I keep on my desk titled, “How to Keep From Getting Fired.” (It was published in 1975 and I love that it’s completely serious.)
I wouldn’t say I hate people, per se, but I really enjoy solitude.
On the topic of solitude, there’s something I find deeply, deeply soothing about this 14-minute video: The Profound Solitude of a Winter Spent Alone on An Island Caring For an Empty Hotel.
I don’t have any “heroes” or “idols” that I want to meet in person. (I don’t think it’s bad to have idols. When I was younger, mine was Arnie, whom I still find inspiring - I just don’t presently “idolise” any human being.)
I am not, nor have I ever been, active in any political movement or party. Politics doesn't interest me. I don't know if that makes me a bad person.
Something I think is awesome: All Minus One: John Stuart Mill's Ideas on Free Speech Illustrated (Free eBook)
Something else I find inspiring: Shots of Awe with Jason Silva
Favourite blog: Brainpickings.org by the most beautiful entity in the multiverse, Maria Popova. Her blog has lots of yellow. It’s great.
Here’s a mighty fine post I wrote some years ago with the top 10 best personal development blogs I (still) read/recommend.
Schools of thought I gravitate to: Stoicism, Buddhism, Humanism.
Favourite philosophers: Socrates, David Hume, Bertrand Russell.
Favourite philosophy: the truth.
I like general rules.
As a general rule, context matters more than custom.
As a general rule, time is more important than money.
As a general rule, quality of life is more important than time.
As a general rule, kindness is a higher value than cleverness.
As a general rule, awkward and accurate is better than witty and wrong.
As a general rule, don’t waste time arguing with someone who points out obvious exceptions to a general rule.
Something that scares me: social media. (I’m not active on any social media platform. Occasionally, LinkedIn.)
Something I’m wary of: tribalism and group identity.
Something I dislike: outrage culture.
Something I don’t care for: which sporting team or player I “should” support based on my postcode or origin of birth.
Something I'm not a fan of: judgemental snobs. (I acknowledge there may be some irony in “judging the judgemental”)
Something I do that might annoy you: I use the colon ( : ) way more than I should.
Honestly: I’m not a very good writer.
A few favourite movies: The Matrix, Predator, Terminator 2, Pitch Black, Cube, Ex Machina, Contact, Gladiator, 5th Element, Goodwill Hunting, Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust.
If I weren’t working here, I’d probably be a video editor or work on Science Fiction films or live alone in the remote wilderness like Thoreau.
If you love "dumb" films where things go boom, that’s okay.
If you prefer books and art that “make you think,” that’s okay.
My favourite things go boom and make you think.
Nothing is permanent, and I'm okay with that.
“A thing isn’t beautiful because it lasts.” — The Vision (Avengers: Age of Ultron)
I’m 90% sure it’s fine to quote superhero films.
If I re-read what’s on this list in 5 years, I know I’ll feel embarrassed.
This quote makes me feel better whenever I do something stupid: “Maybe I went a little overboard, but, you know, that’s the way I did it then, that was my thinking process then, and you can’t go back and change it.” — Arnold Schwarzenegger (Raw Iron, The Making of Pumping Iron)
This one, too: “We’re all just molecules, cutie.”