A Magical New Book on Creativity and Disorder
Wired This Way, by Jessica Carson
The second time I met Jessica Carson we were in the front row for a live interview of Tim Ferriss with Doug McMillon. We sat down next to each other serendipitously. Casual conversation reminded us of when we first met, and quickly led us to something convergent: we were both passionate about the intersection of creativity and disorder. That’s when she told me about her book. My eyes lit up. When she asked me write the foreword to it, I was beyond honored. Here is the foreword to Wired This Way.
Foreword: Fuel, Fire, or Both?
The relationship between entrepreneurship and inner turmoil is both symbiotic and parasitic. The tension inherent in an entrepreneur’s experience is the constructive fuel and the destructive fire of new venture creation. I know because I lived it:I built a company for a decade in the shadow of crippling ups and downs, enabled by those mood states on some days, and nearly destroyed by them on others.
Unrelenting and untreated depression led to long and harmful periods of absenteeism. It also provoked paradoxically helpful periods of introspection, though unfortunately offering no energy with which to implement change. Hypomania became the opposite, a mood state just a little less than crazy that provided the fuel. It was a propellant for the endless cycle of raising venture capital and running out of funds, the nonstop hiring and the all too frequent firing, the creativity to build the brand, the courage to change the industry, and the abrupt evolutions in strategy to convert the fantasy of a startup into the reality of a company that could endure.I became a mercurial leader with a charismatic and inconsistent persistence, and my life turned into an obvious pattern I sought to ignore: self-flagellation and self-loathing on the bad days, self-aggrandizement and self-medication on the hyper days, with self-destructive urges lurking at both extremes.
If only this book had been available then. The hardest part of the shame and stigma of my personal struggles was that it put me in a box of my own making. I felt alone. If only I had known that disorder is a common ingredient in disruption, and that most entrepreneurs are wrestling with something nearly or definitively diagnosable.
As you read this book, you will discover that you are not alone anymore. Like a Canterbury Tales of entrepreneurs, you will soon be walking your journey with fellow pilgrims, all real people themselves, including the author herself, who will show you that creativity and disorder go hand in hand, that your extraordinary gifts would not exist without their concomitant liabilities.
Maybe the goal of the journey is to realize those liabilities are gifts in their own right, and should invite gratitude, inquiry, and respect, rather than pity, shame or anger. It’s for each of us to decide how we process our yin and our yang. What follows is a provocation that we do so not just with self-acceptance and self-love, but with curiosity, optimism, vulnerability and transparency. For it is only in seeking our truths, and sharing them in an unvarnished way, that we can get help, and help will be needed if we are going to not just get through this, but thrive.
With Jessica as our river guide, we are reminded that as we shape the outer world, we must remake our inner worlds as well, giving our minds, bodies, and spirits our full attention, and recognizing that it is only when those worlds come into alignment that we can reimagine everything about who we are, and who we can be.
Now available here on Amazon.