I don’t like failing, but it doesn’t bother me as much as it used to (if it is not vital to my life). I don’t think I need to feel special as intensely as I used to need this (still need it some or else why would I blog?). To err is human, ergo, I accept my flawed humanity. I’ve made peace with being a worker among workers, an addict among addicts.
I can’t pretend that I have ever fantasized that one day I’ll be speaking before a crowd of 15 people. My father, who died a year ago tomorrow, used to preach to thousands, but after the 1980 Glacier View controversy, his live audience went down to about 10% of what it was. Did that bother him? Definitely. My father was a lonely unhappy man after 1980.
For the past few months, my Youtube show has not worked more than it has worked. My views over the past month are a third of what they were the previous month (which were less than half of what they were in the Spring and Summer of 2018). I often feel my failure on these days to connect with my best audience and with my best self. But is it humiliating? No, because I haven’t made any grand claims about my numbers or my relative success with livestreaming.
So I’m trying to tap into subjects and books that fill me with energy, to make notes of things I want to expound on, and to stay open to what works and what doesn’t. I want to face up to how much I need other people to make my show great, and to have the courage and fortitude to do what I can on my own to improve.
My self-esteem does not depend upon my view count and I have made deliberate choices to do shows on important topics that will not draw as large an audience as more sensational stories. I’ve also become much more discriminating about who I stream with. Unfortunately, most people who have the time and inclination to come on my show are anti-social.
As I keep trying things, I know that the show may get worse before it gets better. I want to feel free to fail and free to learn from that.
So how should we deal with failure? It seems like a good idea to admit it. It is good to accept reality before we try to change it. If various approaches have not worked, we can open ourselves to something new. It is good if our sense of self does not depend upon winning. If we can fail and still like ourselves, that’s good.
A large reason my show has failed over the past few months is that people I need on to make great shows are no longer available. So it seems like facing up to reality to admit that I need those people, to accept that they have other priorities, and that while I may not be able to get the band back together, I can create a new band.
I realized Sunday that my sound settings were not working, so I spent an hour researching the topic and then another hour experimenting with new settings in OBS. And now that I listen back to my latest show, I realize I’ve made my sound quality worse.
I should adapt Mayor Koch’s question — how am I doing (with my audio levels)?
How many people have hated their job, hated working for their families, quit to try something new, failed, and had to come crawling back? Change is not always good. Friends of mine have spent up to a decade trying to do stand up comedy, earn a living from teaching Alexander Technique, and other quixotic ventures that saner people told them would not work out financially, and they have utterly failed (at earning a living in their desired field). Not everyone is cut out to work for themselves. Most people are probably better off working for others.
The Luke Ford Show is where dreams come to die.
Friends and therapists have noted that I am not flexible (a typical trait of narcissists), and that may make my working well with others an above average challenge.
Cuachalango: “Will the last Luke Ford viewer please plug in the cpap?”
I like the moral and cognitive challenge of livestreaming, even when few people watch. Some people like to work out their body at the gym or their soul at church. I like to work out my mind on Youtube.
When does my show work? When I’m connecting. When does my life work? When I’m connecting. But I don’t want to connect with anybody at any level. I want to connect with what is best in people and to reduce my tendency to trauma bond.
So what separates humiliating failure from regular failure? Humiliation is the result of being out of touch with our relative importance in an interaction, and basing our sense of self on feeling special and making public declarations about how special we are that are shown to be bogus.
One of the turning points in my life was when my sponsor told me that I did not need to beat myself down any more over having an emotional addiction and all the embarrassing behavior that goes with that. I don’t have to trash myself because of bad decisions I made in the past. I didn’t ask to have these addictions. I didn’t choose such misery. Instead of regretting the past, I can face the past, face myself, face others, clean up my side of the street, make amends to those I’ve hurt, and use my experience to help others.
If someone does not answer your letter, do you automatically assume you did something wrong or that the other person did something wrong? That seems like a good litmus test of your sense of self and your sense of reality. It seems to me that one would not want to fall into either camp of blaming yourself or others but accepting that reality is complex and frequently has nothing to do with our choices.
Where else am I failing in life?
* I am a bachelor.
* I have nothing saved for retirement.
* I often don’t sleep well. Probably no one thing would improve my life like consistent quality sleep.
* My income has stayed flat since June of 2018.
Everybody dies disappointed, ergo everybody fails much of the time. It is where in our lives we fail and how we deal with failure that matters. It is easier to learn from failure if you live in reality and have clarity about what is important.
In late 1998 or early 1999, a Seventh Day Adventist Bible scholar deconstructed me and my father:
You father “knows” too much for me to tell him anything. Including about you. It will never happen.
…Knowing too much, summarizing too fast, summing up too quickly, is a weakness he has. It’s a way that you and he are terrifically alike.
…By the way, you enjoy controversy and driving people nuts way too much. Both of you. What is the blessing in “Blessed are the peacemakers.” (Jesus knew at least as much about Judaism as you do….) Part of what makes you ill at ease in the self/world dichotomy is this approach toward the outside world as the enemy to be debunked.
Hiding behind “journalism” as the reason for this cynicism just won’t do. I ain’t convinced! There are lots of “journalists” who do have the same problem with their approach, but there are lots that don’t. It’s not endemic to journalism to have to drive people nuts, to be cynical, and to print what MAY be someone’s screwup and assume it’s true until proven otherwise. The theory of the law, “Innocent until proven guilty” would help in your approach to your journalism. But of course you became this sort of journalist as a result of an already existing cynicism, not the reverse. You have charm and intelligence and good looks, and I can see that it is dangerously easy for you to mislead people about yourself–even when you know you’re doing it. Careful, this can make for a hollow feeling and dis-ease.
…Now, what your father [two Ph.Ds in Christianity] was exposed to was “readings” in the British style. Not the original materials, but readings of not-very-good European writers, whose writings couldn’t even be taken seriously (since they’re relatively ignorant of the details) in American Biblical Studies. Out of this study of generally poor secondary sources your father got the impression he was something of an expert in theology. From this weak background, with most of his questions unanswered, he launched into doing what only someone who didn’t know what he didn’t know would do: he tried to write a commentary on Daniel. It was a terrible mishmash of preterism, historicism, and futurism without any understanding of how these systems complement and clash. There was no understanding of their history, of the sameness and difference involved in them.. And much of the book was unedited quotes from other sources strung together in ways that didn’t fit at all. It became apparent to me after only a few minutes that your father didn’t have the foggiest notion of the Book of Daniel, and shouldn’t even be teaching an academy class on the subject, much less writing a book about it. That a Seventh Day Adventist publishing house published this mess, virtually unedited, and with even the Hebrew title screwed up, showed the blind leading the blind.
You write very much in the style of your father. Like him, you tie together long quotes, with rather poor segues and transitions. This is so evident in your website that I marvel that I didn’t get it sooner. And you’ve gotten the same kind of accurate and strong criticism your father got for what passes for writing. And the same kind of “this guy really didn’t take the time to know what he was talking about before he became a legend in his own mind” criticism.
My livestreams suffer from the same problems as my blogging.