Good Cards — 99

This post is part of Project: Inception, written ~8 years ago. It has been untouched from its original, pseudonymous, form. It is also part of the larger “farewell” tour and countdown as I turn-off this blog and head to the metaverse where I will live out the rest of my wonderful days. I hope to see you there!

“Good Cards”

Venturing deeper and deeper into my understanding of Asperger Syndrome is a bit scary at times requiring a bit of courage to not just understand how things are but to accept them fully as being true.

Behavioral patterns that I had at some point in my life determined to be “quirks” and idiosyncrasies that could be managed and even cured are now completely permanent – there is no drug, no therapy, and no “fix” this side of heaven. I am and will forever be this way.

Some of these discoveries are rich with meaning and I am cherishing them immensely like finally putting the pieces together as to why I must follow the exact same routine and method when I shave my face. Others I must weep and even grieve over as they have been and will always be challenging. My inability to make friends easily, for example, causes me to fear a life of eternal loneliness and there are moments where I want to do nothing more than crawl into a ball and bury myself deep into my pillow.

Consequently, I have taken each day as a new opportunity to learn, a new opportunity to expand my perspective, and a new opportunity to love myself anew, warts and all.

I happened upon another great quote by Jack London the other day which summed up perfectly the emotion that I’ve been experiencing since my official diagnosis:

Life is not a matter of holding good cards, but sometimes, playing a poor hand well.

In many ways I agree and disagree with the sentiment; for starters, I am neither holding a “good” or a “bad” hand of cards – these are the cards I was given, period.

But on the same token I understand very acutely that there are some aspects of my life which are fundamentally poor, like my inability to read and interpret social cues and my indefatigable egocentricity which causes much frustration with my spouse and those that get to work with me professionally. I do not like nor enjoy the outcause of those “hands” and I’m sorry that my behavior in some areas can never be fully corrected.

Yet this is my hand and I must choose to play it as best as I possibly can given all the information that I have at my disposal. What’s fascinating is that I had a breakthrough in my thinking as I discovered a close parallel between my work as an entrepreneur and my pursuit of playing my hand well. I’ll see if I can break this down easily into an explanation of sorts.

You see, when one starts a new venture and startup business there are two things that the entrepreneur and founding team have that seems near-limitless; the first is natural excitement as everyone is pumped to be pursuing this bold new adventure. The second is ambiguity as there is very little way to know if this small company will ever be a success.

But here’s the difference between those that make it and those that fail – the former have the right priorities and perspective as they go forth while the latter are already looking for an exit. In startup world the question of “exit strategy” is always looming – this is the notion that the founder(s) have a plan for how they will cash in their chips and strike liquid gold in a multi-million dollar acquisition by an industry giant.

If you’re planning for an exit before you’ve even begun then your priorities are all bent out of shape. It’s like planning to divorce your spouse before you have even completed your first date to the movies. It’s like planning on dropping out of med school before you even finished your application. It’s like planning on quitting your job before you’ve even applied. It just doesn’t make any sense.

Great companies are built by people who know that the road is hard and the road is long. They are committed to the company and the products that they are building as they’ve built a strategy around that commitment instead of an exit. They aren’t interested in selling out – they are interested in building an incredible company. As a result they build their products right, they acquire the right customers, and they grow smart.

Their perspective is what holds them fast when temptation to quit swirls all around them and when a quick fix or exit presents itself. Great companies are obsessed about building a great company. Poor companies are obsessed with how they can get rid of theirs.

I have discovered that the same attitude and perspective applies to my current circumstance as an aspie creative. I can choose to find a “quick” fix and an “exit” from my challenges or I can dig in, play the best hand possible with the cards I’ve been dealt, and make it happen. I know the road is long and I know the road is hard – it’s been really difficult already!

But I’m not looking to quit so I’m going to take the lemons that I’ve got and make the best damn lemonade you’ve ever had. I will not feel sorry for my circumstance. I will not be bitter nor will I give up. I can’t escape this body nor the mind that I have and the resulting behavior that’s produced – it’s odd but it’s also my ticket to awesomeness. Every aspie creative needs to start from square one – accept the hand that’s been dealt and proceed to kick ass.