There’s a line in Ocean’s 11 that comes and goes and if you’re not paying attention, you miss it every time.
In case you can’t watch the clip:
Linus (Matt Damon): You suicidal?
Rusty (Brad Pitt): Only in the morning.
Agreed, Brad. Agreed. For me it comes when I wake up about 1-2 hours before my alarm goes off.
You’ve been there. Let me paint the picture.
Maybe you woke up to pee, maybe an end of a dream caused you to stir, or maybe your subconscious didn’t want you to be late for something. Whatever it is, when you try to put your head back down, the safety of slumber starts to lose its grip and the demon shoots an uninvited thought across your bow of tranquility. At first, the ripple is just a whisper but he’s just clearing his throat and reloading the canon.
Yeah, this is Demon Hour.
That half reality, half dream state when you find yourself planning your day, assessing your life and trying to rest at the same time. The more you tell yourself you should be sleeping, the more you worry about what will happen if the conference room you are presenting in today doesn’t have a USB port for your thumb drive. The possibility of a non-existent USB port wormholes into a self-deprecating assessment of your life as a whole and where it’s going.
You begin to doubt your abilities, your career, your choices, if you can do it, if you should be doing it, if you’re good enough to do it, if you’re going to die a horrible death alone if you don’t do it, and what the hell is it that you are doing anyway.
And this happens in about 18 seconds.
I hate Demon Hour. Fittingly, for the past week it’s been all about The Mongol Rally for me, a 10,000 mile drive in a 43-horsepower car that starts Sunday from London, aka one of the greatest journeys of my life.
Is it the right thing to do right now? What happens if X happens? What happens if Y happens? What happens if I don’t eat enough and I’m so cranky that I get myself arrested? What happens if we break down and we don’t have any water? What if I can’t charge my Go Pro? What if I can’t wash my underwear? What am I doing this for? Who am I doing this for? Will I still have clients when I get home? Will I still have friends when I get home? Will I still have a home when I get home?
Ah yes, pre-stress. The demon’s muddy footprints.
How To Handle The Demon
- Everyone deals with it. It’s the lizard brain, the Duke of Doubt, trying to keep you safe. It’s just what it does. You are NOT crazy (unless of course you ARE crazy, in which case you should get some help. Maybe I’m crazy for calling this thing “Demon Hour” and referring to it as a person in my head that I compete with, but let’s not get into it.)
- Get up, read something, eat some Nutella, do anything that IS real. You have to break it’s neuronic choke hold on you
- Write it down. If you’re thinking about all the things you have to do and that you don’t want to forget, turn on the light and jot it down. The light won’t keep you up, telling yourself to not forget something will
Lastly, the thoughts it spouts are NOT reality. It’s trying to convince you that if you try hard enough and if you think about it long enough, you can predict everything that will possibly happen. And yet isn’t it funny that every time life undoubtedly throws something at you that you hadn’t put on your to-do list or your oh-shit list, you still figure it out?
So when within 24 hours yesterday we found out that our car repairs are going to cost $1,000 more than we had planned (the car itself cost $1,200), the mechanic ordered the wrong breaks so its readiness will be delayed a couple of days (thank god we got to London early), and we’re scrambling to find a local printer because a sponsor did not get us a photo in time for his logo on the car (deadlines schmedlines), we can just shrug our shoulders, chuckle, and focus on controlling what we can control.
More often than not, it’s what got you to where you are that’s going to get you out of it. It’s amazing what you’re capable of when you have to find out what you’re capable of. Trust in that. Trust in you.
How do you deal with Demon Hour? Chime in below.
The Next 4 Weeks
For the next month or so, I’m most likely not going to be posting any new weekly blogs on Colipera due to our lack of connectivity, a bankrupt of nutrition, and my brain surely being bereft of business/life insight after being crammed into a sardine can on wheels for half a day, everyday, until the end of August.
Have a great rest of the summer (for you Northern Hemispherians!)
Bon Voyage! My demon doesn’t stand a chance.