The Fear of Being Unable to Articulate Oneself

Thinking that you’re crazy because you’re unable to express what you know.

For the longest time, I’ve been trying to articulate any dominate fears that I have. It’s been difficult because I don’t see many blockades in my life’s work because I love exploring the unknown and going off the edge of the map of the known world. So I’m not really fearful in exploring things that would radically cause future shock in others because they’ve become common place and common sense for me now.

Yet at the same time, over the past few years, I feel like I’m been hitting a wall more and more that I can’t seem to get over. This wall is a fear. Yet trying to see what this fear is has been difficult. It primarily arises after I make a major breakthrough, experiencing a massive high at some discovery that helps me see things in a broader way. Yet immediately following that, when I try to write about what I’ve discovered and have seen, I freeze up and I’m unable to express what I’ve seen and understood.

At first, I thought the problem was that I truly didn’t understand what I was seeing because being unable to articulate what you’re seeing is a common sign that you don’t actually understand what you’re seeing. Richard Feynman emphasized this and mentioned that giving a lecture on what you think you know is a good way to see if you truly understand what you know.

For myself, I truly believe I understand what I’m seeing but it felt like something else was getting in the way of expressing what I know. While reading How To Take Smart Notes by Sönke Ahrens (which also emphasizes being able to articulate what you know as well), he mentioned that your “permanent” notes eventually heighten your intuition, allowing you to see the invisible connections between things that may not have been visible to you before. Seeing this word intuition over and over again, finally woke me up to why I was hitting this wall.

I’m strongly intuitive by nature, so much so that I’m able to be see patterns and connections between things often far sooner than others around me. What might take them a year or two to see some patterns and the connections between them, might take me a couple of weeks. For example, I’ve had people from previous jobs tell me years later that what I was seeing within the organization at the time, they finally saw a few years later, even though at the time we worked together, they couldn’t see what I was seeing.

Because of my ability to utilize and trust my intuition so strongly, I’m able to visibly see these connections between things that are often “below the surface” and invisible to others (i.e. an organization’s culture). Deciding to do a simple search on Google, I wrote “is intuition understanding something if you can’t articulate it”. And sure enough the top result returned what I intuited and expected with an article entitled 5 Tips for Intuitive Types Who Can’t Explain Their Vision.

Intuition trains you to make sense of these thoughts without examining every detail. But details matter when you are trying to explain your ideas.

5 Tips for Intuitive Types Who Can’t Explain Their Vision

This quote above, from the introduction of the article, pretty much sums up my experience as someone who strongly relies upon their intuition. It’s easy to see these things for me, often in vivid, visual detail, as it’s like having this “big picture” within my head, almost like another world I’ve explored (with travel photos of it in my mind). But the difficultly arises when one returns from visiting this world and is unable to articulate what one has seen there.

While this might seem foreign for someone to understand and grasp, based upon their own personality type, what I find really interesting here is the very next sentence after the quote above is this one.

Overlooking a word or feature can cause complete misunderstanding – as if you are speaking a different language.

So within my mind, I’m not just pretending to visit this place, I’m actually going there, like I’m a tourist visiting a new country or an explorer visiting a new world. And to really articulate what you’re seeing and understand the meaning of it, you almost have to communicate within the language of the people who live there. And that’s the difficultly. How do you communicate something within a completely different, unconventional language than the conventional language that most people normally use? That’s my struggle.

Luckily the article emphasizes a variety of things that can help me in this process. And interestingly enough, some of these things I’m already attempting to do (i.e. crafting one sentence with a few “anchors” that emphasize the narrative or theme of my life’s work) but I think it’s putting them all together into practice that will help me to make this next big step in my development and growth, “levelling up” in the process.

All said and done, I’m grateful that this fear has finally been brought to the surface and has become visible because now I can actually see it, admit it, and begin to work on it. In other words, if you can’t see what the problem is (even in some vague sense), you can’t really start walking around it and trying to understand it better.

BTW just a final thought to this, that’s kind of like the icing on the cake. If you read the concluding comments for my personality type, something that is raised by people is that they don’t have any interest in “learning a new language” which is a key characteristic of my personality type. This perfectly shows how so many people misunderstand the meaning of personality types because they are looking literally at something that can be communicating something metaphorically (like Joseph Campbell’s work). In this case, as my own life experience proves, “learning a new language” doesn’t literally mean learning the language of a foreign country but in this case it means learning a new language of meaning which is exactly what everyone will be going through as they transform themselves and their worldview for the future emerging rapidly before us right now.


“You’ve Come a Long Way,” WordPress

How WordPress today is achieving the vision of Storehouse back in 2014.

Kyle Pearce reviewing the Storehouse app.

While researching some things I had posted on Google+ some years back, I stumbled across a post I had made in 2014 about Storehouse which was a new publishing platform for “visual storytelling”.

What amazed me about reflecting back upon it (particularly the animated example under the title section of “Beautiful stories everywhere” on their website) is that the same thing can now be achieved within WordPress in terms of outputting a beautiful structure and layout to tell your story. This has largely been in part because of what Gutenberg has achieved in empowering the end user to finally be able to visually layout their own content fairly easily.

This got me thinking and wondering if many people even realize WordPress has this power now. If you don’t, it would probably be a pretty huge change and it would probably radically change your perspective of the platform in turn.

At the same time, it has made me realize how powerful and easy to use the platform is now, regardless of where I want it to be in terms of it evolving into my dream platform. In effect, I have to recognize that it is far more powerful than it ever was and becoming far more powerful than other platforms every day.

This is something I’m not really leveraging in its basic sense. In effect, helping people to simply become aware of it and to utilize in its basic current state, regardless of the fact that I want it to become so much more still (which will probably be achieved by the end of this year though with full site editing).

Anyways, all that said, one thing that is still lacking with WordPress is the mobile user experience, at least from my perspective in terms of using the WordPress iOS app. It is pretty much in its infancy still and cannot even compare to the simplicity, power, and ease of use that the Storehouse iOS app had six years ago in 2014. It would be nice if the WordPress iOS app development team took some lessons from the design and functionality of the Storehouse iOS app and implemented them into the WordPress iOS app.

It’s also interesting to see that in searching the Web to discover what happened to Storehouse, it appears that the platform shut down in 2016 because they couldn’t build a large enough user base. I remember at the time in 2014 thinking that if the Storehouse had translated their technology and created a WordPress app, even selling it for something like $20 (which would have been an outrageous price for an iOS app at the time), they probably could have easily garnered a huge client base for what they wanted to achieve but in a completely different context than they initially imagined.

In effect, they wanted to create their own medium, their own walled garden (similar to Medium at the time), yet many people weren’t interested in that. So if they had just pivoted at the time, using their existing technology in a different way than they originally imagined, they could have still been around today but in a different form. And interestingly enough, perhaps WordPress might have even bought the company and integrated their technology for their own WordPress iOS app sooner. Who knows? We’ll never know.

BTW it’s interesting to see that a competitor to Storehouse at the time in 2014 is still around. Exposure, created with the help of Derek Powazek (who also worked on HotWired, Blogger, & Technorati), looks like an extremely well integrated proprietary platform that simplifies the experience of web publishing for the end user, so they don’t have to go through the headaches of what you’d normally have to go through in setting up a WordPress site (i.e. themes, plugins, etc). Even their pricing seems very reasonable.


Understanding Yourself To Understand Others

How to evolve beyond our basic human fundamental needs and discover a whole new way of being.

The Problem With Wokeness by Ayishat Akanbi

Once you understand yourself, it’s very easy to understand everyone else. So easy because we’re actually not that different. We’re actually painfully quite ordinary. How our ordinariness and our trauma and our pain manifests is very different. But the root causes to why we act in the ways that we act often is insecurity. We want belonging. We want acceptance. Fundamental things to a human. If we are more understanding of at least ourselves, you know, it’s so hard to judge other people. 

Ayishat Akanbi, The Problem with Wokeness

BTW these basic “human fundamentals” she’s talking about mirror with what both Richard Barrett has been talking about for decades as The Values of Humanity and what Scott Barry Kaufman is now providing another perspective of (using a newer metaphor to help describe it to others, so they can relate to it more easily). What they’re talking about here are deficiency needs which were first revealed by Abraham Maslow. And if we can “rise above them“, we can finally have the opportunity to “open ourselves up” to our growth needs.

Maslow argued that all the needs can be grouped into two main classes of needs, which must be integrated for wholeness: deficiency and growth.

Deficiency needs, which Maslow referred to as “D-needs,” are motivated by a lack of satisfaction, whether it’s the lack of food, safety, affection, belonging, or self-esteem. The “D-realm” of existence colors all of our perceptions and distorts reality, making demands on a person’s whole being: “Feed me! Love me! Respect me!” The greater the deficiency of these needs, the more we distort reality to fit our expectations and treat others in accordance with their usefulness in helping us satisfy our most deficient needs. In the D-realm, we are also more likely to use a variety of defense mechanisms to protect ourselves from the pain of having such deficiency in our lives. Our defenses are quite “wise” in the sense that they can help us to avoid unbearable pain that can feel like too much to bear at the moment.

Nevertheless, Maslow argued that the growth needs—such as self-actualization and transcendence—have a very different sort of wisdom associated with them. Distinguishing between “defensive-wisdom” and “growth-wisdom,” Maslow argued that the Being-Realm of existence (or B-realm, for short) is like replacing a clouded lens with a clear one. Instead of being driven by fears, anxieties, suspicions, and the constant need to make demands on reality, one is more accepting and loving of oneself and others. Seeing reality more clearly, growth-wisdom is more about “What choices will lead me to greater integration and wholeness?” rather than “How can I defend myself so that I can feel safe and secure?”

Scott Barry Kaufman, Transcend: The New Science of Self-Actualization

Seeing Your Own Worth

Demanding other people to see your worth is the first clue that you don’t.

Ayishat Akanbi

This is so where I am at right now. I’ve actually journaled about this very thing earlier this week.

In effect, I think and believe that I will be at “home” with myself when I finally convince other people of my worth, helping them to see it. But I won’t. I will only be at “home” with myself when I see my own worth first.

Once you reach that state, when you are truly and fully at “home” with yourself, accepting yourself as you are in the present moment (rather who you wish you could be in the future), that’s when you no longer require others to see your worth because it no longer matters. You can finally just be who you uniquely are.

Also, it may sound weird that I know this, yet I can’t seem to achieve it. That’s the thing though that a lot of people can’t seem to grasp about what it takes to truly transform yourself. Knowing something isn’t enough. You truly have to live it, experience it, and feel it to fully understand it and grasp it. Thinking about it isn’t enough.


Stepping Out of Our Way

You have to let the idea of yourself get out of the way of yourself.

Ayishat Akanbi

Ayishat Akanbi

Ayishat Akanbi is probably the first hypersane person I’ve ever come across, recommended by Scott Barry Kaufman to follow. Her sense of self-awareness is so broad that she can articulate complex things quite simply. Yet what she’s saying will be very hard for people to swallow because it requires taking an emotional and mental U-turn on what we believe, so that we can build upon and live what we say we truly value. To do this, one really needs to go beyond one’s sense of self, letting it disintegrate, so that a newer larger sense of Self can reintegrate and be born. Painful, yes…but with a beautiful truth.

I don’t see a lot as exceedingly complex. Many things are fairly simple, but the trouble is that simple isn’t easy.

Ayishat Akanbi

People are in for a rude and crushing awakening when they realise the problems of this world are not the sole cause of one group.

Ayishat Akanbi

You have to let the idea of yourself get out of the way of yourself.

Ayishat Akanbi

Intelligence is not only theory, academia, and big words. It is painful, gruelling and temporarily obliterating self-reflection.

Ayishat Akanbi

If you think black, and brown people don’t feel silenced, alienated, and threatened by the mainstream narrative that turns our everyday interactions into a game of power, you might be unaware of the variety of thought that exists in people who look just like you.

Ayishat Akanbi

Moving Beyond “Normal” Alienation

We should revel in the discomfort of the current moment to generate a ‘new paradigm’, not a ‘new normal’. Feeling unsettled, destabilized and alone can help us empathize with individuals who have faced systematic exclusions long-ignored by society even before the rise of COVID-19 — thus stimulating urgent action to improve their condition. For these communities, things have never been ‘normal’.

Chime Asonye, There’s nothing new about the ‘new normal’. Here’s why


The Inhumanity of Creeping Normality

The phrase, “new normal,” erroneously implies that the pre-Covid world was normal when, in fact, it was profoundly disbalanced, destructive, and devastating for many. We had normalized an unnatural and aberrant world order where 26 individuals across the globe owned more wealth than the bottom 50%, where it was ok to acidify oceans, clear-cut forests, mine the mountains, and exterminate life as long as the GDP grew. None of this can be defined as normal by any stretch of the imagination.

Sahana Chattopadhyay, “Befriending Uncertainty” in a Post-Covid World