4 AM lie awake at night wanting to change the world syndrome

Every once in a while I wake up and just can’t go back to sleep. I’ve tried all sorts of teas, benadryl, valerian and other items, but I’m slowly learning to embrace it. This time I came up with an need to do something so I started organizing a discussion panel and screening of “Dirt” the movie to help promote durham.locallygrown.net (an online farmers’ market I discuss here.)

I’ve been neglecting this site for a few weeks now. Recently, when the 4AM Change the World (#CTW) munchies hit, I work on my business plan for Durham Locally Grown or other ideas. I’m also struggling to decide what I want Rethink.Ag to be.

Recently, I’ve been working on my thesis about Virginia pastureland soil organic matter in the Ford Business Library at Duke’s Fuqua School of Business. Titles on the books include things like “Emotional Intelligence 2.0,” “The Psychopath Test” (by Jon Ronson, author of “Them” which I really liked) and various books with titles like “Building brand YOU!”

This last group of books is particularly interesting as I try to wrap up my master’s degree in one of the worst job markets since the Great Depression.

A few months ago I saw a long guest lecture in Michael Pollan’s online food lecture series at Berkeley:

Guest lecturer, Peter Sellars gave one of the best 10 minute talks which includes great lines like “anything that you can be paid for does not need to be done.” I quickly sent this out to my students from the UGA Summer Course in Organic Agriculture that I TA’ed last summer hoping to inspire them as some of them graduate this Spring into another round of lackluster job figures. The problem with that 20 minute motivational pep talk was that it went on for another 50 minutes…(If any of my students read this…sorry if you stuck it out through that boring hour-long video! To me, the first 20 minutes(ish) were worth it!)

Anyhow, so here I am trying to figure out a way to make a living in a landscape where it’s hard to get paid for things that need to be done. (I mean, really, Teachers, Farmers, General Practice Doctors, Builders and anyone else we truly depend on can barely make a living. What’s up with that?) So here I am at 4AM developing concepts and business ideas that blur that line of “things I can get paid for” and “needs to be done.”

So one of my questions is, how much of the old-school business rule book applies? Do I need to build a brand for myself? Recently I had a discussion in a bar with some super cool Hiphop vocalists in the group Tripknight discussing the durham.locallygrown.net idea. Along the way, I asked Adisa for his opinion on things like “how much does ‘brand’ matter?” and “What the hell is a brand?”

I quickly developed the sense that I have been spending too much time in the business library. Even thinking about a “brand” is probably a distraction that I don’t need. What’s more important is just my sense of “self” and sticking to my values. (With that in mind, I added a post about values to get started.)

That’s all for this bleary-eyed 4AM #CTW post.


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