One thing I’ve noticed in a lot of hobbyist forums is that they hardly ever talk about what’s wrong with the hobby, they only talk about what’s right. Nobody talks about what should be improved and if you bring anything up, you either get a lukewarm response that fades quickly, or you get angry people telling you to shut up and accentuate the positive. This is certainly not universal, but it seems like there are quite a few places where people act like if they don’t talk about the negative, it’ll just disappear. Unfortunately, that rarely ever happens.
Now maybe it’s just me, but I’ve always been one to rationally evaluate both sides. I look at the good and I look at the bad. True, a lot of the things I talk about here on the blog are generally negative, mostly because they are concepts that have few, if any positives associated with them, but still, I try to look for the best and the worst and find ways to accentuate the good and eliminate the bad. After all, it’s very difficult to fix a problem if you’re not willing to talk about it and propose solutions, right?
Of course, that’s something that comes naturally to me. I’m a natural problem solver. It’s how I make my living. I go into a situation, I see what’s going right, I see what’s going wrong and I enhance one and fix the other. It comes so naturally to me because I do it day-in and day-out, it doesn’t even occur to me not to do it with everything. I want things to run smoothly, I want them to work without a hiccup. I work towards maximum efficiency and minimum entropy. If there’s a better, faster, easier and more efficient way of doing something, I’ll find it, implement it and benefit from it. That’s my real strength and I find it essential to virtually everything I do.
So why do people get so upset when I do it, especially with regard to hobbies and other geeky interests? I guess because people allow their emotions to get in the way, they have a particular feeling toward their hobbies, they want to think that everything is great and nothing is ever going to change. Unfortunately, this leads to people remaining attached to things long after they should have realized it’s gone to shit. They’d rather stuff their fingers in their ears, clench their eyes shut and yell “Everything is fine! Everything is fine!” even when they know it isn’t.
I guess that puts me in a rather unique position, I don’t react wholly emotionally to things, I think about things rationally all the time, I constantly look to improve the bad and accentuate the good and since the bad tends to be more damaging, I admit I tend to focus on that. I look at the modern comic book market and wonder how they could improve sales. I examine stamp collecting and try to figure out why things aren’t working very well. I turn over the action figure situation in my head and work out the failures that they’re having. Even if I don’t have the power to change any of these things myself, having solutions, even if they’re never used, at least helps me feel better about the reality of the thing. Of course, I do put those ideas out there for others to think about as well and if there are enough people thinking about the solution, maybe we can come up with a solution that actually makes a difference.
Isn’t that what we should all want, to make a difference in the world?