Updated September 20, 2018

I used to say that I was a nerd. I took a perverse pleasure in it. Owning something that was despised, yet somehow elevated me above most everyone I knew. I was young. Young is generally spelled h-u-b-r-i-s. Forgive me. Also that was before I joined the infantry. The military tends to beat humility into you.

I'm not so sure I'm a nerd anymore, but I still have nerd characteristics. So like all weightlifting gym rats with inner nerds, that Wachowski movie fascinated me. You know the one. I won't bore you with a pretentious dissertation on the movie's philosophical underpinnings and social implications… actually I totally will, just not here, not today.

What I will do is remind you about that awesome scene where Neo (the male lead) is on the run from the “forces of evil” and takes refuge in a place the forces of evil somehow can't find or access. This happens a lot in movies. We're on familiar ground here.

Neo is talking to a kid who is ... apparently the next incarnation of the Dalai Lama? I’m not sure, but definitely a prodigy of spirituality destined for leadership.

The kid is bending a spoon with his mind. Neo asks, curious, "How do you do that?"

Who wouldn't want spoon-bending, psychokinetic powers right? I know if I were ever offered my choice of super powers that’s A-1, number-1. I would like the power to bend spoons with my mind please. It’s every kid’s dream.

The actual kid's answer is awesome, for a number of scientific, and philosophic reasons—better, it's unexpected.

“Try to remember there is no spoon,” the kid says. Because bending a spoon with your mind is impossible.

How does this apply to freelancing?

Most things aren't solely what you think they are. They don't have as many fixed characteristics as you impose on them. The limitations you see, are the limitations you imagine and project. Those limitations aren't actually there.

Cruise ships and airplanes are made of metal. A cruise ship weighs somewhere on the order of 60,000 cars.

Jet engines are made from a proliferation of metals—aluminum, platinum, titanium. Platinum is denser than lead.

When was the last time you took hold of some metal, threw it up into the air, and the metal flew, or it fell in a lake and floated?

There is no spoon. Trust me.

Don't look at what things are. Look, instead, at what things can be. Whenever you recognize an opportunity, don't be too quick to say that you can't make use of that opportunity because you think you lack something. You really don't lack things. Only remember that there is no spoon. You don't lack anything at all. You may not have it right now, you may not see it, but you don't lack it.

Retool something, re-purpose something you already have. Get up at 9 instead of at 6. Work a few more hours, work a few less hours. Give the opportunity you think you can’t use to a friend who can use it, and make 2 dollars an hour extra instead of the 17 dollars an hour the opportunity is paying. Or give it to your friend and make nothing except goodwill. Goodwill is worth a lot. Ask Warren Buffett. Buffett’s 89.6 billion dollar fortune is, in large part, attributable to goodwill.

People laughed at Coca Cola because it has one of the largest advertising budgets of any company on Earth. There are Coca Cola Hello Kitty figurines. There are Coca Cola toilets. I shit you not. (I really love puns).

Do you know what the most recognized word in the English language is?

It's “Hi”.

The second most recognized word is “Coca Cola”. I shit you not.

I wonder what the value of that is.

I'm willing to bet that it dwarfs all the money Coca-Cola has ever spent on branding and advertising.

There are very few limitations, and you are not one of them.

There are very few boundaries and lots of raw materials.

There is no spoon.