OCD, variety, going meta on innovation

I just took a brain health assessment from AmenClinics.com, and I scored brain type 2. There’re 16 types. The qualities that accompany my brain type sound like what people attribute to OCD, like hyper attention to detail, but only to the few things that really interest me – all else remains a struggle to even notice. The assessment didn’t exactly say that, but that’s roughly it.

I write a lot of notes, and I used Google Drive to capture my notes. I have these written exercises saved, inspired by books I’ve read, and published to the walls of my home, with notes on my wall calendars to review and rework those key documents every now and then.

And so, I’m a bit OCD about personal development and where I spend my focus. It’s hard enough for me to focus in the first place, and probably the reason I majored in philosophy years ago was because everything interested me.


I got caught up in some clickbait yesterday, and watched this YT video on bizarre or mind boggling places. One bit of the video mentioned Taal Lake in the Philippines, which represents a lake, inside a lake, inside another lake. On Google Maps, I don’t see the third outer lake, unless by lake the video meant the Pacific Ocean.

But anyway, the idea stuck with me because of my fascination with meta and because Taal Lake sits about 40 mi south of Manila, where I was born. If I’ve been there, I was too young to remember.

Philosophy for me represents the search for systems of systems of systems.

One of my professors referred to all other disciplines as second tier. In a physics class, one doesn’t ask, “But is the ultimate nature of reality physical?” In an economics class, one doesn’t ask, “Am I rational? Whether I am or not, should I be rational? Why?” All other disciplines make an underlying presumption about the world, and then build from there.

In philosophy, one questions everything. That therefore makes it the only first tier discipline.


Everytime I listen to a video of Tony Robbins, Simon Sinek, Daniel Kahneman, Chris Voss, Mel Robbins, Brene Brown, Daniel Goleman… – I like listening to the authors of books I read – I notice that these authors hammer on what they believe make up the fundamentals of their respective disciplines.

They hammer the fundamentals. To outsiders, it sounds like repetition, repetition, repetition.

With Malcolm Gladwell, just about every time I’ve clicked on a different talk from him, it’s a different talk altogether.

I’m not calling either approach good or bad. Just different. And interesting.


In my job, and especially as an Army officer, O-grade, there’s no getting really good at one thing.

A friend of mine, a Marine officer, labeled it, “Knowledge a mile wide, inch deep.” She said it was the same as a Marine officer.

A lieutenant colonel in the Army I knew said about it, “Well, maybe that’s why our career path leads to General. Because we’re generalists, not specialists.”

I hear that this isn’t the case in the Navy or Air Force, and obviously not the case with military doctors or lawyers. These officers do specialize. There also exist, quite ironically, other Army O-grade officers who do specialize, called functional area officers.

I’ve been put in charge of a lot different tasks over the years. This year, 2019, makes year 18 for me. And when those tasks involved leading a team, I’ve never been the technical expert. Not once.

I find it very dissatisfying. I want to be good at something.

Quite honestly, I can’t honestly say I’m good at any particular, observable military skill.

I’m physically fit. I shoot well. I can take care of myself in the field. I frequently receive compliments about my written work products in the office.

As for the technical details of auto repair, PC repair, weapons repair or any particular hands-on task… I have no idea. To this day, I’ve never fired a M2 .50 cal, I’ve never used a ratchet strap, I have two sling load qualifications but have never performed an actual sling load, I still don’t know the different types of gray-tail cargo planes…

Anytime the task comes up, I learn the job on the spot, and learn just enough to do the job. My roles don’t require (sometimes don’t allow) me to get to the next level.


One would imagine that the military would be all about next-leveling. Not in my experience. At least, not given the path I took – I’m not special operating forces or anything sexy like that.

I walk around and talk to people. I sit in an office. I write reports. I make phone calls.

No, no next-leveling for me. Just next. My roles have preferred breadth over depth, when it comes to knowledge.

In fact, the attitude I get is that by getting good at anything, I’m doing a disservice to the next officer by selfishly pursuing my personal/professional development, all while he’s selflessly being so busy picking up after selfish people like me.


I think I can hammer the fundamentals and crank out variety. How? By going meta. A system of systems for innovation.