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If we wish to change the person we find ourselves to be, we must change our thinking.
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February 10th, 2019
There came a time when Lucilius in a rare bout of introspection decided that he was too ostentatious and needed to make some changes.
He quit all of his projects, handing them over to business partners and people of capability, and then gave all his wealth to charity. Afterwards he applied for ten credit cards and received them all. Then he maxed out every credit card buying food and clothing, warm accommodations and even educational programs for homeless people whom he interviewed in order to get a better idea of how such funds might be allocated.
When Lucilius had dug a financial hole about as deep as he could manage, he got a job cleaning at a movie theatre.
Despite his reluctance with promotion, the continual exit of his superiors created a vacuum that he was forced into by people who were even higher on the hierarchy.
The job was vapid and boring. It took Lucilius years to notice how this aspect of the job was changing his mentality. The stress of debt combined with an absolute scarcity of time to do anything about it compounded to create a particularly toxic cocktail of brain chemistry. In later years Lucilius would reflect on this nearly invisible phenomenon and marvel at the symmetry between a mindset of poverty and one of success. They were the same shape, just pointed in different directions. But at the time Lucilius was neurologically incapable of such a realization, nor any realization about how to effectively get out of it.
As chance would have it, meditation as a practice was coming into vogue and it seemed to be broadcast everywhere, from magazine covers to the chatter of people in lines at the movie theatre.
Having almost no money to do anything exciting, Lucilius decided to give the cheap activity a try. For several years he bounced between different traditions and techniques. This slowly sharpened his focus and when he was several months into an exploration of a basic mindfulness approach, something seemed to change in Lucilius’ brain and mind. He started to interact with his own emotions differently, almost as though he were holding them like a curious child. As though freed from some kind of bondage, his mind began to explore creative ideas almost spontaneously.
Each day at his job he started to tinker with the idea of the whole boxed situation being a kind of videogame, each day with a fresh input of people.
Lucilius was smiling at this idea of the video game one day while he was arranging the belt stanchions that are used to line people in order before a movie when an idea struck him.
He looked around at the wide space and chuckled. There was a huge blockbuster that was coming out in a couple days and Lucilius knew what he had to do.
After work he went out and bought a remote camera, and the next day he had this camera attached to the ceiling right in the middle of the largest part of the movie theatre complex. The camera was facing straight down at the floor, giving a bird’s eye view of the whole room.
On the day of the blockbuster’s release, Lucilius got to work extra early and took every last stanchion out of storage. Then he got to work:
He spent the entire day building a maze with the stanchions, ensuring that many of the internal branches were winding and lead to dead ends. He created only one entrance and one exit and roughly calculated that the size of the maze far exceeded what was needed for the number of people who were coming.
And just before the doors of the movie theatre opened, he turned on the camera and hit record.
People began filtering in and those with reserved tickets began making their way into the maze of stanchions. The first couple found themselves confused at a turn, then looking around, they saw how much of an ordered mess they were in. The couple laughed and had fun with it.
And then more people with reserved tickets began filtering in and the maze began to fill up.
Several days later, Lucilius created a Youtube channel, activated ads on his channel and then posted the video.
The footage went viral. The money generated from ad clicks allowed Lucilius to pay off all of his credit card debt, and with the extra he had left over, he bought some time off in order to explore a new creative endeavor.
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