Be a COPPER

Day 35 Week 5 Q1  Saturday, February 4, 2023

Calibrate Organize Practice Publish Engage Review is perhaps a crazy way to start the day, but let me explain. In general, as a long-haired counter-culture hippie growing up in New York City, I tried to stay away from not only the police but all authority figures. It was the sixties, and we revolutionary artist types thought the world was a mess. Mean boys had to wear ties to school, and girls could not wear pants. It was a different time. 

But now, as a volunteer fireman, which technically means I report to homeland security, emergency responders no longer seem like the enemy. I mean, I am one of them.  And it is more difficult to take issue with authority because I have been one of them for a long time.

As a creative outlier, I decided I needed to police myself and become a COPPER. I do not want to police anyone else nor to be policed by anyone else, but a certain amount of self-management seemed to be in order, and with a too-full brain, I need to use acronyms to remember things.

Time to explain: Calibrate seems pretty self-evident. If I do not begin the day with some preparatory morning practice, the day does not go as smoothly.  It is like a pilot or a surgeon with their checklists. They do not fly or cut until they have checked off a few critical items. Different kinds of people need to do different things to get themselves ready in the morning, and I am referring to this as calibration because every day brings new circumstances. They do need to be adapted to and responded to. Therefore calibration is easy and self-explanatory.

Organize is similar but, for me, more concrete than calibration. The act of getting calibrated is a kind of going from unconscious to conscious and then conscious to rational. Because it is hard to get organized before I am rational. Again not much explanation is needed. But the PPER in COPPER needs a little more explanation. 

PP represents, for me, Practice and Publish.  As a performer and presenter, I find myself having to get up in front of people to deliver either a concert or a talk, sometimes even combined. In order to get my material out into the world, it has to be published, which in today’s world generally means being on the Web in WWW land. If you are creating any kind of content, it has to be published, meaning made available for others to interact with. Now I know that not all creative outliers are in the content business, or at least you may not think you are. Still, everyone must communicate at least some to let the world know what they offer. In general, you publish through social media advertising, writing papers or something. So publishing may not seem like anything everyone has to be concerned about, but from my perspective, most creative outliers have something to say and share, and that is publishing. 

In order to become proficient at publishing, performing or presenting, you need first to practice a lot. And here is where the prior P in the PP comes in. It stands for Practice. What you have to practice depends on what you want to publish. It varies tremendously, but it is still a necessary step.   

We have not yet arrived at being a COPPER, and the final ER is the least intuitive pair of the group of activities but is equally essential, which earned them a place in the acronym.

The E stands for Engage, and the R for Review. What do these mean? Well, if you ever want to get paid for anything you do, you will have to engage someone and deliver some value. But I think before you can engage others, you must first engage yourself; otherwise, you will be perceived as “phoning it in,” meaning everyone can tell you do not care about what you are doing. I mean, what is the point of practicing or publishing if you can not first engage yourself? I find I tend not to do too much, which does not emotionally engage me. There is a great deal competing for our time; if something is not emotionally relevant, we are simply not very likely to do it.

And this brings us to the final R, which stands for Review. What happens if you are calibrated, organized, practiced, published, and engaged? That was a lot of activity and a lot of processing, and a lot of preparation.  This is where REVIEW comes in. What does it all mean and did it work, and what has to change, remember, you and everyone else are a work in progress. How is it going? Most growth and learning come from the review, not figuring out how to do something. 

This is why I came up with a way to remember what I had to do daily: to police myself, I had to be a COPPER.