# Solve for X! Xplained.

Dear Future Mike, (my next post after this one began):

Your last post was profoundly satisfying to the person who you were during the time you were writing it. It’s also satisfying to who you are at this moment.

I hope you continue to find it as helpful as your Past Selves did.

In case you don’t remember, a series of drafts began with words like “Solving for X” or “Solve for X.”

That post was the first draft that you completed. That was when you began to see what “Solve for X” (and eventually “Solve for X!” could mean to you.

If you get stuck again, take my advice: Solve for X!

Again.

Best Regards,

APS (A Past Self)

## Solve for X! is a trick

Solve for X! is a trick. Today it’s a good trick. Tomorrow it may not work as well. Or at all.

Likey, one day, Solve for X! will become useless. Every other trick I’ve come up with has eventually stopped working, so why not that one?

But right now, it works. So, until it fails, I’ll keep Solving for X!

Then I’ll do something else. And later, perhaps, I’ll discover this post or this one and give it another try.

## A theory: why Solve for X! works for me

In many past moments, it was a fact that I had a goal. It was a fact that I was doing nothing to progress toward the goal.

In those past moments, based on those facts, I repeatedly drew several conclusions. I concluded that I didn’t know why I was doing nothing; my behavior made no sense.

Each conclusion was an ending. And each carried with it the same hidden assumption: “I don’t know the answer.” And more: “I should know the answer.” And more: “There’s something wrong with me.”

But along comes a different assumption. I could define X and solve for it. As I worked with it, the idea of solving for X became Solve for X! It was a kind of rallying cry.

Ideas are alive. They come to me when I invite them—and sometimes they come on their own.

Solve for X! is an idea, and so is each X.

Some ideas are familiar, like old friends.

Some ideas are unusual.

Some are wild.

Some ideas contain new information, and new information can open new possibilities.

“Like me!” Says the idea, Solve for X!

“Like you!” I say, reflecting its enthusiasm.

Solve for X! creates new opportunities. So also can be the ideas, the X’s that are solved for.

“I’m what you needed to get this post written,” says an idea. It had appeared when I started to write this post and solved for X.

“Actually,” it corrected me, “that’s when you noticed me. I was here before that.”

“It was,” another idea agreed. “The universe conserves information. Like all information, knowledge, and ideas (which are, after all, just forms of information), that idea had always been and always will be. It’s been waiting for the time to make its presence known.

“Me, too,” it added.

“Now is my time!” Said the idea that I had first noticed. “Or was!”

I sat for a moment, thinking idly. I wasn’t completing the post. Then I realized what I needed to do. I solved for X!

“Excuse me,” I said to an idea that had distracted me, “I’d like to finish writing this and posting it, and you’re kind of in my way.”

“Oh, sorry,” said the distracting idea. “I had no idea that I was doing that.” It laughed. “No idea! You get it. I’m an idea and I had no idea!”

“I do,” I said. “And thank you. But…”

“I know,” said the idea, “I’m still in your way. No problem. I’ll just step aside.”

It did. And a few minutes later, I posted this.

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