Coping: Hats as a “Secret Energy Source”

Want one of those “inside secrets” to tap into almost unlimited personal power and energy?

It’s your HAT.

I kid you not:  What you place on your head is a powerful metaphor for what you are working to accomplish. 

It’s part taw, part talisman, part symbology, part advertisement.  It defines your membership in a tribe, holds-forth a skill and invites comment. This means there more than a half-dozen ways to “draw psychical power” from a simple hat or cap.

Two simple ways of looking at this:

First Comes Belief

People can do anything.  Thing is, they oftentimes don’t believe in themselves and this leads (no passing Go) to failure.

Ever wonder why?

The most common causes of failure are lack of knowledge and lack of self-confidence.  ISYN.

Let’s say something on your car breaks.  You have two choices.  You can starting dishing out the “long-green” to someone with a mechanic’s cap on, OR you can get the cap, watch a YouTube video or three, pick up some tools and parts and fix it yourself.

Quickly, you see the Mechanics Cap as a taw (game-piece) that says “I am being/channeling Mechanic right now.”  It let’s your personality bifurcate (split).

Suddenly not only are you The Boss – and who doesn’t like to be in charge, right?  But,, more importantly you are the Chief Mechanic…able to work magic.

Second Comes Interaction

When I went into a strange airport back when we were flying our old Beechcraft, a funny thing would happen:  If I wore my Beechcraft hat, other people – in the flying game – would give me a knowing nod and, often as not, strike up a conversation.  “Which one’s yours?”   “The red and white one – 7912-Lima…checkerboard nose paint…”

By the same token, walk into a Porsche Parts place wearing a PCA (*Porsche Club of America) hat, and suddenly you have creds.  Not some “lookie-lew”  who doesn’t belong.  Go in with a generic sports cap looking grubby and you won’t “look the Porsche owner type,” sorry.

Hats help overcome shyness, too.  How?

When you mentally split yourself into a Boss and a Worker, the “worker-bee” wearing the hat can say and do many things. Workers – as we all know – are unpredictable. If there’s negative feedback or disapproval, no sweat off the Boss’s brow.  “Just one of my Tourette’s or something.

“Come On – Can’t Be That Simple!”

Sure as hell IS!

George “Pappy” Ure (Notice the hat!)

I should explain that Pappy gave me part of this idea when he and uncle Bernie were working on our old 1959 Ford, putting in a clutch, years ago.

Pappy had forgotten his “mechanics” hat. It was a quilted, gray, brimless cap, and greasy, too.  Since he’d forgotten his talisman cap, when things didn’t go right under the car, getting the transmission to bolt up, as I recall, Pappy swore it was his missing cap.

You just can’t do a job right without the proper hat,” he complained.  Never forgot that.

His hat collection reflected his “many-skilled personalities” too.  Besides the mechanics hat, there was a white cotton button-down flat cap (longshore-type) that was used for masonry work (brick-laying), carpentry, and moving heavy things. It was his outdoor skilled worker magic.  Lawn-mowing was low skill, so just a ball cap for that – sports caps.  Still in vogue among landscrapers, lol.  Insufficient specialization for its own hat.

Pappy had metal and red fiberglass helmets for heavy construction kinds of work and to grab if he got called out on a big fire during the Off-Shift.  (One off-shift fire was the Seattle Cedar Mill Fire back in ’58.).  Of course there was the fireman’s Captain’s helmet at “the station” with the long overhang on the back to keep burning cinders from going down his back during in a working house fire, and such.  Oh, yes, hats mean a LOT.

Don’t even DARE to pick up a paintbrush without a proper painter’s cap, either.  For $15-bucks you can get a Bulk Buy: Darice DIY Crafts Painter’s Cap Cotton White One Size Fits All (6-Pack). Coming up on 70 years, this next batch might turn into a “lifetime supply” lol.

Let me think back.  Yes…there were other persona hats Pappy wore for specific things:  There was a Salt Water fishing hat, a trolling hat.  then a fresh water O(single-egging hat) and fly-fishing hat. Had a straw hat for retiring part-time to Baja and a few years in Hilo.  Fedora types when he was with the Seattle-King County Health Department as Market Master at the Pike Place Market.  Fit right in…

I sometimes think one of the reasons young people today are so stupid and lazy appearing to older people is that they don’t understand using hats to display “depth of personality.”

I don’t generally wear hats – at least so’s other people can see.  But, I’ve got them on – in my head.

You can thank broadcasting for that.  I’ve worked with lots of DJ’s who did funny “voice characters” and that provided a dandy excuse to “make up” false personas.  Somehow, that’s when the tapping into energy worked out.  Make up anyone you like and associate it with a hat.

I shoot better out on the range (100 meters) when I wear my Remington cap. The tractor runs smoother with my one of my Kubota caps on – orange for fall, khaki in the spring.

Everyone likes to be the Boss.  No one likes to be The Worker, though.  By putting on a hat, you can “become two persons” – One is the boss and that one can “ride herd” on whoever the Worker is.  The Worker (as symbolized by the hat of the moment) is the consummate professional of whatever trade, skill, or craft and knows far more than “The Boss.”

In your “Boss Brain” you have scores of different “specialists” at your beck and call.  All work part time, hours as assigned by The Boss.

If you’re not happy with how your life is going, it’s a simple matter to iron out with The Boss.  “Boss, we need more of this and less of that…”

This kind of “split personality” (stopping well short of multiple-personality disorder, however)  enables incredible levels of productivity.  The Boss mind screams “Get it done NOW!”  The Worker with the hat on shoots back “You want a good job, though, right?”

Sounds a bit schizophrenic, sure, but it makes it hard to sit still, for long. Every few minutes, seems like, one of those “part time Worker” personas wants to put on a hat.  Even when the Boss would just like to get in a snooze.

Pretty quickly, you’ll find it nearly impossible to relax.  The Boss wants everything done, too.  There are dozens of part time workers demanding time on task. The painter, the plumber, the lawn boy, the accountant…geez it never ends.

It gives a tremendous ongoing sense of accomplishment at the end of the day having managed all these aspects of personality and done so in a relaxed  way with gobs of output and results.

Such a simple “secret,” huh?  Never forget  “Success is a head game.”

You ever notice a picture of Matt Drudge?  I have a Fedora like that on sometimes when I’m writing…If not literally, then in my “mind’s eye” ever since I was a beat reporter at the cop shop in 1970s Seattle.

I can ask Elaine “Which hat do you have on?” 

She knows when she drops by my office and sees me wearing the 1915 Danish Army replica helmet a friend gave me, that I’m working on either writing about war as it relates to the economy.  Or wondering how Denmark would have handled a Mexico-like caravan…

Just remember this:  If you’re wearing the same hat all day long, you haven’t got the Boss mindset rolling.

The BOSS says “get the resources, get the job done, and move on to the next project.” 

The WORKER (wearing the hat) will piss-away years or, as my friend Gaye calls it “…It’s wasting time making the round hole rounder…”

Change hats many times a day.  See happiness and energy rise.

The trick to high-performance is to employ lots of “day-use” characters – and give them all hats as props.

I just ordered a few hats to  remind myself to schedule more time on certain aspects of my life.  A “long-shore” white cotton news-boy type hat, a new Fedora, and a green eye-shade (accounting) visor.

For Elaine?  A new French beret for her painting.

Still on my list?  Amazon’s got a ton of landscaper hats and I need to get another welders cap so I don’t light my hair on fire so often when banging and cutting metal.

I don’t know who the Boss is for my cutting and welding projects, but I plan to have a drink with him this afternoon and get a few things off my chest. My “solar panel” up top really needs covering, lately.  Fire retardant hairspray isn’t widely available for delusion seniors, but both surviving hairs would like that..

Write when you get rich,

17 thoughts on “Coping: Hats as a “Secret Energy Source””

  1. LOL! Just waking up and groggily reading your column with a cup of coffee. It just hit me. A few minutes ago I was waking up from a dream of a group of guys buying new hats for the location they were in! A little synchromystic entanglement this morning.

  2. Yup, fashion matters. Please, rent and watch “The Devil Wears Prada” The speech delivered by Meryl Streep is a classic.

  3. This time of year it’s the blaze orange ball cap when out and about on the ranch checking on the girls and Gus since the chance of a broad head and later on a high power rifle bullet finding it’s way to me. NO WHITE HATS or anything else for that matter!!!!!!!!!!


  4. George, you got it. It plays in subtle ways that you just helped me see.

    I’m a big dude, some say giant, but at 6’4″ and 270, whether that’s giant or not I get noticed.

    When I walk into a place of business, or go around working people, I get called “boss”. I don’t know why. I act like it? They want a tip? They want to help me. I carry myself in such a way I always thought…

    But now I know it’s my bald head, and my beard. The more hair I lose up top, and put on my chin, the more I get called boss. Jefe. Chief. My hat is my skull, smooth and shiny, letting everyone know I am the brain behind this operation. It comes down to attitude driven by self awareness and image. Throw in posture, and the “hat” sells itself.

    I remember all the Mason pictures of my dad, fedora so sharp. Thanks George.

  5. “It’s your HAT.”

    dam and here I had the hat for the job all along… LOL I have worn so many hats I can’t even tell you all the places I have worked part time and day labor..I will tell you that if you were to go and ask any of the people that I have set my mind to that I was the best worker they had and I am asked to go back often.. I could read a book or five and figure it out but experience is the best teacher.. never argue with a guy that works on the line.. no matter what the books say he has the inside scoop on it all follow his hat is it new crisp or a greasy mechanics hat.. it was always a good joke among the workers on the line when a fresh out of the crib engineer would come in with the next best plan for increased production.. of course everyone would say great idea your sure smart and go with it for a while till the kid learned they already have been there done that.. and went back to letting them wear their hat..
    Or could it be a brief case as a cap..
    One of my siblings was while he was working a very successful man.. retired at forty I believe and now tinkers with his rare car collection and does some consulting work once in a while but his life is expected an average path.. ( I always loved the story of his when he was flying around with a friend of his BILL from up washington way.. they got into a discussion about how it must be nice to be so successful and not have any of the stresses.. of course he said bill said you only wished.. because I didn’t have any money I gave stocks to get people to work when I first got started.. Now I have secretaries worth multiple millions telling me what I should do.. LOL LOL LOL cute story..anyway I digressed.I will digress one more time.. he lived in an exclusive gated community and anyway back in the recession of the eighties one of his neighbors was downsized.. LOL LOL so he said one day he asked the neighbor what he was going to do.. well become a printer.. yup open up a small print shop and print business materials..LOL LOL LOL the funny thing is he did.. got a loan a copy machine a desk and then he got a copy of the most successful companies in the usa.. and would send them each a statement for a couple of bucks.. the thought hmm.. not enough that anyone would question just get torked off and pay the dang bill of six dollars and change the companies would go back to the ordering desk and rang on someones tail for ordering something from a company outside the norm.. he said the guy was getting money hand over fist till got greedy and got caught LOL LOL LOL.. one day my sibling and I were talking he had just taken a job in the city.. ( stupid would fly back and forth to work every day) and he said it was his brief case.. he would go to work didn’t know the job yet put his good suit on and his brief case with nothing more than a peanut butter sandwich in it till he could get the job figured out.. the look of success.. he would send me his hand made suits and his hand made shoes.. ( most uncomfortable things you ever wore.I used the seven hundred dollar loafers for painting.. not sure why he would even waste money on them) one day I was looking in the closet and seeing all the beautiful suits.. and the gorgeous pocket squares.. and said.. hmm.. when have you ever seen me in a suit.. yup never.. sure an heck won’t willingly going to put a noose over my neck ( tie)

    I sometimes wonder if I should have… dressed up fancy put the noose on and carried a brief case.. I feel pretty confident that there aren’t very many things that I haven’t read up on and could probably step right into and after a couple weeks succeed at it.(I sure have enough people asking my my personal opinions on how I would handle different things that I have contemplated.. the ones that know me the most tell me to think about it a while because my first out of the box thought is not going to be the best one.. I have to assemble it and disassemble it in my mind a while)Then the thought.. why would I even consider that.. I have a wonderful wife that has accepted my moments of eccentricity my opinions.. I wouldn’t have ever worked at or done as many things as I have.. met the wonderful people from literally every walk of life. I would have been stuck in the rut walking the same path day in day out.. the same stale meal at lunch the same conversations every day about the same things.. everything would have been a cookie cutter life where even though I worked at the bottom and had to struggle to even put food on the table I had the freedom to learn expand to challenge my life by learning new things.. really how many in this group have had to flesh road kill.. or steam clean a blood tank.( nasty I’ll tell you that much) . Maybe it was just that I didn’t care to..I love the idea of learning new things and experimenting.. The What if I can read learn live and no expectations.. Like my sibling everyone expects him to do the same thing over and over day after day. Sure he has the financial end of it but his life is pretty mundane .
    the hat and the briefcase and suit the cookie cutter life always having to walk the same path.. the looks of confidence and knoweledge..of authority and success… the image..painters cap .. you must be a painter..People look at me and they think like the professor that pulled me aside before a challenge test to tell me that he wasn’t as confident as I was that I would succeed. It was my hat I was wearing.. the old man ugly hat walking along the path of life.. who would know that I probably have read a couple books along the way.

      • A name that is cool.. He sounds like someone I’d love to visit with. I am anal about water to..but instead of dousing I filter then structure..water goes through an ozone generator uv light exposure then into the ro system as it leaves it passes through a magnetic field and stone cylinder filled with quartz..( I use rose quartz its suppose to promote peace and tranquillity) I know the quartz and magnetic field more than likely have very small affect on the water but..there’s never any drama in our home no arguments or heated discussions either no harsh language or yelling. Even when I debate a subject.
        My mom was big on the rose quartz treatment and.. Our home then was drama free as well..
        Now does it affect moods..who knows..
        The ancients believed in dousing and crystal powers.. I am not sure if now the crystals are just symbolic like the diamond wearing bands..our quartz crystal ball is only a centerpiece for a days gone by they were believed to be the psychic windows of the mind . I do know when I gaze into it all I see is the rock imperfections and the lights reflection..nothing
        odd or mystical there ..

  6. Interesting take on hats. Every time I visit North Beach in San Francisco, I feel compelled to go to Goorin Bros. Hat store (There’s one on 1st St, near Pike Place in Seattle too.)and end up buying a hat I never wear. I have every intention of wearing it…but never find the right occasion. Now…thanks to you…they will be stored in my office and become my time blocking hats. A different hat to help me focus on a different task. Mixing it up for productivity…and it puts the term…”I have my thinking cap on” into a whole new perspective. Brilliant!

  7. I was just thinking about how our society has changed so drastically since the 40’s, and if you look at images from back then you’ll notice everyone wore hats. Yes, fashions change. But…if you consider how whack-a-doodle people have become since those days, maybe it has something to do with blocking UV, Cosmic rays, or something unknown, from our brains.

  8. hats
    weekdays I spend up to 12 hours in a motorcycle helmet,
    if not in helmet a leather hat with 3 inch brim keeps the weather off and doubles as speedometer when train driving, if it blows off I’m going too fast…….

  9. I will always miss the Fedoras of the 20s through maybe the 60s. Aside from the classic Western Stetson, which I have but never wear, they have to be the quintessential “Man’s hat” but, heck, women look good in anything. Today there are no hat racks in restaurants any more, even in West Texas, and I don’t like wearing my hat inside. I was taught better than that. Give me the old “gimme” caps with a decent brim to block the Sun from my glasses and just a hint of a curve and I’m good.

  10. My father was in the FBI in the 40s during J Edgar’s reign. If you were caught outside of your residence without your grey fedora on your head, you were subject to a fine. No exceptions! He wore a grey fedora to work every day of his life.

  11. If only – I could get a pimp hat that didn’t look gay! One that was functional and immediately gave that coveted skill. Then again, most times dreams don’t come true.

    I always wear a wide brimmed hat outside if it’s sunny to keep the direct sun off my head and neck. A welding helmet is necessary, of course, when welding. A motorcycle helmet is a good idea, but not required here. When in public, I generally wear a hat only if it blends really well with the environment. I’d consider a MAGA hat at the university, but that would probably get me banned from the grounds or brought up on title 9 charges.

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