Tuesday, October 9, 2012

How To Know If You're Wasting Time

The realization of my potential has always been more paralyzing than empowering. What should I do given the knowledge that I can do anything. Even more pressing, how will I know a given course of action is correct? Options are hopelessly infinite and time is depressingly finite.

I'm still at a loss for particular answers but I've arrived at a couple of general ones, that is reference points to consider when evaluating your life. I believe you're probably wasting much of your time if you're not at least partially satisfying these. But that could be complete bullshit, so don't take my word for it. Consider them as objectively as possible. Here we go bitches...you are wasting this life of you're not

1. Getting really fucking good at something or mastering a particular craft. It literally doesn't matter what it is. Could be career related, money generating, all-consuming effort or just a side passion. Writing, martial arts, lifting, drawing, singing, sculpting, speaking. Etc. As long as there's an inherent skill which requires a tremendous amount of time/ effort it qualifies.
The reasoning here is twofold. First success/ mastery involves a process which can be then applied to anything. From the aspect of daily discipline, to overcoming obstacles, to the sheer physical/psychological output required, becoming great at something is very difficult. If you do this once, you can do it again and again. The value here is beyond obvious. Second, I believe that mastery of something is absurdly rewarding in and of itself. In addition to the fruits of whatever skill you acquire, you've acquired something which cannot be bought and achieved on a level which cannot be taken away.

2. Aggressively and Incessantly trying new things and having novel experiences. Again the rule here is general rather than particular...the type of experience is secondary to the nature of experience. Placing yourself in new situations has immense practical relevance in both a short and long-term sense. In the short sense it's simply exciting to engage new ideas, people, food etc. on a regular basis. Variety is, as they say, the spice of life. In the long term sense, this appetite for new experience is a key to happiness. How could you possibly know what you're truly passionate about except by comparison to thousands of other things that you're not. Is it even realistic to expect to discover what you truly desire out of life except by the method of trial and error?
Finally I believe this is the best, perhaps only way of becoming comfortable with failure...you have to experience it over and over again to realize its not something to be feared, rather embraced. Your affinity for success in this world will be a direct relfection of your affinity for failure.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

A Recovering Cynic

Human animals are the only creatures capable of rationally interpreting objective reality and distilling thought into abstractions. It's the way we understand the world, progress, improve ourselves, and genuinely succeed in life...but can it also be a trap?

For years my efforts at change and improvement have been stifled by a rampant cynicism. I would stop trying or more often never start because I believed I was unlikely to succeed. Further I believed this was the rational perspective! People certainly fail and give up far more often than they persist and succeed. Also, guess what, I'm human. Therefore I'm almost certain to fail. Two premises, one conclusion, simple logic, irrefutable.

There was a problem though, it wasn't working for me....it seemed simultaneously true and false though I knew such a contradiction couldn't possibly exist in reality. Cynicism was clearly a flawed life strategy as it precluded the possibility of winning before the game began. Surely it was worth trying as the worst result was the one I was already conceding. But the idea of being cynical still appealed rationally, it seemed like the correct perspective.

So where did the confusion lie? The failure to make a distinction between the collective and the individual. The basis for my cynicism was compiled statistics and observations. In the aggregate things looked bleak so how could I hope for a different experience? Perhaps because I nor anyone else is an "average" person but rather an individual. The "average" is merely an idea, certainly with useful application, but also one with no concrete basis in reality. You are never  actually "average", even if your experience approximates that idea. You're simply you.

In brief I've literally been using the experience of a composite theoretical person to justify the inevitable failure of an actual person, namely myself. That's an absolutely insane perspective from which to view  your life. You're not empowering yourself or anyone else and the excuse is a distortion rather than a reflection of reality.  So how should we move forward? How about this?

Be The Hero Of Your Own Story

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Necessity of Discipline

There is a subtle but objective distinction to be made between the idea of work and that of discipline. They often manifest themselves in identical behavior so the distinction in action is not always apparent. Discipline always involves work in some form but work is generally not the product of discipline. The difference lies in the immediate source of motivation for whatever you productive action you have to be taking.

The predominant source of this motivation is external. You show up at your job, take care of social/familial obligations, mow the lawn, follow the law. You do these things to ensure the paycheck continues to arrive, avoid the ire of the boss, and evade the disapproval of society and culture. Other people have a vested interest in your decision to do work of this type. If you don't negative reinforcement follows; they start taking things away. The risk/reward dynamic here is usually pretty clear...do A get A, fail to do A lose A.

Then there's discipline. The particular task may be the same or involve a similiar level of physical effort but the motivating factor here is internal. You change you're diet, go to the gym, try new things, foster a passion, develop an innate talent, engage in creative expression. Perhaps this leads somewhere, perhaps it doesn't. You'll undoubtedly fail at times, become discouraged, be humbled, decide its not worth it, maybe even abandon all efforts entirely. Certain people may encourage you but fundamentally nobody cares...your abundance/lack of discipline isn't fucking up anybody's day.

So it seems rather obvious no? To the extent that your life consists of normal "work" the rewards will be predictable, moderate, and ever diminishing. You will maintain, occasionally get lucky and take what's given. It will become harder as potential and opportunity yield to time.

With discipline the result is unknown. The effort precedes an entirely featureless and mysterious future. You're literally constructing the road as you walk, drawing the map as you traverse it. You begin fraught with anxiety, unsure of whether to proceed. Maybe it gets easier, probably it doesn't.

I've been squarely in first category for 28 years, Im gonna try the next 28 in the second.
How about you?

Saturday, September 22, 2012


Happy as fuck to be on vacation in Boulder, Colorado. So much so in fact that despite my best efforts I'm not particularly disappointed in myself for putting off my last goal. It will happen eventually, perhaps this week, but certainly when i return on the 26th.

That said I'm resolving to post a couple random entries within the next day or so....Till then ill be basking I'm the glory of Boulder!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Day Two

Not gonna lie, I already feel somewhat accomplished for updating this a second time. Day two is when the initial motivation wanes and yields to old unproductive routines. The hard work of replacing those with new patterns begins now.

But where to direct such work? If you want to change essentially everything where do you begin? Obviously I can't change everything immediately...an attempt would be counter-productive and certain to fail. Not should I focus on trivial/effortless changes and risk missing the point entirely. But of course I must do something. Results are motivating and change begets further change. So perhaps I should start with those entrenched patterns which impede change across a broad spectrum of behaviors.

To that end I've identified two massive issues which require immediate attention if only to remove them as excuses for further development. The first is debt consisting of credit cards, student loans, and car loans. Though hardly unique in this regard any of my efforts in the financial/career department are severely hampered by accrued debt. Having to make hundreds every month merely to service interest results in countless hours of lost energy which could otherwise be devoted to something I'm passionate about. Significant chunks of my time literally belong to corporations I don't even work for and I'm fucking tired of it.

My second issue is hearing. Or rather my gradual inability to hear properly. I'll try to be brief here but for something on the order of fifteen years I've had trouble hearing high frequency sound. It's gradually gotten worse and shows no signs of abating. It exerts a negative impact on virtually every conversation/relationship I have yet despite the repeated insistence of many I've never done a thing to address it. This despite the fact that technology exists which might solve the problem entirely. This unwillingness is completely fucking insane and almost painfully embarrassing to admit. But let this admission be the first step towards resolving it once and for all.

Make an appointment with an audiologist AND publish plan to pay off debt!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Day One

          The most pressing problem in a journey without an objective destination is how to begin. I don't know how, I still don't know and i've come to realize that I never will. So rather than meekly yield to the paralysis of indecision as I always have before, Im just gonna start. Im not happy with my life and i haven't been for as long as i can remember. This is not to say I'm a generally unhappy person and I've certainly had a number of edifying experiences, met amazing people, and largely enjoyed myself along the way. Yet its always been apparent that Im not the person I want to be and tragically have taken few if any objective steps in that direction. Time served to amplify this warning yet I chose to ignore it, gradually shrinking from the challenges of life. Well that shit is done, from this point forward Im going to be who i want to be, embracing and directing change in order to become the ideal conception of myself, by my own completely selfish standards. Fundamentally this is a process, a sort of never-ending journey filled with innumerable missteps, stumbles and wrong turns. This will not deter me, on the contrary, how would i know the right way except by comparison to the wrong.
           So why the blog? From a purely practical perspective I want an excruciatingly honest account of  my journey to keep me motivated along the way. This will be the place for formal goal setting, tracking progress and recording insights. Ill begin with minor daily objective goals, hopefully progressing to heretofore unconcieved long term ones. Also, I'd like to create a platform for interacting with people of similiar mind/desires for as neglected/important as face to face connection is it seems foolish to ignore the literally boundless resource of the internet. Hopefully i can contribute something of value to this as well. Ultimately of course i want to see where this goes, what this can become, what I can become. I have no idea where i'm going, no certain method of getting there, but Im starting anyway...Now!

GOAL FOR THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 20th 2012: Publish second blog post by 11 am.