So yesterday I had a really epiphanic, euphoric sort of vibe. The peak state has worn off, but I still remember the critical bits of it. I caught a glimpse of the person I want to become, that I envision myself becoming, and I’m still him. Just not fully realized yet, but well underway.
I was doing some work in the afternoon today, and then went to visit my parents. It was tempting for me to skip the word vomit and go straight to bed. It’s a classic case of me having some sort of good time, and then overindulging afterwards, letting things slip and promising myself that I’d make up for it afterwards.
In this case, while it IS pretty likely that I would’ve been able to make it up to myself afterwards– that is, do two word vomits tomorrow instead of just one– it’s far more important that I go through this process right now– where I go through the motion of doing a word vomit even though I feel like I have a good enough excuse not to. I need to train my subconscious to see that I mean business when I say I’m going to do something. And I’m going to do a word vomit every day unless I’m really, truly incapacitated.
And that’s just the start of it. There’s so much more to do. The most important thing is maintaining peak state, recreating peak state. I’ve written about similar things over and over again– about the importance of chunking my time, of timeboxing, etc. I think now I’m getting clearer about the importance of psyching myself up before getting things done, and of being a lot more critical about the way the time is spent. And I really need to just practice finishing things that I start, without getting distracted. There is no doubt in my mind anymore that this is something that I am capable of accomplishing, and this is a skill that I need to develop yesterday. Since we can’t go back in time, now is the next best alternative. So I’m going to continue writing this vomit straight through the end without tabbing out, and then I’m going to shower and go to bed.
What are my current impediments to being ultra-focused? I think the main thing is really that I still don’t give myself clear enough instructions about the task ahead of me, in any given situation. I allow myself to sort of skip back and forth and improvise around the task. It works for some forms of simple writing, but it absolutely does not work for bigger and more difficult projects. The problem with my current state is that I still haven’t learned to properly chunk things down into smaller projects. It’s a sort of ignorant hubris that I have, this odd belief that I can just improvise my way through difficult things. Life has beaten me down in this regard over and over again– I have been pushing at a pull door, and trying to push harder, and trying different techniques of pushing. What I really need to do is toss all my “push” techniques entirely out of the window, and teach myself to pull.
In parallel to this, I’m trying to relearn how to write. I’ve always held my pens and pencils in a weird, contorted way where I put all the weight and pressure on my ring finger. It’s a very painful grip to hold on for long periods of time, and it makes my writing very scratchy. Controlled, but scratchy. There’s no big picture, no continuity, no flow. When I draw squares, or L’s or E’s, somehow the right angles are never quite right angles. There’s always a sort of kink at the corner. This has always bothered me a little but I never did anything about it. Finally, I’ve decided to deconstruct the habit and work from first principles. It’s going to mean some painfully boring, frustrating stages where I’m reduced to drawing like a child again. But it’s not quite the same, because while I haven’t developed the fine motor skills yet, I do have a clearer sense of what I want, and I can adjust myself faster along the way. It’s like learning the guitar, which I’ve done before. (And even that, I think, would benefit from some deconstruction and first principles practice. But one thing at a time for now. Though I AM trying to relearn the nuances of Stairway To Heaven, for old time’s sake.)
I guess what I have been resisting for a while is the idea of re-education. A sort of deep therapy. What’s the term they use for people who are injured? Rehabilitation. I need to learn to walk again, properly. I suppose I’ve always been embarrassed by my incompetence on many fronts, and try to avoid it. Like I’ve talked before about how I’m embarrassed that I can’t really cook. Well, I can cook some scrambled eggs, and some peppers and some chicken. I’m going to feed myself more regularly, because that’s me actively breaking a barrier that I had constructed when I was a child. Another one is that I can’t draw. I have a wonderful imagination, I have all sorts of ideas, there’s no reason why I can’t draw. It’s just dots and lines. Paper and pen give great feedback. I can get better at what I’m doing and I’d like to get better at it. I underline really nicely in books. I have a pretty nice all-caps script. I can do more.
There’s nothing new about the details. I’ve always known the details. Everybody always knows the details, and yet we read more and more about the details. The only thing that matters is managing your own psychology, in seeing that there is a point, in believing that things can be done, in having faith despite history. Faith in first principles. Faith in the somewhat mechanistic nature of reality. If things didn’t work out before, we can examine them and change things and make them work this time around.
I truly believe it.