I have a few more minutes, I might as well try to hammer another one out. Let’s check my Trello / Evernote / Workflowy for writing prompts.
Actually, it’s amusing how many of my old writing prompts don’t really feel very relevant anymore. I have prompts from 2010 that now feel like they’re just “stating the obvious”, things like asymmetrical warfare, resourcefulness, EQ, mutually beneficial outcomes. I used to want to write about those things as ideas– literally, to sit down and reflect on why EQ is good and important. Today it seems self-evident. I suppose it’s because I’ve been thinking and talking about them, by myself and with people, for a long time now. So I’ve probably internalized them to some degree. If I wanted to write about those things now, what would I write about? I guess I’d just ask myself– okay, if this is something that I’ve supposedly internalized as true and valid, what’s stopping me from embodying it at a Heroic level? Let’s focus on say, resourcefulness and mutually beneficial outcomes. Am I the most resourceful person I know? Nope. Do I consistently create mutually beneficial outcomes in my life? Not as much as I’d like.
Do I want to be? Yes, on both counts– at least to a degree that I personally find admirable and respectable. I’d like to be a person whom, if I met for coffee, I’d personally be impressed by. (You could say that we’d only be impressed by people who are superior to us, and since you can’t be superior to yourself, you’ll never be impressed by yourself. I think that’s fair… so it’s got to be a little more nuanced. Just… someone worthy, someone worth living up to, someone worth treating with respect as an equal. If I’m honest with myself, the more exalted, idealistic part of me considers the rest of me to be a bit of a wastrel-bum. I mentioned it hundreds of vomits ago, and I’m mentioning it again.)
Okay, so what’s stopping me from being more resourceful? Resourcefulness comes from within, it’s a skill that’s demonstrated precisely when we lack resources. It’s about being proactive, creative, seeing many different ways of doing something, trying alternate paths. Actually… is resourcefulness even a problem for me? I mean… I think my problem is that I don’t even properly utilize the resources that I DO have. That’s my problem. It’s not that I don’t have enough resources. I can’t imagine telling anybody with a straight face that I don’t have enough resources. I have reasonably good health, I earn a reasonable amount of money, I have access to intelligent people and the magic of the Internet… I have a lot of resources! So why do I misallocate my resources still? And I think that is related to the deficit of mutually beneficial outcomes. Or even just personally benefiical outcomes (I suppose “mutual” in the personal sense means “beneficial now and beneficial later”, where most of the time I tend to pick what is “beneficial now”, such as staying up too late, eating unhealthy, smoking cigarettes, procrastinating on work I know I should be doing, and so on.)
I have enough experience by now to know that grand proclamations are overrated and they don’t make that much of a difference. The actual challenge is more akin to trying to keep good posture. You can’t win a good posture award by standing really still for some amount of time and then keep the award despite slouching all your life. Posture comes from slow and steady practice, and you can never let down, never give up. So it is with being responsible, so it is with making full use of your resources, so it is with being a generally responsible, effective individual. And if I were being honest with myself, there’s STILL something about that prospect that’s a little scary. This is a demon I need to slay. It might be some sort of misconception, I might be ignorant about something, I might be framing the problem wrong, it might be an irrational “Ugh Field” that’s screwing with me. I was reading a bit of Prozac Nation, where the author talks about how the great worry is that there isn’t a way out of depression– everybody says that there is, but what if there isn’t, for you? What if you spend a lifetime trying to pretend to be happy, trying to embody happiness, and you take the drugs and follow the therapy only to find that you’re just as hollow as ever, just as empty as ever, and you were suffering needlessly?
It’s a sort of shitty poverty mindset that’s really hard to avoid, really hard to escape from, really hard to rewire. Part of the reason I do these word vomits is to try and rewire my brain, to try and remind myself to zoom out and see the big picture– not a grand idealistic “I want to go to Mars” fantasy pipe-dream that’s so far out, so vague and inaccessible that it’s really no different from buying a sniff of hope every time you go to buy a lottery ticket. That’s not what I need. I need to take lots of little specific actions that I know I can do.
I’m not depressed, but I suppose the hurdle for me is the limiting belief that I’ll never be able to be truly on top of my shit. That my whole life is going to be me just trying to explain and rationalize to myself and anybody who’s unfortunately subject to my BS that I’m trying my best, that I’m working hard, that I’m trying to make a difference… but then at the end of it all, I’m still the same old shitty me.
But I’m realizing from looking at my old statuses that this isn’t true. I HAVE grown and progressed. I AM accomplishing more. I AM stronger now. I AM able to commit to things and see them through. I AM more responsible, even if I still lapse occasionally the lapses are fewer and further in between.
So I don’t need to commit to something as epic and grand as turning my life around, whatever that means. That’s just setting myself up for failure. What I can do is to complete another word vomit. And another. And ship a blogpost for work. And another. And fulfill my next obligation. And another. And we’ll meet again, 6 months from now, 2-3 years from now, and we’ll find that we’re different people, and we’ll wonder why we were so anxious, silly, afraid.