I woke up at 9, rolled around in bed for a while, talked to my wife for a bit, and now I’m out of bed at 10:26 with my laptop trying to write a word vomit. And now I spent 30 mins doing nothing much and not getting the word vomit done. This is what needs to change. I don’t have much of a problem with the rolling around bit, but I should be writing a vomit as quickly and early as I can before my mind gets cluttered with other information that I wasn’t actually interested in.
I suppose that should be one of my principles. I remember reading a quote – people will be offended at being told what to think, but they’re generally fine with being given things to think about. And once you’re in that scenario, you can generally, or at least probablistically be steered to think one way or another. Either way, that’s what’s on your mind. That’s the trap with things like advertising – we don’t get to test the null hypothesis.
I want to really sit in my chair, with my laptop on my lap as it is, at 10:57am, and be here now. Really take in the reality of my experience and how close I was to giving up on this word vomit. If I am to make 2017 the best year yet, I need to be a lot more decisive and intentional.
I wanted to make sense of what a decision is. What is it? The word decide technically means ‘to cut off’. And that’s something I’m definitely very bad at doing. In a way, it seems like most decisions are about decisions to stop doing something, to finish something. To end the current status or setting, so that we might switch to something new. So “deciding to go for a run”, in a sense, is “deciding to cease rest”. Now I’m thinking about the Da Vinci quote – something about motion being created only by the destruction of balance.
I need to destroy the balanced equilibrium that is my way of life so that I might level up, do new things, do better things. I was also thinking that I need to apply my review process (which I currently do every week to make sense of my fitness goals, reading goals, etc) to my work.
11:21am. Wow. It’s so easy to get sidetracked and to lose steam. I should turn off the Internet while I’m writing. I’m going to do that right now. And I’m going to finish this word vomit in the next 4-5 minutes.
Right. So – a systematic breaking of equilibrium. Of re-evaluation. Of decisions. The point is to return to the center again whenever mistakes have been made, as long as there is space to continue. Let’s get meta within the context of this word vomit. I was hoping to be done with it before 11am, and then 11:10, 11:20, and now before 11:30. At what point do I give up? I think 11:30 was pretty close to my give-up point because I need to send an update for work and I want to get to office in time for lunch.
But how do I make it such that I get my stuff done by 11, so that I can leave 30 minutes early and feel nice and comfortable? That’s the million dollar question. If I can solve that, I can improve my quality of life dramatically by just making better decisions. What if I had gotten out of bed at 9, done my word vomit by 930, and left the house by 10 am? That would’ve been beautiful. What if I was fast asleep by 11pm instead of 1am, and woke up at 6 or 7am instead, and was done by 730? Then I would have had time to go for a run, or do some squats. My hamstrings are still quite sore from deadlifts though, so probably not.
I have made a lot of grand promises and gestures over the past decade, and most of them have not worked out. So I know that I cannot grand-promise my way out of it. I cannot spend my time and energy looking forward indefinitely. I DO have plans – I’ve had them for years. The thing is not to focus on the long-term but to focus on what I’m doing right now in service of that long-term goal. It’s not necessarily short-sighted to focus on the present. I think there’s a limiting belief there that I need to correct. Something about the distinction between being long-sighted and short-sighted. I’d like to think that I’m long-sighted but I’m really short-sighted, and I’ve been avoiding things that I think are short-sighted but would actually help me achieve my long-term goals. It’s all about each boring brick, one by one.
Wow we’re still not done. See, I chronically underestimate things. I underestimate how long it takes to write a word vomit. I overestimate how much time I have. I underestimate how much time I spend when I get distracted by things. I overestimate my capacity to do things. I need to write these things down in more concrete, examinable terms and then really internalise what that means to me. I’ve been navigating using flawed instruments that have consistent, systematic errors about them. So they’ve been leading me away from my destination, reliably.
Let’s recap. I need to make better decisions. I need to make decisions faster. This is so that I can achieve my goal of being more free. Freedom has a price. It’s worth paying. I need to redo my assessments of my own effectiveness and efficiency. I need to do this every single day so that I develop it. It’s like a muscle. I have to use it over and over so that it becomes a thing. I have to write on my whiteboard that this is a thing. I have to set reminders so that this is a thing. I cannot drop this now, I have come too far, I have spent too much time for me to mess this up again. I have faith. But I gotta verify.