I had a thought recently that’s been sticking with me. Which is – if writing is as important to me as I say it is, why don’t I have a precious, fixed time every day saved just for writing? How much would I have written already, if I had to write a vomit every morning when I woke up? Every night before I went to bed? What if I had to write a vomit just to “unlock” my computer, or to use the Internet? Would I have completed my word vomit project already? I think I would have.
This sort of thing is a recurring thought throughout my life. When I was a teenager, the idea of taking 3-5 years to put on muscle mass seemed like far too long a process. And yet, if I had begun when I was 17, or 20, or 23, in all of those cases I would have ended up in a much nicer position than I am in now. And the same thing applies now. Getting to my ideal body by age 30 seems like it would be “so late”, but wouldn’t it be better than being 30 and still being unhappy with my strength and fitness levels?
Which kind of brings me to the latest conversation I had with my boss – we’ve really been having the same conversation for years now, at a regular monthly interval. The theme is always the same – how can I do better? How can I grow and learn and be more tomorrow than I am today? I know what it takes, intellectually. It takes planning. It takes some will to execute on those plans. That much seems obvious. The hard and messy part is learning to cope with failure. Failing gracefully, and recovering quickly and well where possible.
I often feel a sense of superficial relief when abandoning my plans. When I go into the dark playground. This is a misleading feeling, and I need to rewire my brain to feel differently. Abandoning my own plans usually leads to frustration, missed deadlines, missed obligations, unease, discomfort, failure.
I was talking with another colleague about how to calibrate feelings of frustration. I notice that sometimes I experience more “tension” when I”m doing something difficult, but I do feel better about it these days. I’m not panicking or overwhelmed anymore – at least, not as badly as I used to. This is progress.
Self-development is somehow simple and complicated at the same time, easy and difficult, immediate and never-ending.
While I’m writing this, I keep getting impulses to open up my browser and start wandering around the internet. This impulse is probably the single most destructive impulse that I have. It has robbed me of years of my life by now. And yeah, sometimes it’s led to fun and interesting things. But most of the time it’s led to frustration and anxiety. And yet I do it again and again. Why? Because it feels novel and interesting in the short term, I suppose.
How do you claw your way out of this? How do you break out of this particular prison? One way is to turn off your wifi. I’m going to do that now. Done. My wifi is turned off. I need to do this at work.
Gym has been going well the past couple of weeks. My legs are still sore from squats I did on Saturday (or was it Sunday?). It’s Tuesday today. Despite this, I did several sets of bench presses yesterday, in a relatively short amount of time. I feel good about that. I also cooked chicken a couple of days ago – on Sunday – which we ate for dinner that night, and again last night. I’d like to experiment with more slow-cooking recipes and get better at it. It’s a nice and simple way to feed yourself.
So gym and food are going pretty well. Sleep is always the main #1 issue. I slept stupidly late throughout the weekend. I slept early and well last night. I would like to sleep early and well for the remainder of my life if I can. But it seldom seems like a good idea to plan your entire life ahead. So let’s just try to do this for the rest of 2017. I’ve been fairly disappointed with my handling of 2017 so far – I feel like I should already have written some good essays, already had a goo time meeting some friends, and so on. I feel like I’ve been coasting through the year. This will not do. I need to do more. I know I have a lot on my todo list and I’m procrastinating on it, probably because the deadlines don’t seem very real, they don’t seem very pressing. Well I need to rewire my mind to be able to do things and get pleasure out of them even then they aren’t very pressing. I want to reject the sort of “haha nihilism nothing matters why do anything” perspective. I think that’s not very healthy. I want to be an exceptional person. To do that I have to behave in exceptional ways. I have to have exceptional habits, take exceptional measures, and so on. I can’t let randomness just kick me down the road into becoming somebody that I never chose.
This is a vomit that I’m writing before I leave home for work. I’d like to write another one perhaps before I leave work, and maybe another one when I get home, and maybe another one before I go to bed. That sounds like I’m setting myself up for failure. But I’m not committing to some super long term thing without knowing if I’d be able to handle it. Later at work today I’m going to set aside some time to review all the things that I’ve said I’m going to be doing. I need to have some time for such review every single day, because there are important things that enter my radar and then slip away. I am valuable to my team to the degree that they can trust me to independently get shit done.
We’re done with the vomit. How do we summarise it? There’s a part about habits, a part about review, a part about plans. But I think I want to focus on the writing part. Writing is important to me.