My feedly isn’t loading and social media has diminishing returns so I souls just start writing. My mind isn’t particularly clear. I notice that there’s something that happens to my mind when I’m on social media for too long: I start thinking in a very short-term short-wavelength manner and it becomes harder to do the kind of ‘deep thinking’ you need to do to catch insights and say something meaningful… I’m taking out of my ass here trying to make sense of my subjective experience.
I notice that when I read books, I often have to stop halfway to stay writing because the thoughts get pushed to the front of my mind and I can’t enjoy the book without getting the thoughts out of my mind first. It’s a funny problem to have. I suppose I could experiment with ignoring the thoughts so I can fully immerse myself in the joy of reading, as I did as a child. Reading for me these days is highly interactive: I take notes, I write down the thoughts that arise in my mind and make connections to other books and ideas. It’s almost like I can’t read without getting involved. I can enjoy comedy or a play or an art exhibition and take notes afterwards, but somehow I don’t have that patience with books. Books are for snorting hurriedly, at least that’s how it is at this stage in my life when there’s so much to ingest.
Funny how that analogy plays out. I’m wiring this on the way to work and I wonder if I can complete and publish it before I get started. That’s rather ambitious but maybe it’s worth a shot, maybe it’s a routine worth trying out.
Random but I believe strongly in the value of re-reading things, re-watching things. You’re never the same person twice, so approaching the same text twice is a remarkably good way to figure out where you’ve been and how you’ve changed and grown. I was rewatching Melinda Gates’ Ted talk about Coca-Cola and how they’ve found remarkable solutions to problems that governments and NGOs hadn’t. So full of awe at the entire process and how it saves lives, and how simple some solutions are.
I also watched a talk by a counsellor explaining how people in their 20s have been encouraged to be complacent when it’s the most defining decade of your life. I like that because I feel like it glorifies my personal narrative. I was complacent for the first 20 years of my life, so I’m determined to work hard now.
Which brings me to the idea of social comparison as a motivator. Should you use it? Is it ultimately unhealthy and self-destructive? I know a lot of wise guru type folks say that you should only be competing against yesterday-you, and let other people be other people. Yet we do use scoreboards and leaderboards in games and reality, because clearly we’re motivated by social cues (being social animals).
I’ll admit it- a part of me wants to ‘get back’ at people who’ve looked down on me in the past. I like the idea of overtaking the superachiever kids add they begin to struggle with questions of purpose and meaning. When you’re done with your expensive degree and have spent a few years working your high-paying job and realize you’re not that happy, Ha Ha Fuck You!
But then I pause to check myself. Is that really who I want to be? It’s a little petty and small-minded isn’t it? First of all it’s unfair of me to hate on people without knowing their full circumstances. Everybody has a hard battle to fight. Second, hate is like drinking poison and hoping they die. Sure it might be entertaining to some but what do I really want? In a way, peer approval can be like a drug that keeps you where you are, for better or worse.
(Solution: write about anger and envy and vengeance to communicate that it’s on your mind, then demonstrate through action that you reject the low road- win-win! There’s surely a flaw in that somewhere that hasn’t revealed itself to me.)
When a dust has been kicked up I think clarity is achieved by deciding what you want to focus on. Rather than going “Everything’s a mess, what should I do?” I should go, “Well, what do I want then?”
Then it gets easier. I want to play a role in diminishing human suffering and increasing human wellness- achieving this by creating and promoting anything that broadens human consciousness. The grand goal is to accelerate the advent of accessible commercial space travel. That’s the prize.
(I just got to work. That was 777 words written from Bishan MRT to one-north MRT. Not too bad I suppose.)
So actually, the whole “should I compare myself to other people as motivation” idea is a little pointless, and weak, because that comparison involves feeling good about “being better” than other people. I intellectually know that this leads to conditional self-esteem, which is unhealthy because either you’re not good enough, or you have to be stressed all the time trying to maintain your lead, and that’s frustrating and tiresome. Also, there’s an indirect implication that other people screwing up will make you feel better about yourself, which is not cool- that doesn’t serve the mission. The mission here is to commercial, accessible space travel, and we need everybody on board for such a vast mission. So I have to help people, even the rich kids. If I believe strongly enough in my mission, then it is irrelevant how other people are “relative to me”- instead, it’s in my interest to enrich as many people as possible. Then we can party on the future international space stations. Then I can have this conversation with myself (and you, if you’re so inclined) again… or maybe not. Who knows. Life is unpredictable.
Alright, I’m hitting my word vomit target for today in a matter of words. Now to have a kickass productive day at work. Cheerio.