0085 – parasite w/ psychological insulation

Random thoughts are hard to come by these days but I just found myself thinking about language and social hierarchy, thanks to a tweet by Adrianna about the odd phenomenon of men calling women “sis”, even when they are romantically interested in the latter. A couple of others joined in and we had an interesting discussion about terms like xiaomeimei.

I had a thought this morning when I was having breakfast next to some businessmen at yakun kaya toast. I was eavesdropping a little bit and they were describing something that sounded like ruthless corporate slaughter, about crushing the competition in a way that sounded sociopathic. I remember thinking… nobody really tells you about this. Nobody tells you that we live in a cruel, ruthless world full of blood and viscera and people out to screw each other over. When do you really learn about rape? I feel like I was overly sheltered from reality in school. I don’t mean things like about bills and work- that much was obvious. What they didn’t tell me about was that it’s turtles all the way down.

I often think about people who played a minor or insignificant role in my life. I wonder if some of them think about me, too. I wonder if I’m a big deal to somebody I don’t know. I wonder how many of my childhood friends look at me with disgust and derision. I wonder so many things. Today’s a nostalgic day. I wonder how the regulars I interacted with during NS are doing. Warrant Maniam passed away just months after I ORD’d. Fella was always threatening to charge me. I wonder why. I was nice to him. Some of the others weren’t.
I dropped by the VS website a while ago for another nostalgia bomb, to see how the teachers are doing. Many familiar faces. I can’t believe I spent 3 years in JC. Poly would’ve been a richer experience for me.

Haven’t written because I feel like I’m repeating myself and I have zero authority. None, not even to speak for myself.

I’ve been paying some attention to the news- Chan Chun Sing is minister now, probably the first Minister who never had to run in a general election, and Vincent Wijeysingha resigned from the SDP, and an older me might take the time and trouble to write extensively about such things. But now that feels hollow and “participatory”. I’m not sure if developing an opinion here is particularly useful. Well- it’s a skill worth developing, knowing how to formulate an opinion, how to articulate it and communicate it effectively.

Well- I think the utility in that is primarily social. It makes you seem more impressive.
Yeah so I’ve been rather pessimistic and nihilistic lately. I’m probably taking some real benefits for granted. Of course it’s good learning to think. The question is, how much does that influence what you do?

Erm, I’m in a messy spot here, let’s tidy up.

1: Thinking is interesting, fun and somewhat fulfilling as a parlor game, just like any other decent game imaginable. It’s nice to be good at it, and some people will reward you for it (assuming that you meet some basic thresholds of social acceptability, maybe, but even then there are exceptions).

2: Writing is a very effective way of articulating thought. It gives it structure, formalizing it.

3: One can think and write for a rather long time without having those thoughts significantly alter one’s reality, one’s station in life. This train of thought presupposes certain ideas, things like it’s good and important to be happy and fulfilled in a way that involves a sustainable interaction with one’s environment (so drugs and self-delusion are not valid options). I do not really care to defend these ideas- that is a parlor game in itself. There are resource costs to deliberation so I think it’s clear that one should ruminate on whatever appears to be the best use of one’s headspace.

Aside: I used to have a problem with such “drastic” “intervention”. One should not meddle with the mind, I used to subconsciously argue. Odysseus shouldn’t have tied himself to the mast, but he shouldn’t have bothered with the sirens, either. Why did he even bother with the journey in the first place? Couldn’t he have just sat around a fire with his friends, go fishing now and then, enjoy a simple life? Why make promises?

I’ve been away from Facebook and most social interactions outside of work and this kine of thought is becoming increasingly interesting to me- something I’d never truly considered before. Why bother with the heroism? Why not just live a simple, pleasant life of coffee and conversations?

Things are getting ugly in Syria. Easy to get outraged, but can I do anything? What’s with this constant need to intervene? This is something I might not have fully addressed earlier. Why do I always want to be the hero?

Maybe attention is a kind of high fructose corn syrup, easy to get addicted to. Maybe I should read some Russell Brand. Fame is vacuous, pleasure comes from true, genuine interaction.

Was I getting at something here? I think it’s really good that I went off Facebook and it’s really good that I moved to the north and it’s at least interesting, if not good, that I’ve been extricated from my former social circles. It’s good to be away, or at least interesting.

My thoughts are unrefined today. Perhaps it’s a lack of practice. But I don’t care, I’ll just write. So be it.

This was relatively meh but I’m chunking it up so that I can get around to the next one. All of these words are completely irrational filler just to make number. I know that I’ve crossed 1,500 and even 2,000 on some posts, so they definitely more than make up for one slight deficiency here, but I feel like it’s not right. I feel like I have to hit the 1,000 mark no matter what. So there it is, here I am. Silly maybe, but it keeps me going and I think it’s necessary to test this out.

 

0084 – remember the anguish of being unproductive

Argh I’m so angry with myself. I was distracted and unproductive today, taking way too long to do the little work that I did. It has a clear effect on my mood, I’m frustrated, disappointed, unhappy. I feel like an unfit guy letting down his platoon- which is kind of essentially what I am, in a psychological fitness sense.

I can’t dwell on this, that’s unhelpful and goes nowhere. Measures must be taken. I need to disconnect and cut away all distractions. I know that getting off Facebook is helpful. I need to do the same for quora reddit tumblr… That seems difficult. It would make more sense to set aside some sort of generative ritual for content- write and edit when disconnected from the internet.

I found myself thinking about education earlier and how frustrating it is to learn things that you’re not interested in. I was thinking about how I was learning the guitsr yesterday night, making progress by focusing on some really concrete simple goals- learn a riff, learn a chord, that’s it. Bigger things are harder. So yeah I really need to chunk things into smaller tasks because it’s really hard to get go the elephants in the room.

So angry. So angry. Have I ever been this angry in a video game? I suppose it’s vaguely equivalent to facing a boss over and over again and making little to no difference. Dying over and over again. It means that you’re not ready. You’re not good enough. You need to get out and go level. So I really need to reduce everything to the bloody basics and kill the rats. God I’m so angry with myself!!! This will not do, this is not who I want to be. There is a part of me that needs serious demolishing. It’s sickening. It’s an illness. A kind of hostage situation. Need to calm down. I find myself grasping at straws and even looking for ways to blame other people for the shitty state in in. How pathetic is that? Jeez. I suppose the word vomits should be a slight consolation but they’re not, I don’t fully feel it yet. Why do I even think or care about guitar? I suppose it’s a path of less resistance thing. I should be able to get all my shit done at work so that I can truly relax and do my own thing when I’m home, spend time with the wife etc.

I have issues, really. How many times must you acknowledge something before it really feels… real? I need to put things down in writing. Gah this feels so juvenile. Let it go, let it go. There is only this moment.

I don’t really know what to write right now. Kinda stumped. Saw something on GetMotivated about a guy asking for examples of what it’s like to get off Facebook. Btw did I mention that I was tempted to get back on Facebook? Jesus no. I created a work account, the only thing on that profile is my work Page.

===

I missed two vomits- one because I was rather stressed and upset with myself for being unproductive and another because I had run out of battery- forgot to charge my phone. But I’m right back on this, I’m going to get right back on track because I think clearly this is good for me and I’m not really doing anything better with my transit time to and from work anyway.

I had a rather startling realisation yesterday- which is that I tend to ‘crash’ in productivity after lunch, and I think that has to do with my eating habits. I think I’m not eating enough, or eating right. I’m tall and skinny and have low blood pressure- I can get a little bit giddy/dizzy/lethargic quite easily. I tend to skip breakfast which I’m now thinking is a bad idea. Will have to experiment with this.

The things holding me back are the same things- distractions, lack of routine and lack of structure. I need to avoid falling into the trap of “Yay I acknowledge my problems, well done me, I’m such an acknowledger. Pat on back.” This will not do. Knowledge has to lead to action or it’s essentially worthless (for all practical purposes other than feeling better about oneself). The opposite extreme is equally untenable- there’s no sense in excessive self-flagellation. It makes more sense to get shit done than to spend time and energy punishing oneself for not getting sit done.

I made some progress on the guitar the past couple of days. It’s like a little personal victory. I’ve also been doing pushups when I get home which is a good thing. But these things are not enough and they’re not focused on the things I really ought to be doing. I have messed up priorities. I think I have a vague sense of what my priorities should be but I’m not acting accordingly. The solution can’t be to waste time on productivity porn. I have to know what needs to be done, work-wise, and do it. I’m planning to do it later when I get home. Will I do it? I think I’ll have to disconnect from the internet. I have to do my dailies- I keep writing off the importance of doing dailies for everything from niggling work bits to pushups and water consumption. I need to build my focus muscle. These word vomits are helpful but they’re not enough. Okay. That’s that.

I don’t want to talk about social issues. My opinions on things like lgbt and manning and snowden are inconsequential, they’re distractions, the lazy unfocused mind assuning control. While playing guitar I remembered the importance of practicing the basics very carefully, very slowly. I have never really learnt to do this at an industrial scale and this is above all else what I need to be doing. How much time and energy can a person waste talking about what they ought to be doing instead of doing it? In my case the answer seems to be a lot, infinite, limitless. I know that gamification helpd so I should stick to it.

A part of my mind is saying you should use these moments to think directly about work but meh I’m not sure if I should do that. I should probably do work-based word vomits independently of my personal ones, and I shoulf probably make it a part of a routine. My lack of commitment to routines is a worrying thing and it’s a part of me that I have to brutally murder and distance myself from. Willpower is limited, cognitive resources are limited, so I really have to allocate them as ruthlessly as possible. My work could get a lot more interesting and exciting if I did my job at a scale of magnitude better then I’m expected to.

Getting off Facebook is proving to be insufficient. It’s one data point and it’s proof that I’m happier when disengaged from unscheduled small talk. I should experiment with disengagement from pretty much everything else. Shouldn’t be that hard to do, it’s the sticking to it that’s the challenge. I’m thinking I should build off of this vomit habit. I should use these as meditative mind-clearing re-focusing exercises everyday to keep me on track because I definitely need help. I definitely can’t do this by doing what I’ve always been doing. Some sort of change is necessary and arguing “small or big” is potentially a wasteful and elaborate distraction. (Let’s get it out of the way: small is maybe easier but perhaps less effective, big is traumatic and might possibly get rejected by the broader subconscious… which sounds like bullshit but I think is a real political concern, a consideration that cannot be ignored if I’m serious about change.)

These considerations cannot be at the expense of action. Ready shoot aim. I am rash and abrasive about many things but surprisingly not about this. I’m a shy pathetic Conservative when it comes to personal change and this will surely not do when there is much changing that needs doing.

 

0083 – avoid talking over people, ask questions and listen instead

I’m up and out a little earlier today, which is great. Still not as early as I’d like- I remember reading up when the sun came up at about 730ish, but I still stayed in bed. So that’s who I want to be- I want to jump out of bed at 730 all excited at the possibilities and the dawn of a new day. I think that’s a simple measurable step. It’s like the walk to the bus stop to take a bus to the airport. Or less, but still significant! So that’s something to be excited about.

I’m not sure if I should write about my facebook fast or something else. I’m thinking of “saving” that one for Poached. So let’s get meta and talk about writing in multiple channels.

Before that- I was looking at my past few vomits on my blog and thought whoa, that’s quite a lot of text.

I was always known by my friends as the guy who talks too much, who rudely interjects and interrupts everybody because he got so much to say, or because he’s ignorant and stupid, or because he’s just selfish.

I think selfishness is rarely malicious, I think it’s typically the manifestation of ignorance. Maliciousness itself is typically ignorance. I mean come on, what’s the point of being selfish or malicious or hurtful? Life is too short and harsh. We all want to be flattered, loved, respected, adored. We all want to avoid pain and suffering where possible.

But it gets complex and messy because sometimes it seems like a zero sum game. Erm… I’m lapsing into stuff I say without being fullu engaged.

I don’t think anybody actually wants to go around hurting, upsetting or offending people. We’re just needy and we want to feel valid, significant, relevant. I think I was impatient and anxious most of the time. Insecure. I probably still am.

I was thinking the other day- a friend was lamenting the fate of the polar bears. And all these thoughts came into my mind- why are you so upset about the polar bears? The earth has been through a lot worse in climatic fluctuations, there are other less cute animals in worse situations… but then I stopped and thought- why does it matter to me how he feels about polar bears? Who am I to intrude on his feelings and tell him how he ought to feel? Nobody! I just make connections in my head all the time and I feel a pressing urge to share them- perhaps as an assertion of self-worth, I must be worth something if I have something to say.

I don’t think I think that way though- I think I’ve always operated in a free-for-all, anything goes, everybody should share everything on their minds all the time kind of perspective. My dad’s quite like that. He’s very loud and brash and interrupts everyone. I grew up in that household and I grew up on internet forums where you get points for being witty and pointing out the mistakes and errors of others. But I see now how that’s a limited way of operating, a limited paradigm. Within this paradigm, if I tell you something, you’re obliged to criticize it while I defend it- that’s a good thing, it’s an honour to have someone explore my idea with me. That’s a very combative, debate-centric approach. If you interrupt me with something else altogether I’ll try to work with that- may the most important or interesting train of thought win! I think Marcus Geduld described a family like that.

My wife’s not like that, except in dire circunstances. Quite a few of my peers are not like that. Possibly most of the world isn’t like that. Most people aren’t interested in fighting all the time. They want you to listen, to interpret without interrupting. I need go learn to do that. I think I’ve made some progress over the years but there’s still a long way to go. I think Robert Greene’s 48 laws of power opened my eyes to seeing how others might view my style in a much, much more negative light than I could’ve imagined by myself. Recommend it to anybody who has the same problem as me.

That said I wanted to test the hypothesis that I talk so much because I crave social validation. It seemed so, because I was always taking to people, talking over people. I’m biased, so I like to think that there’s more to me than selfish, childish self-obsession. I like to share things that I think are genuinely interesting and valuable. An old friend told me that we had once met for dinner and he was feeling really down- I barely remember it- but apparently I had cheered him up with by talking passionately about something. Maybe I wasn’t specifically trying to help him- I was just being myself in a space where I attempt to interact with other players (in this case him) in my sphere and I had stuff to share so I shared it.

I understand that it might not be socially acceptable, desirous. That’s part of why I deactivated Facebook. I think I had gotten into this messy tangle of highly complex relationships (in the series-of-interactions sense) and I needes a reset button. I couldn’t argue on Facebook that I don’t really need Facebook. That doesn’t work no matter how eloquent the argument. Demonstration is always more powerful than rhetoric.

If it were true that all I care about is social validation then I wouldn’t still be writing this, would I? The format is deliberately inaccessible. I used to blog with linkbait headlines, complaining about the government and playing up to the crowd. In a sense this 1000 sets of 1000 vomits is a deliberate isolation. My little, feeble attempt at a sort od mini Walden.

I firmly believe that people deserve their space. They deserve the right to walk away, to say no, I’m tired, I’d rather not hang out today… I believe that I have always respected this wish in others. I hate the idea of conning or coercing someone into something through persistence and direct pressure… I’m sorry to anybody who feels like I’m abandoning them. But I’m not that important. I’m not that useful. I’m ignorant, incompetent, and I really mean it when I say I’m not worth anybody’s time. I think it’s really important to begin there. I am temporary, everything is temporary. I cannot ask anything of you. That’s that.

I have a lot of writing to do for work, some editing. It’s a little bit scary but also exciting. I tend to take longer than absolutely necessary- I’m reminded of my gig reviews for timbre rock and roots, which took me forever to write. I did all my research and learnt about all the artists, their lives and careers… I just think it’s important. If you’re going to pay tribute to something you need to understand the broader context. You need to do the reading. I truly believe that. I’d want anybody else to do the same for me.

The problem is when this clashes against deadlines and becomes an excuse to delay and procrastinate. There has to be a faster way of doing things. Rush, finish, reiterate.

reached work

 

0082 – metaphorical airports destinations comfort zone

So what lenses should I build, what have I built, what is actually useful? (Let’s drop the lens analogy.) The answer is seemingly straightforward- whetever helps me get from where I am go where I want to go. Well, where am I, and where do I want to go? The “expand human consciousness” and “accelerate space travel” destinations are too far down the road to be particularly meaningful. They’re vague abstractions at this stage. It’s like me saying I want to go to the USA when I don’t know where Changi Airport is. Saying you want to marry the princess when you don’t know where the kingdom is, let alone what the political challenges are gonna be when you get there, and what sort of prerequisites you’ll need to even get through the door.

So. What and where is Changi airport? And how do I buy or acquire a ticket? And what do I have to do to pay for or earn that ticket? If I met Seth Godin or Paul Graham or Jimmy Wales or Elon Musk any of those cool people, I wouldn’t have anything useful to tell them. That sucks. I don’t just want to be some passive fan in the crowd, I want to get onstage and play some awesome music. I just remembered watching the Tesla shareholder meeting where this guy essentially begged Musk for a job. Musk was pretty gracious about it (I think because of his own past experience doing cold approaches like at Netscape), but I couldn’t help but cringe for the guy. Begging is a very bad strategy. (The only worse strategy is to do nothing at all.) Seduction is a good metaphor here. You want to be headhunted. Tesla and SpaceX ARE hiring. The goal should be to be so good that they can’t ignore you. (Should I be reading more Cal Newport? )

Even if I suddenly made a lot of money, what good would that do me? I’d do things like get nicer clothes and shoes. Work out more. Really? Who am I kidding? I can do these things right now. I can get fitter. I can develop more refined social graces with deliberate practice. I don’t need money to do that. I might get less jittery when playing poker, but there are multiple ways to skin that cat. But what? What then? I have this library of books I’d like to read. That’s just something I feel like I need to do, I feel like I’d be a better, more thoughtful and wise person for it. I’d understand the world better.

Erm, but what is it exactly that I don’t understand right now? I think the most pressing thing is computers and programming. I’d like to understand that stuff better. I hate feeling like I don’t understand computers. I’d like to build one from scratch. I think that would make me very happy, that would be a useful skill, experience, journey. I’d like to learn to code so I’d have more computing power to explore currently-vague questions in my mind. Maybe I’ll find that I enjoy contributing to open source. I can envision Google maps being far more awesome than is today, but I am oblivious to how it works. What the hell is an API? Why do I not know this? This is the stuff that should replace tits and ass on tumblr. I don’t think I can juggle too much in my head. It has to be keyhole surgery, like Harford described. Where should I begin? Music? I’m hungry for growth and learning but my progress is slow because there isn’t a clear path. I don’t have a counter-insurgency manual.

I was thinking about information diets and diets in general- how it seems extreme to deliberately starve oneself of something for an indefinite period of time. Surely the occasional cigarette, whiskey, chocolate, porn video- can’t be all that bad as long as the rest of your life is in order? An obsession with freedom is in itself another pair of handcuffs, isn’t it? But that’s the simplicity on the other side of complexity. You can only discard that ladder after you’ve climbed it, otherwise you’ll (I mean I’ll) use it as an excuse to remain stagnant, static, setting-sun, defensive… I just realized that me stayinf in my comfort zone is no different from the record companies and big businesses I laugh at because they can’t pivot, can’t innovate, are structurally condemned to being eaten alive. I am that old company, stuck in that local optima, trying to hang on despite greatly diminishing returns. It’s like being stuck on a small hill when there’s a flood, and refusing to swim into the open sea to reach a higher peak… it seems irrational from the global view, but not from the local view. So I neex to constantly kick my own ass ans constantly see the global view. I hope this daily writing habit makes me do that. I have faith that it will. You can’t do something every single day and not be changed by it.

I need more momentum- and this isn’t external energy, it’s momentum from within me. I just need to use a little bit of energg to blockade the paths of least resistance. I cannot and should not go online when I get home. I’m going to get in, kiss my wife, do some pushups and squats, clean the cat litter, take a dump, shower, have dinner, get a quant of work done, maybe do some reading and go to bed- and tomorrow I’m going to snap out of bed insteas of snoozing two hours away. Life is too precious to snooze on a regular basis. Once in a while maybe, but it cannot and should not be a norm. It’s a really silly problem to have, a coping mechanism I’ve developed because I’m so afraid of facing the world with all my unfulfilled obligations. So this is the strategy then. Seems doable. Write everyday to focus my thoughts. I’m going to start meditating in the morning if possible.

Okay I’m home, it’s a wrap. Wow, that was two word vomits in one session.

 

0081 – social media blog refactoring

Alright! This is starting to feel really natural now, I write in evernote on my way to and from office. I’m not sure why I prefer writing in evernote instead of WordPress but I’ll just stick with what works for now. If I can churn out two vomits per weekday, that’s ten a week. It’ll take me 10 weeks to do 100. I have about 920 more to go, so 92 weeks. That’s about two years. Seems doable, though of course that’s really premature. Making assumptions about what I’m going to be doing. (Holy crap the trains are crowded.) But this is a nice pace, i’ll cross 100 vomits in a couple of weeks. I wonder when I should start summarizing them, if I should at all.

I think I’m getting more excited about work. It’s taken longer than I’d have liked, but there’s so much to learn and so much to do. I wonder how much we can grow by the end of the year. I wonder what are the unknowns that are going to make things unexpectedly interesting. What are the quantum leaps? There are surely some!

I’ve been spending more time on twitter. There’s something about the structure of twitter that makes it seem more receptive to power usage than say a regular Facebook profile. This is partially because you don’t have to follow someone to interact with them. If you make something good, it can get shared in a more “atomic” way. I’m not sure how to describe this with more precision. I’ll get better at it in time.

Of all my social media profiles, my Quora posts have been most successful. This has given me a false sense of confidence and control, making me feel like I know what I’m doing when I really don’t. My Facebook profile was probably the second most successful but it was more time intensive. I enjoyed it but it was a huge time sink and I’m not sure if the juice was worth the squeeze.

If I study my own experience, Quora and independent blogging are the best uses of time. (In the return-on-time-investment sense.) I think search traffic has something to do with it. Blog content can be Googled, and Quora’s questions mean a ready-and-waiting audience for some questions. If you find a question with many followers but no answers, you’ve got an opportunity for engagement. The most general principle is always good and useful content- if you make something good, people will find a way to it. All you need to do is put it out there. The act of putting stuff out there is an entire science in itself. Reddit is an interesting and useful resource. So are online forums if you can find something that’s in the niche of whatever it is you’re writing about.

I’d like to get better at this. I suppose to be cheesy you could say I’d like to be a competent growth hacker, for my own ends and for the work that I do. But I don’t want it to be fake, forced or insincere. There has to be a middle path. “Give it time” is valid but incomplete. What should you do with that time? You should be constantly producing, that’s the inescapable first principle- but how do you get better? In a way it’s like learning a musical instrument. You have to practice hard everyday. That goes without saying. But once you’ve got that down- and I think I kind of do- how do you turn that practice into something deliberate and constructive? You don’t want to fall into the trap of noodling around the same things over and over again. You need to identify your weak spots and demolish them. I don’t do this well enough. I’m not deliberate enough- and I think this applied to a lot of things. Music, writing, engagement.

I wonder about curation and pruning. Let’s talk about my blog, specifically. I have about 700-800 blog posts at the moment. Should I just leave them be? Intuitively I think the answer is no. I should make it easier for visitors to just plug-and-play.

Which brings me to the question: what use is my blog? What value does it have in the world? It’s a little useful to some people looking for some things. I think it should function for me as a tool of inquiry. What have I learnt? What do I need to talk about?

Maybe I can flip it on its head and think about what not to do. In 2011 I used to write cliche “guide” posts like how to x or y. These posts helped me learn to write, but they weren’t very useful because I was- and still am- a nobody. I can’t play poker for shit, so why should anybody care about what I have to say about life lessons from poker or anything like that? I can’t write very well about things I know little about, and it shows. I really have to mine my own experiences and be as painfully honest as possible- only then is the writing any use.

Consider the “everything is technology” lens. Paul Graham’s essays are useful because they provide us with a way of seeing things. Arguments and perspectives are presented, and you can try them on like eyeglasses. Every book or work of art is a pair of eyeglasses. Different glasses have different effects on different people depending on your previous experiences and perspectives. Two pairs of eyes can be affected very differently by the same pair of glasses. So trying to make a useful pair of glasses for everybody is nearly impossible- you’ll end up with something very bland, neutral, forgettable. The thing about cultural lenses is that they’re hard to try on and put aside. They’re not so easily interchangeable. The effects can be permanent. This may or may not be desirable. Life itself is impermanent so… Some effects are more persistent than others, and harder to reverse. Let’s leave it at that.

(holw shit, this word vomit ended up at over 2000 words. spltting it in two)

 

0080 – relative age, twitter impulse, RT

1: relative ages
2: twitter impulse
3: waking earlier but lingering in bed
4: underestimating the seemingly trivial, daily blogging and fat guys in remedial training.

One.
I just got on the bus and the first thing I noticed was an NSF in uniform, and the firsr thoughts that flashed through my mind was something along the lines of “heh, look at this kid”.

I did my national service between 2010 and 2012. I had repeated a year in JC so I was a year older than my JC peers- of which there were few in the storeman region. My CQ was a JC kid a year younger than me. When I recoursed BMT, 3/4 of my bunkmates were younger than me. A few were older. It was a unique and interesting experience. One of them had been in jail for drugs. My sargeants during my recourse were almost all younger than me. Same for my peers in signals. Throughout NS I encountered some really simple-minded fellas and a few remarkable, admirable ones. My heart is a little heavy thinking about it. Those were a lot of experiences in 2 years… it feels like I kind of buried them in a limbo of drudgery and repetitiveness. I really do feel a need to write some sort of memoir… I definitely learned a lot about people in NS. Despite being extroverted, I was a loner in JC. I think i don’t like relationships that require synchronous presence. They drain me. I’m best as an asynchronous, penpal type friend. Seek my personal companionship and I will disappoint you.

Something to work on.

Anyway all I wanted to say was- it’s funny to juxtapose the “kid NSF” idea against how much more mature secondary school and JC kids looked when I was in primary school. NSFs looked mature when I was in JC. But really, everybody is lost ans confused to some degree, just figuring it out along the way. There’s something to that. A theme or motif worth exploring in fiction, I think. I’ll leave it at that.

Two.
I found myself thinking about witty tweets earlier. It’s just a thought that enters my head, almost fully formed. A running commentary on the state-of-affairs. This was going on during #ndrsg too. I think improv comedians and people like Russell Brand have this thing running in overdrive in their heads 24/7- it’s practically a membrane between their inner worlds and external reality, a lens.

I found myself thinking about one of Graham’s essays- it’s very important to “control” what you think about in the shower, or when you’re daydreaming. You can’t directly intervene, of course, but your thoughts are largely determined by set and setting, context and circumstance. I think that’s part of the hidden cost of Facebook, if you’re an attention-seeking narcissist like myself. You spend a lot of your background processing resources thinking about the next status update you’re going to write. You might not realize that you’re thinking it, but it’s at the cost of what you could’ve been subconsciously working on instead.

My challenge is to get my subconscious thinking about better problems. But the subconscious follows the path of least resistance. This is why meditation is so important, because it allows you to zoom out of the map and see what the better paths are, not the easiest ones. The things truly worth doing are never easy, but the subconscious is always looking for easy- ay, there’s the rub.

It’s also necessary to get subconscious resources away from silly things like processing unknown clutter- so it’s important to tidy shit up and get niggling tasks out of the way so your mind can focus on the important things. I think. That’s my hypothesis and I’m sort-of testing it. This is boring to repeat. The point I wanted to make is that for me, things like Facebook and Reddit are almost parasitic. Different people might respond differently but for me Facebook was an addiction. It was simpler than real life. I was able to get Facebook likes more easily than to do whatever work I needed to be doing. Maybe I’ll do a Poached article about this.

Wow I’m only 2 points in and I’m almost at work. This is always a humbling lesson in how easy it is to underestimate the time costs of any given project. Overestimate self, underestimate complexity and unexpected side-tracks.

Three:
I woke up early today but I lingered in bed and “went back to sleep” twice. It’s a silly habit that I’d really like to hack, but I’m not sure how much of a priority that should be. I read somewhere that you can actually practice it- lie down, set a really soft alarm, get up when you hear it. Get into the habit of getting up. I like the idea of it but I’m not sure if I’m going to do it particularly soon. I should, though, it would be good for me. Maybe I should start using my gtasks again. I dont know. Don’t wanna think too much about it at the moment. Focus my thoughts on work.

Four:
When I had to go for remedial training (irresponsibly forgot about my IPPT, kept putting it off, missed my reminders because
I changed my phone number…), I was startled by how unfit the older guys were. I mean you see unfit guys all the time here and there, but it’s really something to see when you gather a whole bunch of them in a single space. It vaguely reminded me of the obese batch on tekong- there’s something about seeing a large group of large young men that really hits you. I specifically remember thinking that for some of these guys, NS might actually be lifesaving. They mighr literally die without it. But back fo RT- you see guys who you can tell were once fit. I’m reminded of my secondary school maths teacher showing us his NS photos- young, slim, fit! But life gets in the way. Clearly the world after NS and University can wear you down into a flubby blob if you’re not paying attention. I re-realize the power of peer pressure- one of my colleagues goes for a run every week, another plays soccer, another goes wakeboarding. There’s a girl in the adjacent office who’s in the national basketball team. I can so imagine how easy it would be for an entire group of working adults to end up drinking, smoking and eating unhealthily day in day out, killing themselves.

I guess the point of that is I really need to set aside time for exercise, for dates with the wife, for conversations with friends. Some say that life’s what happens when you’re busy making other plans. One shouldn’t spend much time planning, I think, but plans should be made, because otherwise nothing outside one’s immediate locus of convenience will take place- and life begins at the end of your comfort zone.

 

0079 – back, business, writing skills

On the way home now. I was going to start with “back!”, because it feels like I abruptly ended the last vomit with some vague, unsubstantiated claims and unfinished thoughts. This is going to keep happening for a long, long time and it might be a permanent state of affairs within the framework and limitations of my present imagination. Bunch of thoughts.

1: I have a habit of writing and thinking in a double-barrelled fashion. What do I mean? There, I just did it- writing AND thinking. It’s just the way I’ve rolled so far. It’s like a tic. I chunk multiple things together in parallel. Sometimes it’s elucidatory. But it’s also a convenient way to weasel out of being precise. It also allows me to feel (and sound) like I’m covering a larger area. (I jist did that again, but this time it was semi-deliberate.) I think there are appropriate contexts (I would’ve otherwise said time and spaces) to utilize such devices effectively. The challenge is to use them purposefully. Writing for ReferralCandy is forcing me to be more ruthless in my writing. There’s less room for wide strokes when you’re writing about things that are more technical. It’s an interesting challenge.

2: I was reading a lot of Paul Graham recently and I’m won over by the idea of using extensive footnotes. David Foster Wallace used them too, and while I haven’t really dived into his work properly, I’ve enjoyed what I’ve seen so far. (My first introduction to him was when I submitted my blog to a “see who you write like” bot. Cheesy but it was the arbitrary connection that just stuck in my head.)

I love making digressions. I almost can’t help it- I hate the idea of not sharing all these auxillary details. Aren’t we impoverished when denied context? This informs my writing style to a dramatic degrre- which is why I use so many commas, em dashes, parentheses, fragments. I write like I talk like I think- very messily. More fox than hedgehog, clearly.

That said, I am well aware of both the weaknesses and limitations of such thought. (Here is me making mistake 1 again- is it necessary to distinguish between weaknesses and limitations in situation? Is it purposeful? Not really. It’s a tic.) The problem with constant digression is that it weakens the forcefulness of a single, well-placed point. The clutter serves to distract rather then inform.

So I really like the idea of footnotes, because it means you can get the expanded context later. You don’t need to know the ultra-specific details now, you can get the gist of the story first. Beautiful.

3: I’m experimenting with chunking up my thoughts in numbered bullet points. This is very context-dependent of course. I think it’s useful in something like these word vomits, which are highly unstructured. I think it will help me on retrospect if and when I want to condense older posts into succinct blurbs.
All of these are simply ruminations upon the same fundamental idea, that style evolves to suit context- like how city birds develop shorter, more rap-like songs as opposed to the longer country melodies of birds in the countryside. (Same for humans, and it seems, same for anything that communicates.)

4: I ended abruptly while exploring the idea of entrepreneurship as the best way to contribute to humanity. Of course this is a highly subjective claim so I’ll have to add all kinds of conditional statements. I always like to begin with the history of a term or an idea: So entrepreneur comes from the word enterprise and has to do with a French term for undertaking.

I like to think of it as construction. A business is built. You put together a structure that creates value, creates wealth. There are lots of ways to create wealth. The challenge is to create lasting wealth that can be reused, replicated, shared, propogated, built upon. Good books and websites can contribute to this in the realm of ideas, but nothing is quite as significant or impactful as business.

Stealing this one wholesale from ribbonfarm.com and mixing in some vague ideas from pop biology… in a sense a lot of life is about exchange and transactions- subatomic, chemical, genetic… and commerce is a part of that too, a living process. Transactions and exchange at an epic scale. Remixing physical commodities, development, differentiation. Man I really need to read and think more, this is all so vague. The hypothesis is that businesses influence reality more than most other things because they have power, influence, resources. There are also cultural things to consider. (God, this is so terribly vague and obtuse. I’m partially tired and sleepy, and I’m partially incompetent at talking about these things.)

Refresh: There are many ways to make a mark in the world, which we’ll assume is a natural biological (or more deep rooted) impulse for at last some of us. Just saw this on Twitter: Why write? George Orwell: “Political purpose… push the world in a direction, alter peoples’ idea of the society they should strive after.”

I’m now approaching a question that I had started with when talking to my colleagues over drinks once- how do you decide what you ought to do if you feel like you’re flexible enough to try a whole bunch of stuff? I’m pretty sure I’d get bored of doing any one thing for too long. Writing might always have to be auxillary, at least most of the time. It’s important to have things to write about. I think my wife’s a great writer even though she hasn’t really written very much yet because she has this almost innate ability to pick the most beautiful points, targets, things to focus on. That’s the hardest part of training to be a writer or an artist, I think. Picking the right dots to connect. Connecting a set of dots is fairly trivial once you’ve got them, and it can be broken down into a science. But choosing the right dots? That’s almost magical- though surely that can be developed, too. You have to have taste. You get great points via negativa- you develop taste and that taste eliminates the lousy and weak points before they even really enter your consciousness.

Feel like I’m losing flow with this one. Will get off the vomit and focus on tidying up my bookmarks further.

 

0078 – happy healthy entrepreneur

It’s a new week. I had a silly minor epiphany yesterday: I ought to get really good at my job. I’m not sure why this wasn’t obvious before- maybe it took me some time to get into the swing of things. I’ve been working since February- so it’s been about six months. I’ve learnt quite a bit, but I’m not satisfied with the quality and quantity of my output. I know I can do more, and I know I can do better. It’s funny, I finally have the opportunity to truly exercise all the skills, concepts and ideas I’ve learnt about over the years. I’ve got a kickass opportunity to learn and deliver, and yet I catch myself coasting from time to time. This will not do. I can do more, I must do more.

I arrived at this thought while decluttering my online life- sorting and deleting bookmarks, pruning. I was thinking that I needed to eliminate the non-essential and identify what I ought to focus on. This is a never-ending thing, isn’t it? But I’m thinking of a more long-term thing, 2-3 years down the line. And I realize I wouldn’t really be content getting really good at doing introspective pieces or social commentary columns. I think I’ll always do them and I’d like to get better at doing them for their own sake, like learning to get better at the guitar. But I think that doesn’t hit the spot, doesn’t give me the deeper sort of satisfaction that I think is lacking in my life.

I’m well aware of the pitfalls and illusions- or at least, I’m aware the they exist. Satisfaction is a moving target, you’ll never be satisfied. A lot of life satisfaction comes from simple things like a good book, good conversations with friends, the right lighting and mood (lifting some of this from Jason Silva’s short video on ecstasy, which I thoroughly concur with.) That strikes me as a sort of spiritual masturbation though- which, like physical masturbation, I think can be very healthy and positive, or it can also become a sort of crutch, an addiction. But an addiction to a good, healthy and wholesome life doesn’t seem to be a particularly bad deal. A lot of satisfaction is about perspective, frame of reference, mindfulness, compassion, gratitude, kindness. I wonder if it’s possible to overdose on kindness or develop a gratitude addiction.

So once we get those subjectives out of the way- internal variation, which can account for most of the quality of one’s life experience, what next? Analogy: it’s wonderful to learn to love one’s body no matter what, but that love should inform one’s actions, right? You should know what you can’t change, but your love for yourself should eventually lead you to being healthy, exercising and eating well, no? What if it doesn’t? What if your subjective internal lens allows you to justify self-abuse? I think there are two failsafes to that- emotions and peers. It’s unlikely that you’ll be happy and unhealthy… actually it’s really hard to talk about this. So complex and everything is subjective. What is healthy? What is happy? Need better questions.

How about this- we assume that healthier = happier, but would you rather be healthy and unhappy or happy and unhealthy? Supposing that there are no middle options. It’s still complicated depending on the lasting nature of either. I have a friend who had some body issues who then channeled it into obsessively getting fit and healthy to the point that it affected her social life.

Then it gets interesting- some of the hardcore fitness community asserts that you should always eat clean, avoiding alcohol and any unhealthy food even at festive occasions with family. They argue that if your friends and family encourage you to be unhealthy in any way, then you need new friends and family. Seems a little extreme, but that’s easy for a skinnyfat cigarette smoker to say.

What if such a life brings greater net joy and happiness? The friend I described earlier has since loosened up slightly and indulges sometimes, while remaining incredibly fit and healthy. I’m incredibly proud of her, her focud and dedication. It’s a sort of relentless energy I enjoy witnessing. People like that give you permission to be more then you are, just by showing you how it’s done.

So there’s that element of imbalance, right? What started as body image issues became the fuel for a fit machine, and despite some dark days the end-state was a more global optima. I suppose the same question is asked by creatives- should you allow your despair to influence your art, or should you fix it where you stand, sans art? Should I nurture things like jealousy and narcissism with the intention of channeling them to hopefully productive pursuits? How does that measure up to the detached, grateful life?

Now that’s a question I’d like to ask successful people. Many tend to focus on the world rather than themselves- oh, I was frustrated with this problem so I had to fix it… aren’t these things typically perceived as neurotic? Would people be happier? What if Steve Jobs was happy with what he did early on and left it at that- go home and be a family man.

A part of me is aware that all of this is partially a parlour game- discussions people have to distract themselves from doing work. Should I be happy or be healthy? Bitch please, think about that question over some steamed chicken breast or a nice long run, not cigarettes and alcohol. Worrying about this is premature optimization, one of those questions buddha said not to give a fuck about. But it does inform your big picture, doesn’t it? I imagine my boss would say that it’s okay not to have a clear big picture- you know you want to be happy and healthy to some degree, so take actions that help you achieve one or the other or both, and you can refine as you go.

Happiness and health, satisfaction and influence, they can and do overlap. An old friend told me that I want respect but don’t give it or earn it. He’s quite right. I don’t just want respect out of the sky, though. I feel weird when people tell me they like my writing because this is shit. I don’t want to be respected for who I am, I want to grow and develop myself into somebody who makes a real difference. Writing in this passive journalistic sense doesn’t quite cut it. Journalism is awesome when it asks the tough questions and breaks news, but not so impressive when you’re either a government mouthpiece or an armchair critic. I watched the national day rally yesterday and it was fun to participate in the twitterverse while it was happening, but really I didn’t achieve anything particularly fruitful. Education is a pretty noble thing- you make a real difference in people’s lives. But if you join the MOE and work as a teacher in a school I imagine that it’s an incredibly frustrating experience.

It’s pretty clear to me that entrepreneurship is the best way to make a difference, because then you chart uncharted territories and build new things. I know, that’s a really blunt statement. I’m a big fan of Tong Yee and School Of Thought, which tie entrepreneurship and education together.

reached work, gotta cut this short- what I’m getting at is how it’s more important to do stuff than to talk about stuff, and for the most part I talk about stuff. I’ll be able to do more for the world if I do stuff. This isn’t a particularly new realization, but I think it’s important to revisit it and use it to compel me to act- and I think I’m still figuring out precisely what it is that I’m going to do that’s good and meaningful.

Learn as we go

 

0077 – sex and sexy stuff

All right, writing time. Decided to take the stairs down instead of the lift because what the heck, it’s only 6 floors. My classroom in VS used to be on the 7th floor. A little bit of exercise, gets the heart rate up, takes no time at all, feels good. A little bit warmer on the inside. Simple behavioural change which I could probably make a habit off. I haven’t done my squats-in-the-shower routine for a few days because I’ve been feeling tired and lethargic- probably a mix of dehydration and lack of sleep. But I feel nice and clearheaded now and I know I should always exploit clearheaded moments… which is why I’m writing.

I want to get a lot more reading and writing done and I’d like it to be a more focused process. I need to build my focus muscle- I just had a momentary “maybe you should check twitter or Whatsapp moment”. Writing can and should be a no compromise thing for me. Oh yeah I was thinking about re-reading freedomspotting. I loved that idea about a truly free person not having to make any decisions because it’s just internal energy + external randomness. That somehow makes a lot of sense to me even though I’m incapable of articulating it at the moment. But this is me writing without deciding, writing because of internal energy + external randomness. Good. Beautiful.

What can we explore? Two thoughts, access to sexual images and… general tidiness? Erm. I lost my train of thought when thinking about sexy girls again.

Context: I have lots of pictures of sexy girls on my tumblr. I’m an equal-opportunity sort of guy so I also post pictures of sexy men, and tech news, and all sorts of stuff- quotes, science, art, philosophy, sex, everything. I subscribe to a couple of sexy subreddits in addition to all the geeky marketing stuff and tech stuff and intellectual stuff. I like to look at girls- prerry girls, fit girls, sexy girls, sometimes naked girls. There’s a part of my brain that lights up when a pretty girl upvotes an answer of mine on Quora even if she’s not particularly authoritative on anything.

I’m not a porn addict or anything. I’m a happily married man with a beautiful wife. I like to check women out, and I try my best to be as cursory and discreet about it as possible. I hate the idea of objectifying women, and I think some very ignorant men ruin dating and inter-gender (being heteronormative here) interactions for everyone else. I think it’s important that women feel comfortable and safe. But I also think people should be able to flirt and smile and have those pleasant little interactions with strangers. I think in general people are not having enough good sex, be it solo or duo or multiplayer. Our attitudes towards sex are sadly juvenile and full of exaggeration, hyperbole…

Wait why am I talking about sex? I’m juggling multiple thoughts here, let’s lay them out.

1- we’re immature about sex, which actually makes it more boring and less fun

2- we obsess too much about sex, which is ironic, because…

3- we need to make some progress on the way we deal with and talk about sex

4- dating and romance is generally shit, nobody really teaches you about it, intelligent, thoughtful discussions about them are hard to find and typically away from the centers of broad cultural discourse

I’m getting vague and abstract here. There’s a TedTalk about love/sex/romance that everybody needs to watch because we all deserve more enlightened perspectives on desire and security and communication and relationships. Very philosophical and deeply true.

Now having pointed out all that- which I will horribly describe as talking about the importance of proper nutrition and exercise and general health- I find it necessary to turn to thoughts about addiction, excess, impulse. Sugary candy, cigarettes, alcohol, sexy pictures, words and thoughts.

I hesitate to say pornography because it’s such a loaded term. I think porn stars like Stoya and James Deen are pretty awesome for a bunch of great reasons- Stoya writes beautifully and has a killer mind- but for the most part I’m far more interested in, say, anonymous amateurs on r/gonewild or tumblr. I find it boring and stale to compartmentalize things like sexual and intellectual attraction- I think every element of a person is a part of a continuum of overlapping spheres.

Attraction then is a general phenomena that’s expresses and manifested in many different ways. This is why it’s possible to be jealous of your wife’s straight female boss, because she’s attracted to her in an intellectual sense, any sense. There’s a sense that the third person somehow is able to forge a connection at a frequency that you might not relate to or identify with. The gay male dance instructor who might have his way with her in a way that makes you uncomfortable even though there is no sexual desire there- dancing with your wife makes him just crave some juicy cock up his ass or in his mouth. There’s still something, isn’t it? Jealousy is rooted in insecurity- a worry that your partner might not want you if she does not need you because she can fulfill her needs elsewhere. But that’s a setting sun mindset and it’s just depressing to get into. (Let’s not get into cuckolding… that’s not for 101).

Wow I’m trying to discuss very different things. What I wanted to talk about is… how it’s possible to love candy and fast food like crazy even if you’re living healthily, or trying to. Some people “eat clean and train dirty”. There’s a certain yin-yang elegance to that. But others may experiment with it and find that despite eating clean and training dirty, they still have the craving to eat dirty. I know tastes can change but why should I be a vegan if meat is delicious? (This almost sounds like justification for cheating on a romantic partner, but it should never be used as such. Agreements should be honoured. You can’t hurt a vegetable’s feelings by eating steak.) Well maybe being a vegan is healthier. How committed am I to achieving absolutely every global maxima possible? Is that even worth doing? I imagine not. Surely that’s overkill. Or is it? What I do know is that you typically have to pick one battle at a time, so if you’re working on getting better at playing the guitar, you probably won’t simultaneously be able to achieve a personal best at work unless you’ve really formed those habits… it’s all pretty complex and it’s hard to make valid general statements so I don’t think I should even try.

All I’m saying is… I enjoy candy, I enjoy cigarettes, and I enjoy things that are attractive in any sense, sexual, intellectual, whetever. I do know that I hate this at annoying feeling of overconsumption and binging… deja vu, I’ve written about this before. This insight itself isn’t new but the chalenge is figuring out how to implement it in a sustainable way that informs your behaviour. How do you change habits once you acknowledge they need changing? That’s a different question from how do you know if you really, truly want to change something? And that too is a different question from how should you allocate your cognitive resources? That’s probably the most important question. As it stands I’m about to reach home and I’ve written a blogpost that’s messy, convoluted, inconsistent, maybe even horrid.

But I don’t care, I’m committed to seeing this journey through. This is the dragon I must slay- 1000 x 1000 words. I think I’m better suited to it than anything else. I don’t know if I should really exercise or really quit smoking- I mean I DO, but I have niggling doubts and a sense of obligation and “oh well, I guess I ought to, it’s good for me.” But writing is something I’d do even if it hurt, if it were bad for me, if… you know what I mean. I will out-write myself. If there is some sort of certainty in my life this might be it. My wife has loads of potential and would be a better writer/thinker than me if she put herself out there, but nobody’s going to put themselves out there as much as me. Or something like that. Fuck it, this is just a sketch. Dinner time. I will be better tomorrow.

 

0076 – freedomspotting and bullshit

Just read an article on ribbonfarm called On Freedomspotting and I loved it- it set things clear for me. I would’ve taken a lot longer to visualise such insight through thought alone. So i steal thankfully from the minds and thoughts of others. Accelerated learning. I think it reveals the obvious value of reading identifiably good materials, on top of keeping one’s individual thoughts running. I was thinking about this while reading Adapt too, with concepts like Galapagos being used outside of biological evolution. You need solitude to develop your thoughts (which would otherwise get squashed by constant interruptions and conversations), yet you never know when a book or blogpost or conversation is going to give you a shortcut insight and save you significant time and energy.

But it’s important to pick the right materials. Reading paul graham and ribbonfarm (and conversations with the boss) makes me realise that most of what’s “out there” is full of shit. All talk. I was and still am a contributor to that steaming pile of turd, and I even started getting a little good at it, too… which is a troubling thought.

I return to one of my earliest assertions, when I was a teenage dirtbag. Most people are lame, stupid and full of shit. Here’s what I missed out on, and what I’ve realized between then and now: THAT INCLUDES ME. I was and still am full of shit, and arguably the main reason why the shittiness of others bothers me is that it subconsciously alerts me to my own. Nobody’s as good as you when it comes to bullshitting you. Sitting around talking about how shitty people are is itself a shitty thing to do, because it achieves nothing but pointless commiseration. It’s a waste of time and a weak attempt to gain points by pretending you don’t care about points.

Unfortunately almost all of us care about points, unless you’re that reclusive mathematician who won that million dollar prize and couldn’t be bothered to claim it- or you’re a solitary ascetic in the mountain with no intention of ever returning to human society. Even as I’m off Facebook a part of me thinks golly gee I can’t wait to get back on Facebook someday and tell everyone how awesome it was to be free from Facebook. So this trap is really hard to escape. Lots of attachment there.

So… most people are full of shit and that includes me. I once had a thought at a tech conference that might be a little unpalatable- I don’t have the fuck-you money or authority or track record to say this, but I figure the people reading this know I’m not out to sensationalize anything. .. so here goes: most tech/startup journalism is shit, because if you care so much about startups and tech and do all that research and reading… why wouldn’t you simply start your own instead? It’s especially strange considering the nature of startups.

Writing like Paul Graham’s is “the simplicity on the other side of complexity”- he’s walked the walk, so he’s reasonably trustworthy (though there’s always the rewarded-by-randomness possibility). I guess my point is… a person working in a job spending time interviewing others about startups is kind of like seeing a fat journalist at a muscle/fitness convention, or worse, work for such a magazine. I wonder who the most unhealthy people are at men’s health magazine? I bet you some of them smoke. Who decides who’s an authority, anyway?

This isn’t an indictment on anybody, I’m an irresponsible and unreliable person myself and I graciously accept all the insults you might hurl at me. But if you’re thinking of taking time to do that, you should surely ask yourself- don’t you have better things to do than to occupy yourself with writing comments on the blog of someone you’ve realized is incompetent? I’m guilty of this, I get involved in discussions on reddit and tumblr sometimes (I’m off Facebook thankfully at last) and I feel like my opinion matters, like I could make a difference. And for the most part it doesnt. Or more accurately, for the most part, I could work on something that’s useful to many more people over an indefinite period of time (blog, or build/create something useful and lasting). Getting embroiled in petty arguments and discussions is rarely worth it if you know what you ought to be working on. This isn’t a new problem, I believe Newton talked about how frustrating it was to spend his time defending himself instead of doing more work. Ultimately there’s no right and wrong here, but I think we owe it to ourselves to identify what we ought to be doing- by our own measure- and do that.

Two things came together very nicely for me. Or three or more. In the book The User Illusion it is describes how Maxwell, the gut who unified electricity and magnetism, felt that it wasn’t him who did it- it was something greater than himself within him. Sportsmen often relate to this, when they perform magically they tend to say they didn’t think, they just did, they witnessed themselves being magical. When they fuck up, it’s the opposite- they had too much time to think. A concert pianist wanted to outlaw applause because he felt he didn’t deserve it- he was never there when performing, he was only there before and after the performance. Church musicians tend to say “god was using me” or some variant. A few days ago I participated in a discussion on reddit and someone responded to me saying he felt like there was something holding him back from something greater… and it was him. He suppressed that which was greater than himself within him.

I think both me and my wife and millions of procrastinators around the world relate to this. I’m not sure what to do if you genuinely think you’re worthless (well- first of all you’re not, second of all go for a walk with a bottle of water even if you don’t want to, then read some books and try things… maybe that won’t work, but you should really try it). But I’m more interested in people who KNOW that they have something inside them to share with the world, but they aren’t doing it nearly as much as they ought to.

okay, i’m at work and i’ve crossed 1k words so seeya maybe on the train ride home